An iatefl quickie – Choosing & Using Authentic Texts

An iatefl quickie – Choosing & Using Authentic Texts

A very quick summary of some key points from Sue Kay’s talk, “The genuine article (you couldn’t make it up)”, presented at iatefl 2017 on 4th April.

Questions to ask when choosing a text:

  •  Will it interest and engage learners?
  • Can learners relate it to their own lives? Is it age-appropriate?
  • Can learners learn (well contextualised & high frequency) language AND something new about the world?
  • Are the concepts at a suitable level of complexity and abstractness for the learners age and language level?
  • Are the role models presented positive?
  • Does it avoid polically sensitive topics, or deal with them appropriately?
  • Does it take a perspective that will give learners something to say?
  • Is it a bit “wacky”, unusual, or have something surprising in it?
  • Are there engaging visuals to liven up potentially dry topics?

Points to consider when adapting authentic texts:

  • Edit to provide maximum exposure to high frequency language – maybe substitute less common words with more frequent equivalents
  • Aim to keep the authentic feel, even if you need to edit to make it accessible
  • Make sure it will provide scope for language focussed work and genuine responses to the content.

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