By Ed Weiss
During my teaching career, I always had a true affinity for the use of authentic materials. All the research indicates that student proficiency increases with exposure to a variety of authentic materials. Perhaps even more compelling than the research, is the memory of my secondary education. My teachers were well trained and had clearly mastered the language, but those were the days of grammar-centric world language classes. Verb conjugations and vocabulary lists were featured aspects of instruction. My only memories of authentic materials were posters from Air France and SNCF and the weekly arrival of Paris Match magazine. The tasks that we were assigned were essentially decontextualized sentences accompanied by verb form drills. The curriculum was primarily based on mastery of forms with minimal real life applications of language skills. From a student perspective, we didn’t know any better. We couldn’t envision an intercultural, multimedia course with internet access to enrich and connect with students. Our teachers were limited by their lack of resources and the pedagogical philosophy of that era.
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