4 Important Questions to Ask When Sharing a Documentary with Students

If you’re in a position to select authentic materials for upper level students, you’ve likely shared videos of various kinds. Have you worked with any documentaries? Good documentaries are designed not only to inform, but also to provoke thought. Prompting language production is what we want, but of course it must be done with care,…

Fast Speech and Why It Challenges Learners and Teachers

Plenty of learners have told me that they struggle to understand fast speech. I’ve offered study tips and listed resources for listening practice in the past, but I’ve finally decided to make my own special contribution. I’m currently running a 20-day Fast Speech Challenge on YouTube. My goal is to teach some common patterns in terms…

Getting the Most Out of Authentic Texts

If you’ve decided to bring in an authentic text to share with your students, what do you plan to do with it? You can use a text to meet a number of objectives, which include but are not limited to: Teaching text organization and comprehension of main ideas. Scramble the paragraphs of a short article…

Four Pitfalls of Working with Authentic Texts

Bringing authentic materials into the language classroom has definite benefits. With a teacher’s support, “real” language becomes more accessible. However, there are some dangers we need to avoid.  Pitfalls include: Selecting texts that are too advanced. Many authentic texts, especially in the media and academia, are too challenging for lower level students. The vocabulary and…

Maximizing the Instructional Potential of Activities and Materials

Creative activities and authentic material strengthen a language lesson, but preparing the activities and finding the material can be time-consuming. Here are two suggestions for conserving time and energy: A creative activity can remain fresh by changing the subject matter. You don’t have to feel pressured to come up with new activities every week. In…