October 11, 2009

What do we listen to in an ELT classroom?

Using authentic material in an ELT classroom is always a controversial issue. It's easy to find as many teachers in favor as against this policy. Some of the items suggested by Hedge in which they may disagree are: the level of students, the grading of language, the unfamiliarity of accents, and the amount of repetition and the speed of delivery.

Personally, I believe that introducing authentic material can be carried out at all levels. The important thing is not to grade the audio recording or video segment, but grading the task according to our student's schematic knowledge. Making use of an appropriate pre-listening task, we are able to activate formal and content schemata and give our students a good purpose for listening. Most of our students are already familiar with different accents heard in movies and TV series, so, to me, it's just a matter of adapting the level of activities to the level of our students; the activities may vary from a simple checkpoint of words mentioned to more complex activities in which inference strategies are required. Finally, amount of repetition and speed of delivery are items that could be indirectly graded by selecting appropriate material, which does not mean risking authenticity.

I invite you all to go over the following article I've found on the BBC website*. It is related to the use of all kinds of authentic material in ELT classroom and it gives great ideas!!!

Based on Tricia Hedge, Teaching and Learning in Language Classroom, Oxford, 2000
(Chapter 7)



  1. Hi Yohi!
    I definitely agree with you the challenge of integrating authentic material into our listening lessons lies in how we choose to go about its exploitation. More importantly, I'd add, the advantages always outdo the potential disadvantages. And new technologies have certainly contributed to making it easier to "bring world voices into the classroom", haven't they?
    See you around,

  2. Hi Yohi!
    I really loved your wonderful to-the-point analysis of the topic! I totally agree that grading the task and not the material is the best option we have available so as to give our students, regardless of their level, an opportunity to face authentic material!
    The pre-, while- and post-listening system is of great help when it comes to facilitating our students' understanding of a text (and, at the same time, it makes it both more motivating and demanding!)
    It's always a pleasure to read your reflections! (: