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Embracing Authenticity


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What do we mean when we talk about ‘authentic English’ and how can we get our students to speak and understand it? In this session, we will look at how using authentic material can benefit our learners. And through practical examples of engaging and motivating class activities we will consider how to make this material accessible and best exploit it to give our students real English for the real world.

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Embracing Authenticity

  1. 1. Elena Merino Embracing Authenticity
  2. 2. Not a copy Genuine Real “The Real Deal” “The Genuine Article” Of undisputed origin
  3. 3. 3 intended for native speakers, not second-language learners Authentic material:
  4. 4. B1+ ?
  5. 5. 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. 7 CULTURE
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. 10 “Ambiguity tolerance”
  11. 11. Ambiguity Tolerance Raise awareness Create a risk-friendly atmosphere Promote speculation Credit: Steve Oakes “Good learners learn to live with uncertainty and develop strategies for making sense of the target language without wanting to understand every word” Rubin and Thompson
  12. 12. Ambiguity Tolerance Create a risk-friendly atmosphere
  13. 13. 13 Dealing with unknown vocabulary To preteach or not to preteach? Ignore it!
  14. 14. 14 Teaching ideas
  15. 15. 15 Can you work it out from the context? Last week I went for a walk and saw a Gadwall. It was standing on a rock. It flew away.
  16. 16. 16 I found him affable, yet they had told me he was unfriendly Is there a contrasting statement?
  17. 17. Work with cognates Der Film hat ein gutes Argument
  18. 18. What’s the root? antidisestablishmentarianism
  19. 19. Ambiguity Tolerance Promote speculation
  20. 20. 20 What can you see? What do these pictures represent? What do the pictures have in common?
  21. 21. Ambiguity Tolerance Promote speculation with vocabulary support
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. 23
  24. 24. Personalize the topic
  25. 25. 25 Speak Out l 16/04/15 I’m very good at dancing
  26. 26. Ambiguity Tolerance Raise awareness
  27. 27. 27 00.00-1.15
  28. 28. 28 What level would you use the video at for A) enjoyment and broader understanding? B) understanding most of the language? CEFR GSE
  29. 29. 29
  30. 30. 30 “Andy’s feeling nervous that not many people will turn up. But, he didn’t need to worry: nearly 20,000 people are here on the streets of Dunblane…”
  31. 31. 31 Deadspot listening 1.15-1.25
  32. 32. 32 • Work in pairs • Student A watches the video (on mute) and provides a running commentary to Student B who is facing the other way. Student A tells a lie. • After the video, Student B spots the lie! …with a twist 2.18-2.48 back to back Watch intently, speak clearly Full concentration required to complete the task
  33. 33. 33 Can I do this activity at lower levels?
  34. 34. 34 • Choose a section where the action changes more slowly (or put the video in slow motion!) • Allow the student who is speaking to see the section once prior to describing it. • Students do a summary as opposed to a running commentary.
  35. 35. 35 Teaching ideas for post-tasks
  36. 36. 36 Use Word Clouds
  37. 37. 37 Did the students hear the words in context? Make a lexical set: tennis / sport
  38. 38. 38 Can you rearrange the sentences?
  39. 39. 39 Or Padlet for video creation
  40. 40. Similar to Padlet… 40
  41. 41. 41 What can I do with higher levels?
  42. 42. 42 Jimmy FallonJonathan Ross Oprah Winfrey Graham Norton 80 Can follow films employing a considerable degree of slang and idiomatic usage 83 Can recognise a wide range of idiomatic expressions and colloquialisms, appreciating register shifts
  43. 43. 43 Yeah we did an advert that started in the UK and it was during a programme called X Factor that we have and erm yeah it just came on. And it was just like a black screen with white writing just with the lyrics of a bit of the first verse of Hello and then it ended with three dots as in to be continued and erm I mean I was watching it, I like X Factor, so we were watching it and I just like shit myself, like absolutely lost the plot when it came on and I got really excited as if it wasn’t me as well and then afterwards I’m very new to like being on social media and afterwards I was like tried to check twitter but I didn’t have a twitter account, so I just saw what was on there if you’re not on there.
  44. 44. Conclusion (I) Videos… 44 1) Hold our students attention 2) Offer paralinguistic characteristics aid comprehension 3) Students are subjected to ‘real’ English.
  45. 45. 45 Conclusion (II) When working with authentic materials… • Promote speculation • Raise awareness • Create a risk-friendly atmosphere
  46. 46. Need more ideas? (Events & Teacher Training)