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A Review on the Effectiveness of Using Authentic Materials in ESP Courses

Zahra Zohoorian Vahid baghban

Islamic Azad University of Mashhad

Professor Ambigapathy, Pandian

University Science Malaysia


The issue of using authentic materials in language classrooms has been influential over the past two decades. Moreover, many practitioners involved in foreign language teaching and research have argued about the benefits of using authentic materials (Shrum & Glisan, 2000; Paltridge, 2001; Guariento & Morley, 2001; Kelly & Kelly & Offner & Vorland, 2002). These benefits may range from highlighting comprehension, presenting real language, providing opportunities to introduce cultural issues, to enhancing motivation, and creating language awareness. However, the use of authentic materials in learning contexts such as ESP has always been a matter of controversy. In this respect, the present paper aims at reviewing the implementation of authentic materials in ESP contexts. To this end, there will be a review of authenticity and authentic materials as opposed to textbook-based materials focusing on the nature and quality features as well as the approaches which advocate the use of authentic materials such as communicative language teaching (CLT) and Content-Based Instruction (CBI). Moreover, learners’ needs as one of the fundamental principles in ESP course design will be discussed. Further, the paper will probe into the motivating nature of authentic materials especially for ESP learners with the assumption that language is used for real-life purposes by real people. The paper will conclude by providing a list of the authentic materials and presenting some guidelines for the selection and instruction of authentic reading materials in ESP courses.

Key words: Authentic materials, English for specific Purposes (ESP), motivation, real life language use

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