Many teachers struggle with ways to expose novice learners to authentic texts. If you scaffold appropriately, novice learners can handle a variety of materials. It’s certainly easier to use anything that has audio or visual in addition to written text. Here are simple steps to scaffolding an authentic text:
In the context of a larger unit on travel, I had my students interpreting the safety procedures on a plane through videos, online brochures and websites. They watched several videos. Here is one example. It is a good choice for novice learners because of its familiarity and cognates.
1. Preview the text: Before students learn any new vocabulary, allow them to watch the video a few times, trying to see if they can identify any words or phrases. Tell them to watch it in a relaxed manner. I usually use a calm voice, and say, “Just listen. You don’t need to understand every word. Focus on what you can understand, not the words that you can’t understand. Just listen.” During the second viewing, as a formative assessment, they can write down the words they hear that they are familiar with, and new words they can infer based on the context. At the end of each viewing, I ask them to hold up a hand low in front of them using their fingers as a way to represent their comprehension, 5 being the highest. They mark this down on the same paper. I can collect the papers and see what does not need to be retaught or we can make a class list off all the words we already know as an anchor activity. Read the rest of this entry