Friday, March 15, 2013

ESP : Disadvantages of authentic materials use in English classroom


I have always been interested in alternative and nontraditional ways of teaching, since they have not been used for long time in current educational system at primary and secondary. I think that some of them are really profitable and useful. Therefore I decided to look closely at one of the alternative ways, use of authentic materials. And I believe that it" they were used more, English teaching would be not only more effective but also more interesting.

Now I will explore literature dealing with usage of authentic materials with some other important components that should be included in teaching language which are somehow connected with authenticity. But in this case I would like to know what are disadvantages of authentic materials use in English classroom.


Authentic Materials: An Overview (2002) by Alejandro G. Martinez deals with the term authentic materials itself and with advantages and disadvantages of their use as well as possible sources of them. Authentic materials: “Sometimes called “authentic” or “contextualized”, real-life materials are those that a student encounters in everyday life but that weren’t created for educational purposes. they include newspapers, magazines, and Web sites, as well as d1iver’s manuals, utility bills, pill bottles, and clothing labels.”

Martinez mentions Widdowson’s differentiation between authentic and genuine materials. Authentic materials are materials created for native speaker of the language and use in a class in its original form and design. In other words, they are not changed in any way. Whereas genuine materials are authentic materials adapted for a class, e. g. jumbled paragraphs, cut out headlines etc.

Disadvantages of authentic materials.
- Authentic texts may be difficult to understand because of a culture gap
 - The vocabulary may be not exactly what the students need
- They are rather difficult for beginners
- Preparation of the texts and activities is often demanding and time consuming
- There are many various accents and dialects in listening
- The materials become outdated quickly (news)

When I correlated to my first experience when I was studying at university sometimes not only me or other students confused of materials but also the lecturer misleading or misunderstand to the materials. My second experience, it was happened in my class I used a magazine as a supplementary material, my students got difficulties in their class because authentic text may be difficult to understand because of a culture gap.
In my conclusion, As a teacher must be able to set the task according to the level of the students, not to choose the material according to the student’s level. However, for the students who has lower level are suitable leaflets, menus, timetable, video advertisements, short reports, short news. The task should be rather simple and vocabulary should be introduced in advance. Excessive materials for intermediate level can longer article and news or reports, whole TV programmes. The vocabulary should be pre taught too. With advance students, any authentic material can be used. Pre –teaching is not necessary, but it is good to have some explanations and definitions prepared. I hope this can be an inspiration for teachers and students, hard work, on the contrary teachers should take it as a challenges of better teaching.

Reference : 

Kyumoba H. A Kobeba//morodou yobiu- 201 l ~No.3-c. 125-127
Advantages and disadvantages of authentic materials use in EFL classroom.
Martinez, Alejandro. Authentic material: an overview online. Mexico city ;2002
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