By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih
What Are Authentic Materials?
Authentic materials refer to the materials that are read, heard, viewed, and created by the native speakers and locals. Heitler (2005) states that “authentic materials are any texts written by native English speakers for native English speakers” (p.5) Although they are not originally designed for classroom teaching, authentic materials can provide excellent learning opportunities for language students.
Why Use Authentic Materials?
Authentic materials provide learners real-life examples of how the target language is actually being used by the members of the language and culture group for members of the same language and culture group” (Galloway, 1998, p. 133). The use of authentic materials, especially audios and videos, creates opportunities for learners to hear and watch how the target language are used in daily life and in media. They can provide information about the target culture and its people whose cultural perspective may differ from you.
How to Use Authentic Materials?
It is important to select authentic materials that are interesting and age appropriate for the learners and suitable for their linguistic level. Some may advocate the use of authentic materials without any modification; however, to facilitate student learning, I sometimes find it necessary to modify the material to make it more suitable to my students’ linguistic level. Both Chairman‘s Bao and Decipher Chinese – the news app for Chinese learners provide free daily bite-sized Chinese news–articles rated HSK 1 to 5. You can even listen to Chinese news from VOA慢速 (at a slower speed) or VOA常速(at a regular speed) to aid listening comprehension.
Click on the following links to access a wealth of multimedia materials and authentic texts and some lessons created out of these materials–network news, magazine articles, movies and TV dramas, Audios books, Children’s Stories, animations, novels over the radio, exercise videos, songs, poems, tongue twisters, Spiritual texts (with audios), etc. These are all excellent authentic materials you can tap into to make your language learning more interesting and fun while gaining a deeper understanding of the target culture.
Information on Authentic Materials:
- Authentic Materials for Teaching Languages
- teaching with authentic materials – Pearson English
- Use of Authentic Texts in Language Learning | American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
- (PDF) Authentic materials and authenticity in foreign language…
- The Use OF Authentic Materials in the Teaching of Reading
Finding a Virtual Language Partner
No learning materials can get more authentic than directly communicating with the native. Here are the places where you can find a virtual language partner for free: Language Exchange: Find a Virtual Language Partner