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Using Authentic Materials: 5 Challenges & 10 Tips To Encounter Them

Despite of their attractiveness and effectiveness in developing the four language skills, authentic materials are challenging for most EFL teachers.  

In this article, I tackle the main 5 challenges of using authentic materials and I suggest 10 tips to encounter them and show the teachers how to adopt and adapt authentic materials.

The Main 5 Challenges Of Using Authentic Materials:

1. Appropriateness

To be effective, authentic materials should be appropriate to students’ levels so teachers should be cautious and select the appropriate materials.

2. Financial concerns

Financial concerns may be an obstacle for most of the teachers in non-equipped classes.

3. Time management

Time management is a decisive factor when preparing these materials before going into the classroom and when using them during EFL classes.

4. Preparation

Preparation for using authentic materials is a must. This needed preparation should mainly consider the allocated time for delivering the lesson.

The Suggested 10 Tips To Encounter The Previous Challenges:

  1. Decide when it is appropriate and necessary to use authentic materials.
  2. Be selective in choosing authentic materials.
  3. Restructure the lesson according to the allocated time.
  4. Share the learning outcomes with the students.
  5. Design the appropriate activities that go with the required learning outcomes.
  6. Decide what activities to be done in the classroom and the others to be assigned as homework.
  7. Use materials available around you.
  8. Don’t create materials from the scratch but you can recycle them or use something that is ready. There are tons of ready-made authentic materials for you on the internet.
  9. Authentic materials don’t only mean video, they can be anything you can use, flashcards, papers, pens, pictures, newspapers, … etc.
  10. Use alternative assessment with authentic materials to assess their effectiveness in achieving the required learning outcomes.

Three Quick Steps to Adopt Authentic Materials For Listening & Reading:

  1. Choose a reading/listening passage.
  2. Design the activities that are appropriate for your students’ proficiency level.
  3. Adapt the passage if needed.

How To Adapt A Listening Passage:

  • Pre-discuss the listening passage and pre-teach the key vocabulary words.
  • Divide the listening passage into chunks.
  • Read the questions on the passage with students before asking them to listen.
  • Ask students to read the passage before listening.
  • Ask students to look at the passage while listening.
  • Ask students to relisten when necessary

How To Adapt A Reading Passage:

  • Choose an excerpt of a reading passage.
  • Provide synonyms right after keywords.
  • Omit unnecessary information.
  • Simplify or rephrase some sentences.

Share With Us

Have you experienced any more challenges when using authentic materials? How did you manage them?

From your experience, share with us your own tips to adopt and adapt authentic materials to be more effective in use.

Thanks For Reading   

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