#ELTchat Summary: Authentic Materials for Low Level ESP Learners

Wow, my first #ELTchat summary. Go gentle on me!

I was really interested in this because of the authentic materials in ESP side than low-levels side of things because I don’t have many low-level students at the moment.

The first thing that was made clear by @Marisa_C was that analysis is important, for student needs, appropriacy, context, etc. One thing that she also said was that it’s important to save or curate these materials for future use. I’d agree but my choice of tool would be Google Drive (as a Chrome and Android user) or Dropbox whereas Marisa advocated Pinterest, Scoop and Facebook save functions among other things. I like Google Drive because you can print to PDF and save directly to your Drive folders.

Readability scales were used by some and not by others. Some mentioned by @angelos_bollas were Read-able and Online-Utility. These basically do Flesch-Kincaid analyses.

@Marisa_C also shared her Pinterest board (which I’ve bookmarked and subscribed to).

Genre was talked about by @angelos_bollas and @Marisa_C who also suggested looking at Google Books for genre. It was also suggested that all teachers could do genre analysis with authentic materials but that not many do.

@Naomishema told us all about using tickets with low levels and that they are particularly good for teaching comparatives, family members and also numbers and dates.

@GlenysHanson told us about having learners make how-to guides, e.g. how a gearbox works, how to give an injection. Very interesting stuff! @Marisa_C then talked about how-to videos on YouTube and that students could add subtitles to these or verbalise the instructions.

I then chipped in about realia (warning posters, financial reports) and stuff from linguistic landscapes and triggered a tangent about using L1. I don’t mind a bit of L1, especially for learners who do a bit of translation despite their level. For this, I normally have them talk about the translation in the material and whether it’s right and how they would improve it. I posted examples of photographs.

I have had tons of students who translate at work just because they are the only ones who bother to study English. A lot of this work is just to make sure that the learners can get the main gist of the text out in English, or get the main gist of an English text and wrangle it into Japanese.

I don’t use Japanese at this point but get the learners to give a quick translation if necessary, or just check their understanding before they might give a rough translation to their bosses. Otherwise, what might happen is that students translate Powerpoint slides into English as best they can and I check they make sense in the context.

I also talked about using my own email and Facebook as materials and @angelos_bollas said he used his Twitter, too.

You should also consider looking at this #ELTchat summary by Sandy Millin about authentic materials.

You might also be interested in my post about using authentic listening.

Here’s the transcript of the whole chat by @SueAnnan





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