Today I stumbled across an amazing site, British Library Sounds in my quest for authentic audio activities for my students. Work aside, I had to explore this site. What a jewel of a find!; early recordings of English language conversations for learners. What would my 21st century, Korean EAL students think about these early spoken word recordings?
This got me mulling over the idea of ‘authentic’ or ‘real world’ texts. How real or authentic do we get with learners? In today’s globalised community where English is pretty much accepted as the lingua franca, understanding a native as well as a non-native English speaker is crucial. Language is about communication. Communication today is global extending beyond borders, physical or otherwise.
Before breaking up for the Christmas break, students’ (and parents’) requests came pouring in for suggestions on improving their English Language. I tried my best to give individualised plans for extension and improvement from books to interactive websites. Upon reflection, I think this is the most authentic one can get with teenagers. Their real world is the world of fashion, fads, music, relationships and technology – apps, games, videos, on demand movies and many more I am not privy to having gone past the teen years by decades. At the end of the day, learners need to be motivated and inspired to attain their language goals. My best advice is besides the formalised lessons, read books you enjoy, watch the movies that interest you, indulge in some telly, bop to that beat or play that game as long as you have a balance of language activities, you will progress. How slow or fast you do that, well, that’s another post altogether.
Happy New Year! To a year of positive change, knowledge creation and many more books to read…