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20 Advantages Of Authentic Materials Every EFL Teacher Must Realize And Exploit

In this article, you will read about the two types of materials that EFL teachers use in their EFL classes, the main differences between them, the main characteristics and advantages that every EFL teacher must realize of authentic materials and exploit to improve language teaching and learning.

EFL teachers usually use two types of materials:

1. Normal Or Prescribed Materials

They are exclusively prepared to teach EFL, e.g. textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, etc.

2. Authentic Materials

They are created for purposes other than teaching but are often used in EFL classes for teaching English, e.g. newspapers, brochures, pamphlets, etc.

Main Differences Between Normal & Authentic Materials

Normal and prescribed materials used in EFL classes are specially prepared by subject experts of the English language to meet the needs and requirements of the learners of EFL in general and all over the world.

Although these materials are prepared by the subject experts and provide standard information, they do not always satisfy the needs and interests of the students and they often fail to present real-world or situational language for the students and sometimes lead to teachers’ burnout so the teachers of English have to prepare some additional materials on their own.

The selection of these materials should be mainly based upon the needs and interests of students and the demands of the prevailing society.

In this context, authentic materials are so useful for the teachers to use in their EFL classes so that the learners can work on them with a lot of interest and more enthusiasm.

Indeed, authentic materials provide very good resources for EFL teachers and they give the learners an opportunity to expose to real-life contexts and use English in real-life situations.

Moreover, the learners will develop their language skills enormously and communicate not only with their peers in the classrooms but also with friends, family members and other people outside the classrooms.

The Main Characteristics of Authentic Materials

There are some characteristics of the authentic materials that make them of great benefit in teaching and learning a language and distinguish them from the prescribed materials.

Some of these characteristics are as follows:

  • Very economical to use in EFL classes.
  • Easily accessible for the teachers.
  • Available everywhere for the students.
  • Generally equipped with sound and pictures so that they are eye-catching and more interesting.

The Main Advantages of Authentic Materials

The main advantage of authentic materials is that teachers select them according to the needs and interests of the learners to involve them in:

  • Learning the English language using real-life situations.
  • Developing the English language skills and demonstrating them in and outside the classrooms.

In fact, using authentic materials in EFL classes has many more advantages and teachers who decide to use these materials should realize these advantages and exploit them to improve their language teaching and their students’ language learning.

20 of these advantages are as follows:

  1. Minimizing the level of hesitation among the learners.
  2. Providing students with situational language.
  3. Exposing learners to real-life situations.
  4. Developing students’ social language skills.
  5. Developing students’ ability to learn and interpret the topic they learn.
  6. Enhancing the learners’ critical thinking.
  7. Developing creativity among the learners and the teachers.
  8. Making the learners aware of how to interact with various social situations.
  9. Promoting the learners’ concentration on the language skills.
  10. Motivating the learners to read for pleasure.
  11. Promoting the average learners to perform well and very useful for the students who are low-achievers.
  12. Enhancing students’ ability of explanation and conversation.
  13. Producing a sense of achievement among the learners.
  14. Offering a variety of language contexts, registers, genres and styles of both written and spoken discourses.
  15. Building a connection between the outside world and the English classrooms.
  16. Promoting the learners to take part in the classroom discussions actively.
  17. Helping in contextualizing the language and using it actively.
  18. Increasing students’ motivation of learning the language.
  19. Developing the students’ analytical as well as reasoning skills.
  20. Encouraging the learners to take part and perform well in the given tasks in the classroom.

Final Word

Despite all the advantages of authentic materials, there are a few disadvantages to them.

3 of these disadvantages are as follows:

  • They become outdated (e.g. the news).
  • They are sometimes too culturally biased.
  • The vocabulary used in them may not be useful for the learners’ immediate use.

But, if the teachers carefully select the authentic materials according to the levels and needs of the learners, they will be very useful in EFL classes.

Thanks For Reading

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