miércoles, 30 de enero de 2013

Ideas for Using Authentic Resources (#authres)

This post is related to my last post about using (or having to use) a textbook, but trying to incorporate more authentic resources. So, below are some ideas for what to do with authentic resources. These may be obvious to many (and I shared some of these in my last post), but I thought I would share them again in a little more detail. 

What is an Authentic Resource (#authres)?  

  • Authentic Resources can be a variety of media, but what defines them are that they are things that are created by native speakers for native speaker.

Why use Authentic Resources (#authres)?
  • Engagement ---> Students will be much more engaged and interested. 
  • Variety ---> Commercials, PSAs, tweets, websites, songs, music videos
  • Out of the box ---> The language that students hear/see is not "in the box" of whatever unit they are studying. They will learn new words related to what they are learning.
  • Real language, Insecurity, and Confidence ---> At first, students will feel insecure because they will not understand a lot. Also, they won't know what to expect. But, after doing several scaffolded activities with the authentic resource, students will feel confident that they can understand real Spanish.
Here are some things to do before, during, and after using an Authentic Resource:
  • Tell students that they will not understand everything. Reassure them that that is ok. This is not history class and they might feel like things are a little "foggy." Tell them that that feeling is what learning a new language is like sometimes.
  • Tell students to listen/look for words that they know and try to get basic meaning from those words.
  • Use the authentic resource many times.
    • Commercials can be watched 8 times and you have only spent 4-5 minutes watching the video.
    • Songs and music videos can be used once a day over a long period of time.
    • Repeat Authentic Resources in various levles.
  • Do a variety of activities with the authentic resource
Here are some activities to do when using commercials:
  • Have students watch first. Tell them not to worry about listening to what is being said. Ask them to be prepared to say some things that they saw or describe what people are doing in the video. This is a great thing to do at any level. By focusing on watching the video, they are not worried about hearing what it being said, but they are actually listening (but without being stressed).
  • After they have seen the video a couple times, ask them to listen and then share some of the words that they heard. Repeat this activity.
  • Do a cloze activity. Before starting the activity, have students read the script. Have students listen two times before sharing the answers. By now, they will have seen the commercial/video 4 times, so this will be easier.
  • Prepare some discussion questions about what is actually being said in the commercial and what it is for.
  • At the end, ask students to share or write down a new word (or words) that they learned.
  • Finally, have students read the script aloud with a partner. If you tell them to mimic the voice from the commercial, they will not worry so much. Also, because they have heard the audio 6-8 times, they will probably be pronouncing the words correctly without thinking about it. This can actually be a really fun (and funny) activity that students will enjoy.
  • This Google Doc is a great place to find commercials. I have used Ctrl F to find specific theme-related vocabulary words to make my searching easier. 
  • And, of course, Zachary Jones has some amazing activities with commerials. And many of these ideas came from me attending his excellent Authentic Resources session at the MaFLA conference this past fall.
  • Cristina Zimmerman (@CristinaZimmer4) shared this commercial activity on Twitter this morning.
  • And here are two more for Spanish 3 that I shared on my last post:
    Any other suggestions or ideas for using authentic resources in the classroom? Please share here or using #authres on Twitter.

    5 comentarios:

    1. Hi! It’s an interesting post, I totally agree with you. Authentic materials are a brilliant resource, and they should be exploited by teachers in order to engage, and also to motivate; knowing that one can understand a "real" text in L2 is a boost to student confidence.

      But I have to say I’m not sure I agree with your definition of authentic material: “ created by native speakers for native speakers.”

      An English language authentic resource is simply something that has been created in this language for a purpose other than teaching.

      In using AM, the teacher must consider the students’ objective. Are they going to interact solely with native speakers?

      There are several hundred million Native English Speakers, but many more times that are non-native speakers of English – and they definitely talk to each other!

      Our students are far more likely to be speaking to people from outside the native speaker bubble – and they need to be prepared for it. I’d argue that we should expose students to many kinds of accent, especially those of NNS – as that is what they’ll experience in real life.

      I found that while working in Business English environments, the students would have meetings with a variety of different people – Italian –German, French- Swedish, Russian-Spanish, etc., etc. – and they all have distinct forms of speaking – from accents, expressions, mis-translations and common grammatical errors. It’s great to expose students to these forms of speech, these emails, video clips, EL films, transcripts, etc. Using these in class all count towards improving general comprehension and ability to communicate ideas, in a practical manner. You’re definitely not limited to AM created by native speakers, for native speakers.

      In terms of reading, it’s the same. Why not teach with imperfect materials? So long as the exercise is to teach comprehension and response, or even correction – and that students are clear on what is incorrect language, there is no stopping you using materials from NNS sources.

      All the best

      1. Thank you for your comment, but you seem to have focused solely on the definition that I use for "authentic resources". You make some good points, but these two documents encourage the use of authentic resources while teaching http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Skills%20Map/p21_worldlanguagesmap.pdf and http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/11b_3435_AP_SpanLang_CF_WEB_110930.pdf Also, although not specifically defined, "authentic" in these texts does imply "created by native speakers, for native speakers."

        Perhaps as an ESOL teacher, your students will be far more likely to be speaking to people outside of the native speaker bubble, but as a Spanish teacher, most of my students' interactions (if and when they have any) will be with native speakers of Spanish, not people who speak Spanish as their second language and don't speak English.

        Also, the main point of my post was how using "authentic resources" in the Spanish classroom makes for a richer, more engaging learning environment. I also use a variety of NNS resources, but have found that using authentic resources and changing the task has helped my students tremendously.

      2. You’re right – I’m coming at this from the point of view of an English teacher/Spanish student. I’m sorry – I didn’t intend to take away from your post – I’m a big fan of using authentic materials.

        You're right, when it comes to using AM in the classroom - the students' needs come first. If NNS materials are not a priority, then they shouldn't be used. In general, native accents and dialects should probably take precedent, but from my own experience, which isn’t exactly empirical I know, I speak to both native Spanish speakers and a variety of non-native Spanish speakers.

        In Barcelona, at least, it’s common to find Chinese, Russian, French, Eastern European (etc.) speakers who speak primarily in Spanish in their day-to-day. As an ex-pat, I tend to find myself in foreign crowds rather than local ones. So for them, and for me, it’s important to have that chance to practise dealing with trickier accents, dialects, and treatments of the language in the classroom.

        I think it's great you you authentic materials - there are some excellent resources, and I realise that you have to teach to your students' needs - and it sounds like your students will likely not be in the same situation as me - you're right to choose materials that suit them.

    2. I just found your blog, read a bunch of posts and LOVE this one about authentic resources! I tend to do the same couple of things with authentic resources that have worked with my students but implementing the list of ideas you've compiled will surely be refreshing for my teaching and my students!

      I'm sharing a bunch of your posts with my Spanish and ASL teacher followers on Facebook over the next few weeks. Feel free to head to my page and give it a "like" to see the posts of yours I share and what my followers say about them!


    3. If you tell them to mimic the voice from the commercial, they will not worry so much. Also, because they have heard the audio 6-8 times, they will probably be pronouncing the words correctly without thinking about it. This can actually be a really fun (and funny) activity that students will enjoy.
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