Realia, authentic documents, and mass media are living daily proof of the value of language. Their authenticity, specialized vocabulary, reinforced grammatical structures, and topics of interest can help encourage interest in the target language and culture. They contain current language on all imaginable topics, and are not artificial or contrived. One of the most compelling reasons for using them is the teacher's involvement in selecting and adapting materials for classroom use. Mass media can help to dispel stereotypes. Realia such as maps and schedules often contain a minimum of language and reduce potential frustration: other kinds of realia lend themselves well to demonstration. Educators differ on whether the materials should be used in their original in an adapted form. The instructor can prepare written materials to accompany the realia, and can easily prepare audiovisual aids with it. One of the key advantages in using realia is its direct link to culture, allowing attention to subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the target culture and our own. Newspapers, magazines, movie ads, mail-order catalogs, television commercials, the Yellow Pages, and souvenirs and other printed materials gathered in travel abroad or requested from other sources are examples of useful realia. (MSE)
Authentic Materials; ERIC Digests
1 - Available on microfiche
ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, DC.
Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.