Using authentic materials in teaching English language

Features of teaching students the English language using authentic materials. Analysis of the main benefits of authentic materials used in the lesson. Formation and development of students' listening skills, lexical skills and skills of public speaking.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 02.11.2018
Размер файла 17,3 K

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Kharkiv Institute of Trade and Economics of Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics

Using authentic materials in teaching English language

Untila M.P.


teaching student english authentic

The paper deals with the teaching of English language using authentic materials. The author analyzes the benefits of authentic materials that are used in the class, such as: work with podcasts, newspaper articles and video lectures, and also considers the expediency of using these materials in the formation and development of listening skills, lexical skills and skills of public speaking. These materials enhance the work of students, motivate and allow them to master the skills of listening and speaking more fully.

Keywords: authentic materials, podcasts, video conferences, newspaper articles, speaking, blogs.


Унтіла М.П.

Харківський торговельно-економічний інститут

Київського національного торговельно-економічного університету

Використання автентичних матеріалів при навчанні англійської мови

Стаття присвячена навчанню англійської мови з використанням автентичних матеріалів. Автор аналізує переваги автентичних матеріалів, використовуваних на занятті, таких як: робота з подкастами, з газетними статтями і відео-лекціями, також розглядає доцільність використання цих матеріалів при формуванні і розвитку навичок аудіювання, лексичних навичок і вміння публічних виступів. Ці матеріали активізують роботу студентів, мотивують і дозволяють повніше оволодівати таким вміннями як аудіювання і говоріння.

Ключові слова: автентичні матеріали, подкасти, відео-конференції, газетні статті, говоріння, блоги.


Унтила М.П.

Харьковский торгово-экономический институт

Киевского национального торгово-экономического университета

Использование аутентичных материалов в обучении английскому языку

Статья посвящена обучению английскому языку с использованием аутентичных материалов. Автор анализирует преимущества аутентичных материалов, используемых на занятии, таких как: работа с подкастами, с газетными статьями и видео-лекциями, также рассматривает целесообразность использования этих материалов при формировании и развитии навыков аудирования, лексических навыков и умения публичных выступлений. Эти материалы активизируют работу студентов, мотивируют и позволяют полнее овладевать таким умениями как аудирование и говорение.

Ключевые слова: аутентичные материалы, подкасты, видео-конференции, газетные статьи, говорение, блоги.

The statement of the problem. Currently the main task of the teachers is not only to teach students in traditional and time-tested methods, but also to develop and apply new teaching methods using the latest technical achievements with the goal of developing professional knowledge and skills in order the young professionals will be competitive and easily cope with the demands of the modern world.

The global goal in teaching foreign languages is to introduce to a different culture and participate in the dialogue of cultures. This goal is achieved if the student acquires the necessary level of intercultural communicative competence in the process of studying.

Work with authentic materials is one of the ways to satisfy the students' communicative and cognitive need to obtain new information and thereby increase the overall level of the motivational component in teaching a foreign language.

The purpose of the article. The paper deals with the teaching of English language using authentic materials. Firstly, the definition of authenticity should be found out. A. Gilmore gives at least eight meanings of this word, starting with "a text is produced by a real speaker / writer for a real audience and having some real message". At the same time, authenticity, in his opinion, can also refer to the types of selected tasks [1]. D. Nunan says that authentic materials are not specifically created for the purpose of teaching a foreign language [3].

Many teachers emphasize the need to use authentic materials in foreign language classes, while others refuse from special educational materials in favor of "real" texts, which, in their opinion, contain "live" English. Their choice supports the position of Gilmore, who argues that the English language is represented in the textbooks is only a weak reflection of reality, which will certainly affect negatively the practical skills of students.

The statement of the main material. The understanding of foreign speech remains one of the most difficult in teaching. The fact that now there is the generation of “digital natives” should be taken into account [2]. One of the examples of authentic materials is podcasting.

Among blogs there is a special type -- audioblogs, or so-called podcasts (from English Podcast or Podcasting). Podcasts are the same network diaries, only with audio files in MP3 format. Podcasting is the creation and distribution of audio files in MP3 format on the Internet, which you can listen to on-line or upload to an MP3 player. Podcasting is aimed at the fact that each student is able to create his audio blog, where he can place his audio recordings. The main difference between the podcast and live broadcasting is that, after downloading a "fresh" release, you can listen to it at a convenient time in a convenient place.

One of the important goals of teaching is to teach students to understand speech. The teacher's lack of audio recordings in the lesson will lead to the fact that students will not be able to understand live speech outside the classroom. The use of audio materials can greatly contribute to preparing students for situations of real communication and to remove possible difficulties. Without mastering this kind of speech activity, like listening, it is impossible to learn a language and use a foreign language speech at the level that is necessary at the present stage of society development.

Podcasts are good because they allow to "get used to" someone else's speech. Podcasts are better to choose on the topics of interest, they can be different, including economic, legal, environmental and other issues. The method, in which students repeatedly listen to different texts on the topic of interest to them, contributes to a deep and special understanding of the language being studied. This technique requires a gradual change in that which entails an expansion of language competence in general.

One of the most difficult tasks when working with podcasts is the selection of material or the criteria by which the material should be selected. Currently, in the methodology of teaching foreign languages, domestic and foreign researchers have developed several criteria for the selection of podcasts: website credibility, reliability of information, the availability of additional options for the podcast (the availability of exercises) and the ability to choose the level of complexity of podcast.

Work on listening to podcasts can be recommended in the form of homework with further discussion in the class, after working out new lexical units and grammatical constructions, which facilitates working with podcasts to students of a lower level. The availability of a transcript for this podcast will make students' work more accessible. The transcript of a podcast can be used after careful testing as a dictation to verify the learning of lexical and grammatical constructions.

