Student Perceptions of the Use of Authentic Materials and Tasks in LSP Teaching
Keywords:authentic materials, authentic tasks, authenticity-centred approach, task-based learning, languages for specific purposes
Authentic texts and tasks are the two most common categories of authenticity that play an important role in teaching languages for specific purposes (LSP) at the tertiary level. Authentic texts provide exposure to the language and tasks students will use during their studies or later in their professional lives. The authenticity-centred approach (Mishan 2005) combines authentic materials with task-based learning that must reflect the original communicative purpose of the materials. Different language skills are used for a specific purpose, for example, to understand articles in a foreign language. An analysis of the literature shows that researchers have studied both the advantages and disadvantages of using authentic materials in LSP teaching, and that it is useful to consider them when implementing this concept. This article presents the authenticity-centred approach to teaching English and German for specific purposes in two non-linguistic departments of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana. The aim of the article is to analyse the concept of authenticity and illustrate it with an example of an authentic task typical of both academic and professional contexts, i.e. reading professional and scientific articles and writing a summary in a foreign language and the native language. The paper examines LSP students‘ attitudes towards the authenticity-centred approach. The results showed that students of Geography and Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology highly appreciated the use of authentic materials and tasks in LSP classes. The vast majority of the students perceived the authentic materials as useful. They found it most useful to read scientific articles and to write a summary in a foreign language. The majority of the students believed that the use of authentic tasks had a positive effect on their motivation for language learning.
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