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Content based instruction: making the most of authentic materials

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This talk was given at an IATEFL-Hungary BESIG "Creative Café" session on Friday, 2nd December. It outlines the Content Based Instruction approach to teaching languages, with a particular focus on the use of authentic texts. The audience is then invited to reflect on alternative ways of implementing the approach.

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Content based instruction: making the most of authentic materials

  1. 1. Content Based Instruction Making the most of authentic materials
  2. 2. Overview 1) CBI: what it is 2) Skills development 3) A lesson plan 4) Conclusion
  3. 3. CBI: what it is (1) Content-based instruction has been a popular approach to teaching languages since the 1990s! Content is King, Context is Queen?
  4. 4. CBI: what it is (2) With CBI, classroom activities are specific to the subject matter being taught (like ESP). The aim is to stimulate students to think and learn using the target language. An Advanced language class
  5. 5. Skills development The CBI approach lends itself quite naturally to the integrated teaching of the four skills: Skill Benefit READING/LISTENING: Authentic materials are used. Students can be made to think critically about texts. SPEAKING: Students respond orally to input. Motivated students will learn from each other, too. WRITING/PRESENTING: Essays or presentations can follow afterwards. Students can be made to synthesize facts and ideas from multiple sources.
  6. 6. Critical thinking You can also encourage learners to think more deeply about a test by asking them to: 1) Identify the author’s point of view; 2) Identify and challenge assumptions; 3) Consider the issue from an alternative perspective; 4) Say what it means to them: engage them personally.
  7. 7. A Lesson Plan (1) We will review a lesson plan, recently used by your presenter: A Universal Basic Income: panacea or lunacy?
  8. 8. A Lesson Plan (2) So what is a Universal Basic Income? “A form of social security in which all citizens of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money (from government or some other public institution), in addition to any income received from elsewhere.” (Wikipedia, adapted) Does this sound like an interesting idea to you? If so, read on!
  9. 9. A Lesson Plan (3) Examine the materials then discuss ONE of the following questions in pairs: 1) How can a teacher choose a good (or trendy) topic for students to discuss? 2) What are good Internet sources for texts? If you are searching widely online, what approaches yield good results? 3) Can or should one teach with more than one source? What are the benefits?
  10. 10. A Lesson Plan (4) Plus, discuss the following in groups: 1) What alternative texts or tasks could be set, if the learners’ language level were different to the B2/C1 envisaged here? 2) How much preparation time is required? Is it worth it if the materials can be reused?
  11. 11. Conclusion Content Based Instruction: - It’s stimulating and communicative! - Language is acquired "naturally” - Learning has a context - Curriculum flexibility - Content is motivating - Real life is studied!
  12. 12. Any questions?

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