Cultural items like food are just some of the ways that #langchat participants are using authentic resources in their classrooms.“Authentic resources can be anything from the target culture that exercises their senses, from visuals to food,” newcomer @weslotero explained during Thursday night’s #langchat. While many teachers know the value of using authentic audio and video resources in their teaching, there are a variety of different kinds of authentic resources that can be effectively used in the classroom. As the world language community shifts towards integrating both traditional and new authentic resources, language professionals are turning to their colleagues to find the best ways to teach with them.
Authentic Resources for ReadingOne of the main reasons #langchat teachers use authentic resources is to help students improve their reading proficiency in the target language. Reading resources like articles and newspapers provide a low-stress way of introducing authentic material, especially for students who feel more comfortable with “book work” than communication. @emilybakerhanes explained, “I like authentic images/ads/readings. Level ones don’t get overwhelmed and learn critical reading skills.” Tips and resources for authentic reading:
- @profesorM has his students “use online real estate sites and ipads” to increase reading engagement. One of his favorite activities is having students peruse sites with their Ipads in order to find and go through the steps of “buying” a house in an actual Spanish-speaking community.
- @SenoritaClark uses People en Español because it is “relevant and engaging” for her students.
- @jas347 encourages other teachers to invest in “subscriptions to mags, newspapers…full of authentic images, ads, text and text and cultural info!”
- @spanishplans gave great links to ESPN deportes to find high-interest reading for male students. They also shared a link to Nulu, which has articles to increase reading comprehension as well as audio read-throughs.
- @CristinaZimmer4 said, “While not completely authentic, Viente Mundos has some nice articles about culture in Spain, with lessons to go with.”
- @Sra_Hildinger offered her suggestions for international reading: Newspapers around the world and Tom Alsop’s list of newspapers for WL.
Getting Students “Sold” on Authentic Resources@CoLeeSensei reminded us that heavy reading isn’t the only way to use authentic resources. She said, “#Authres doesn’t have to be ‘text intense’ – authentic is more than that!” A good example of this is with advertisements. Advertisements are designed to get people engaged, which is why they are so effective in the classroom. The visually appealing image and direct language makes them excellent teaching tools, especially at lower levels. @emilybakerhanes said, “I want to do more w/ advertisements. Strong images w/short statements will stick in their head!” A number of other teachers agreed, citing ads as great tools for teaching context, good starting points for conversation and instruction on media literacy.
- @ZJonesSpanish shared some media literacy and 21st Century skill-building advertisement activities.
- @CatherineKU72 said, “Wandermami’s Delicious page has quite a list of commercials.
- @senoraCMT suggested that #langchatters use PubliTV to find excellent ads for classroom use.
- @placido reminded us of @SEOCottrell’s compilation of Spanish commercial transcripts.
- @lanecindy1234 also shared her collection of commercials and @CristinaZimmer4 shared her favorite Spanish commercial site, Comercial Mexicana.
- @CatherineKU72 also suggested that teachers keep their eyes open for ads while traveling. She said, “While on trips, I raid the supermarket for the ads. They are light-weight to bring back (10 copies!) and offer non-tech solution.”
Worth a Thousand WordsStill, ads aren’t the only visual mode of authentic resources. Many teachers are enamored with cartoons and other images to motivate language skill-building. @placido said, “Memes and cartoons are short, sweet, plentiful and relateable!” and gave an example. Both @ProsperaHLP and @SenoraCMT agreed, sharing their favorite sources for cartoons: Malfalda and Pinterest. Other great ideas for using images? Movie posters, photos and videos. @Sra_Hildinger shared the Culturally Authentic Pictoral Lexicon for a good source of cultural images. @ZJonesSpanish said, “Movie posters are great, especially for seeing linguistic variation in action (Spain vs. Latin American posters) and intriguing translations.” @placido also loves using still images to teach, but laments the limited access from her school campus. “Flickr is a wonderful source for beautiful photos. Blocked at school though.”
- @LesliePhillips3: “For photos, write what happened before pic, during, and prediction about after.”
- @km_york: “I like to add on to the cloze with image to text match, translation, illustration and put in order activities too.”
- @crwmsteach: “With movies or video clips: describe people; what are they doing/did/will do; your opinion of film or character.”
- @LesliePhillips3: “Sometimes I first play the video with no sound so language learners can observe, predict and question.”
Feasting on Authentic Resources“Do we consider objects or food to be authentic resources? I think so!” @placido exclaimed. Many participants talked about the excellent ability of food to connect students with the culture and peoples of their target language class. From language-rich restaurant menus to online grocery stores, #langchat participants shared some of their favorite ways to incorporate food as an authentic resource.
- @jas347 said, “Find your favorite restaurant chain in France, search furnished apartments in Paris, look up French Top 40…options are endless!”
- @CatherineKU72 said, “Some businesses are adding 3D or virtual visit of their shops like this virtual boulangerie pour les profs de FR.”
- @ZJonesSpanish said, “We love to look at grocery-store circulars around holidays,” then shared the Plato del Dia site, an archive of hundreds of Spanish-language menus.
- Online grocery stores: Mas x menos, Compra Online, DR’s Supermercados Nacional.
- @profesorM suggests to do a food tasting in class. He said, “Goya makes tropical fruit juices, we have a tasting with plantain chips, salsa and tortillas.”
- @spanishplans said, “I’ve been using “how-to” cooking videos in Spanish. Students watch, then summarize recipe. Or type of transcript and do cloze.”
- @weslotero said, “I like bringing food and drinks into my class like horchata and conchas from mexico.” @ProsperaHLP also suggests bringing foods like guava paste, arroz con leche, Moros y Cristianos (rice & black beans), or empanadas. @spanishplans suggested the fruit “tuna” (prickly pear) as well as Inca Kola.
- @muchachitaMJ said, “Another fun #authres is Yelp. Students read reviews in language in their choice about restaurants, places in city, hotels + more!”
- @muchachitaMJ shared her experience with using authentic food as a classroom reward. “I used mini bananas for a prize yesterday. One girl was mad. Ha! The rest went nuts because they had never seen a mini-banana!” @SenoritaClark responded, “I LOVE that idea! Authentic AND healthy!”