Another type of authentic materials is video-conferences. Nowadays they are gained a lot of popularity and the most well-known is TED conferences. TED is a project of a private non-profit foundation in the United States, whose main goal is to spread unique ideas.

The themes of speeches vary from culture and art to the most interesting problems of science, politics, business and technology. All performances can be viewed in free access, they are accompanied by subtitles, and many are translated into more than 20 languagesof the world.

These materials are extremely useful for the formation and development of lexical skills, listening skills, skills associated with working on presentations and public speaking. They perfectly motivate and intensify the work of students in the classroom, encouraging them to form their own point of view, to seek additional information for its reinforcement, to represent it in the group, disagreeing and discussing with other participants in the discussion.

It is necessary to say about lexical variety and richness of accents and features of pronunciation of speakers of different age groups, which is useful from the point of view of developing listening skills and preparing students for communication with people of different countries and cultures.

These videos are great for discussions, at the stage of practical application of the studied vocabulary. They are an excellent basis for discussion, exchange of opinions, creating a situation of real communication in a foreign language.

On the basis of TED materials, it can be created multi-level assignments, selecting individual variant of the task for the student, according to his interests and capabilities at this stage of the work. The video materials give this opportunity from the very beginning due to the wide choice of the offered themes, including the simplest ones, not involving the use of a large volume of unknown vocabulary. In addition, speakers at TED conferences are not only native speakers, among them there are even children: due to the difference in levels of English, some speeches are based on simple vocabulary.

Thus, the TED project can help teachers bring useful ideas to classes and build the situation of real, "live" communication, exchange of opinions and cause debates. The main difference between the information contained in these materials from encyclopedic information is that it creates the need to express themselves, express their opinion, enter into a conversation.

It can be also offered to conduct own research on the chosen problem. The project provides materials for classes with a wide variety of age groups, from junior high school students to college and university students. Using of TED materials in the classroom helps students to learn the lessons more effectively and with less effort, develops critical thinking skills, teaches to perceive and accept other people's opinions and views along with their own.

Perfect example of authentic material can be newspaper article. Although authentic newspaper articles are not specifically created for the educational process, they can be an excellent material for work at classroom and extracurricular time, as they have a number of positive didactic features. The article is taken from an English-language website or publication, first of all, reflects all the features of the "living" modern language. It is possible to create databases of topics of interest, methodically process and edit selected texts, diversify the range of tasks for independent work of students, to add a source of teaching and methodological material to their arsenal, and to expand the range of teaching methods.

Among the features of a newspaper article, we can single out repeatability of vocabulary in articles of the same orientation; the statement of the problem or the description of the essence of the phenomenon at the beginning of the article, a description of the general situation in the long first sentence, and so on.

When selecting text material, we can guided by the following criteria: relevance, scientific, informative, novelty, professional orientation, semantic completeness, problematic, language, age of students.

From a didactic point of view, working with a newspaper in English is the best way to solve speech problems when it is aimed at activating three basic types of reading:

1. skimming -- definition of the basic idea of the text;

2. scanning -- search for specific information in the text;

3. reading for detail -- a detailed understanding of the text at the level of content and meaning.

These types of reading should be used at the main stages of the work: pre-reading stage, while-reading stage and the post-reading stage.

At the pre-reading stage, students can be asked a number of questions that anticipate the topic or the main idea of the text, allowing them to form the attitude to the subject, event, situation or phenomenon described in the text of the article, to create a certain level of initial motivation.

The title of the article deserves special attention. After reading it, students can think about the thematic affiliation of an article to a particular rubric, share their knowledge of the stated problem. Alternatively, the work with a picture / photo / illustration can be offered. All these tasks contribute the development of the ability to determine the basic idea of the text. After reading the first paragraph of the article students can also discuss the associations and ideas that have arisen.

The while-reading stage is aimed at the formation of various language skills and speech skills. To develop the ability to search for specific information in the text, promptly finding of answers to specific questions can be offered.

The task "multiple choice" can be successfully applied at all stages of working with the text. At the initial stages of working with original sources, incorrect variants can be formulated using information that was not mentioned in the text, in order to concentrate attention on the general meaning of the statement. Later it is better to formulate variants, using words and expressions used in the text, but not true for the given sentence. In addition, paraphrasing individual elements of the sentence to complicate the task, offering more than one true option can be used

At the while-reading stage, students may be asked questions aimed, for example, at finding specific information. Other types of questions are also good: alternative or general knowledge of students. It is separately proposed to choose idioms, clichйs.

The post-reading stage also involves the use of subjects, linguistic and grammatical constructions of the article for the development of oral and written skills.

After reading the article and completing work on it students can think about their original translation of the title of the article with the same meaning, subtext, style; write an essay on one of the proposed topics. Another tasks can be restoring the sequence, logical regrouping, drawing up a plan, comparing paragraphs with their names, etc.

The students themselves prefer to work with such materials, considering them "motivating, interesting and useful” and that they bring students closer to the culture of the country of the studied language, make the learning process more fun and, consequently, increase the motivation of students.


These materials can be used both in classes and for the practice of oral speech, both for classroom work and for homework and independent work of students, given the openness of access to them, the possibility of organizing and participating in online discussions, as well as the existence of many other forms of control tasks.

The use of authentic materials attracts interest to the subject, contributes to the development of all types of speech activity in the lesson, students express their opinion, discuss what they see, and discuss on one topic or another. In addition, they get acquainted with the peculiarities of the country of the studied language, listen to the speech of native speakers.


1. Gilmore A. Authentic materials and authenticity in foreign language learning. Language teaching. vol. 40, no. 02, 2007.

2. Marc Prensky «Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants», «On the Horizon» MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001.

3. Nunan D. Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. - Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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