Authentic Materials: A Motivational Tool for the EFL Classroom?

Mark Graham Sample


This research paper set out to explore if the use of authentic materials in the classroom increases young ‘English as a Foreign Language’ (EFL) learners’ motivation. The 10 week investigation used a qualitative approach with 15 participants studying in two separate classes each week. The control class used contrived materials from a standard EFL textbook and the experimental class used authentic materials such as movie extracts, restaurant menus and maps. A significant amount of data was collected through a number of methods which included; recording classroom interaction, student diaries, student interviews and a questionnaire.

The investigation found that the participants’ motivation only increased when exposed to certain authentic materials, and that others caused de-motivation with ‘text difficulty’ observed as a key reason for this. The data revealed the varied nature of the materials used in the experimental class increased motivation in comparison to the control class, which noted repetitiveness as a cause of student dissatisfaction. Additionally, the authentic materials often incorporated activities that the participants liked and this helped raise motivation. Finally, there was evidence that students’ motivation was tied into particular activity types rather than whether they were authentic or contrived based.

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