Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Pages: 5 (2903 words) Published: November 4, 2014

Miroslava Flores and Victor Garibay are currently studying the BA "Docencia del Inglés como Lengua Extranjera" from Universidad de Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. INTRODUCTION
Throughout the history of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL), the employment of authentic materials and realia have been an important focus for many years. A considerable amount of research efforts show evidence of widespread schemas in all aspects of discovering how, what, when or even where to apply real, authentic and functional material, but what do we mean by authentic materials or realia, we mean materials that were created, or at least appear to have been created, for the use and enjoyment of people who are not studying English as a Foreign Language, most of these resources seem to fit with task based activities. A movie such as 'Shakespeare in Love' is authentic. A newspaper such as USA Today is authentic. An essay that you might write about the major attractions of your hometown is authentic. Authentic materials need not to be difficult, and they need not to be intended for competent native speakers. They may be simplified or adapted in various ways for the uses of EFL students. What makes them authentic, in our sense of the term, is that have the feel of materials that are meant to be used in authentic ways — for information, self-expressions, enjoyment, and so on. There is also another term involved in the use of real language, especially when teachers desire to build the real world of communication, ‘realia’ in EFL refers to any real objects we use in the classroom to bring the class to life. The main advantage of using real objects into the classroom is to make the learning experience more memorable for the learner. To give a couple of simple examples, if you are going to teach vocabulary of fruit and vegetables it can be much more effective for students if they can touch, smell and see the objects at the same time as hearing the new word. This would appeal to a wider range of learner styles than a simple flashcard picture of the piece of fruit or vegetable. We also desired to implement some aspects of the Task Based Language Teaching framework, Nunan explains what Long (1985: 89) mentions about target tasks, Nunan (2004) explains that the first thing to notice.... is that it is non-technical and non-linguistic. It describes the sorts of things that the person in the street would say if asked what they were doing. (In the same way as learners, if asked why they are attending a Spanish course, are more likely to say, ‘So I can make hotel reservations and buy food when I’m in Mexico,’ than ‘so I can master the subjunctive.’) Related to this is the notion that, in contrast with most classroom language exercises, tasks have a non-linguistic outcome. Non-linguistic outcomes from Long’s list might include a painted fence, possession however temporary – of a book, a driver’s license, a room in a hotel, etc. Another thing to notice is that some of the examples provided may not involve language use at all (it is possible to paint a fence without talking). Finally, individual tasks may be part of a larger sequence of tasks; for example the task of weighing a patient may be a sub-component of the task ‘giving a medical examination’. Our own interest on these areas was sparked whilst working with a group of students from our English program, PAL "Programa Abierto de Lenguas" at University of Guadalajara in which the BA is in charged, most of them are young-adults and adults who expect to be exposed to language use every day and that would make them feel safe at the time of using it, a language where they would carry a conversation steadily without limitations. We conducted this individual classroom- research during this current 6th semester of our career....

References: Nunan, D. (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching, Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J.C. 2001. Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Baird, K. (2004). The Use of Authentic Materials in the K-12 French program .Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forest University, Dept. Of Education, P. 17.
Nunan, D. (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching (Cambridge Language Teaching Library), Cambridge University Press.
Sheila, E
Mishan, F. (2005). Designing Authenticity into Language Learning Materials, Intellect Books.
Klippel, F. (1991) Keep Talking Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers), Cambridge University Press.
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