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ESL learning: Learning Native English

Using Authentic Material to Learn Native English

Today one of my weekly Japanese students asked me a question that should be answered for the benefit of many learners.

His question: “I am studying 1 hour every day, what material should I use for best results?”answersexit

Straight away, I knew it was time to tell him about Authentic Materials. Authentic material (referred to as ‘AM’ from here forward) is any material that exists in the real world for native speakers in English. AM is the SECRET to understanding and speaking English like natives.

The language genius, Valdman (1992), said “communicative ability, both spoken and  heard, can be obtained only if learners are exposed to a variety of authentic written and oral texts illustrating a broad range of genres and pragmatic situations” (p.88). Keep reading and learn more…


Here are a few examples of authentic materials:

Prescriptions and instructions, Announcements, Written notes and memos, Newspapers, Advertisements, Bill boards, Websites, Blogs, Tweets, Bills, Letters and forms, Maps and directions, Commercials that can be exploited to learn culture, YouTube and Facebook content, Music, Menus, Signs, Comedy and many more.findinginfo

What other kinds of AM can you think of???

Some of the Benefits of AM:

  1. Exposes learners to new ideas and language as it used in real-life

  2. Prepares learners to handle real-world situations, including slang and idioms, pronunciation and cultural issues

  3. More learning takes place with written and spoken texts that interest the learner

  4. Exposure to a variety of native vocabulary and structures

  5. What other benefits of AM can you think of???

Parting words:

Authentic texts have a place in every classroom. Be sure to keep a notebook and make notes of everything you learn. I learned to speak Thai rather fluently through mostly AM. It works!!! Believe me!!!

If you have never learned English online, but you want to try, please do not hesitate to book a free trial class with one of our professional ETO teachers today!

By: Luke 

ETO American English teacher

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  1. New Ways in Using Authentic Material in the Classroom. Ruth E. Larimer and Leigh Sleicher, Editors, with Maria H. DaCosta

  2. New Ways in TESOL Series II, Innovative Classroom Techniques, Jack C. Richards, Series Editor, TESOL Inc. Pantagraph Printing, Bloomington Illinois, 1999


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