What is Authenticity?Donna Tatsuki (Kobe City University of Foreign Studies)
|• Authenticity of language||• Authenticity of text used as input data for learners|
|• Authenticity of the learners own interpretation of such texts|
|• Authenticity of task||• Authenticity of the tasks conductive to language learning|
|• Authenticity of situation||• Authenticity of the actual social situation of the language classroom|
[ p. 1 ]
. . . acknowledge that there is no such thing as an abstract quality "authenticity" which can be defined once and for all. Instead we should acknowledge that authenticity is a function not only of the language but also of the participants, the use to which language is put, the setting, the nature of the interaction, and the interpretation the participants bring to both the setting and the activity. (1994, p.4).
|"We cannot and do not experience reality 'raw' – much of our experience of reality is mediated by language."|
[ p. 2 ]
. . . the whole point of pedagogy is that it is a way of short-circuiting the slow process of natural discovery and can make arrangements for learning to happen more easily and more efficiently than it does in natural surroundings. That is what schools are for, whatever subject we are dealing with. Pedagogy is bound to be a contrivance: that is precisely its purpose. If what went on in classrooms exactly replicated the conditions of the world outside, there would be no point in pedagogy at all. (p. 163)
[ p. 3 ]
|"We need to remember that learners may need 'skill-getting' or 'pre-communicative' activities before they can successfully do 'skill-using' and 'communicative' activities."|
While allowing that learners must be encouraged to process authentic language in real situations, we think the necessity of authentic materials at all levels of learning and for all activities has been overstated. Our view is that materials that are 'not authentic' in different ways are more than just useful; they are essential in language learning. Non-authentic materials are as valuable as authentic materials. Indeed, there are some situations in which authentic materials are useless - especially when the learners' receptive proficiency is low. (p. 3)Therefore input and tasks each can have degrees or levels of authenticity. Brown and Menasche propose five levels for input from "genuine input authenticity", "altered input authenticity", "adapted input authenticity", "simulated input authenticity" and "inauthenticity" while noting that no type is better than the other in their view. They define three types of task authenticity: "genuine", "simulated" and "pedagogical" and note that "there is probably no such thing as real task authenticity; that classrooms are by their nature artificial. The only genuine task authenticity for language learning may well be total immersion in the target language environment without an instructor" (emphasis added, p.5).
[ p. 4 ]
[ p. 5 ]Therefore, it is important to regularly examine Ministry approved textbooks and assess their contribution to the communicativeness of oral communication classes.
[ p. 6 ]
|Kumagai (1993)||TV dramas/films, ethnographic||apology strategies, offense types, syntactic-semantic patterns||gender distribution|
|Kite & Tatsuki (2005)||films, ethnographic (Holmes, 1989;1990)||apology strategies, offense types, syntactic-semantic patterns||gender distribution|
|Rose (2001)||films, ethnographic data (Manes & Wolfson, 1981; Miles, 1994)||syntactic formulas, response strategies, topics||(ethno vs other) gender distributions, adjective choices|
|Tatsuki & Kite (2006a)||films, ethnographic data||syntactic formulas, response strategies, topics||(ethno vs other) gender distributions, adjective choices|
|Tatsuki & Nishizawa (2005)||films, ethnographic data, TV interviews||syntactic formulas, response strategies, topics||(ethno vs other) gender distributions, adjective choices|
|Nishizawa, Tatsuki & Kite (2005)||films, TV interviews, ethnographic data, EFL textbooks||syntactic formulas, response strategies, topics||(ethno vs other) gender distributions, (ethno data/textbooks vs. film/TV interview) adjective choices|
|Kishimoto (2006)||films, ethnographic data, EFL textbooks, syntactic formula, response strategies, topics||syntactic formulas, response strategies, adjective choices||(ethno vs other) gender distributions, (ethno data/textbooks vs. film/TV interview) adjective choices|
|Fernandez-Guerra & Martinez-Flor (2003)||film, ELT textbooks||request strategies (ELT uses more imperatives & direct strategies)|
|Grant & Stark (2001); Bardovi-Harlig, et al. (1991); Myers-Scotton & Berstern, (1988)||TV soap operas, ESL textbooks||rarely closed topics or conversations||more variety in components of closing sequences (TV interviews)|
|Wong (2002)||CA literature, EFL textbooks in Hong Kong||summons-answer sequences, recognition-identification, how-are-you|
|Tatsuki & Kite (under review)||CA literature, Films, EFL textbooks in Japan and Hong Kong||(CA data & Films) Summons-Answer Sequences, Recognition-Identification, How-are-you||(textbooks vs others) summons-answer sequences, recognition-identification, How-are-you|
|Tatsuki, Kite & Nishizawa (2005)||CA literature, films, TV Interviews, EFL textbooks in Japan and Hong Kong||(CA data & Films) Summons-Answer Sequences, Recognition-Identification, How-are-you||(textbooks vs others) summons-answer sequences, recognition-identification, How-are-you, closings|
|Initial Conversations (first conversation with a stranger)|
|Tatsuki (1992a&b)||films, natural data (Kellerman et al, 1985), ELT videos||(film & natural data) topic choices, topic sequences||(ELT video vs. others) topic choices, topic sequences, (Natural data vs others) closings|
|Shimakawa (1995)||3 Indiana Jones films, HS EFL textbooks||Films offer full coverage of grammatical forms found in textbooks|
|Eken (2003)||Film, ESL textbooks||unsubstantiated claims / assertions|
|Trombly, (1999)||Film, textbooks|
[ p. 7 ]The same was true for apologies; the syntactic-semantic patterns of apologies, the types of offenses that sparked an apology and the apology strategies (such as whether to offer to repair or fix the problem, or to promise not to let the offense happen again, or to just explain why the offense happened) were all similar in terms of frequency when compared with ethnographically collected naturally occurring data. Also, films generally provided complete sequences. In the case of telephone dialogues, they usually started with a ringing phone and ended with a hanging up action and they also usually showed coherent, plausible sequences in between.
[ p. 7 ]In a comparison of adjective use in compliments in films and TV interviews with ethnographic data, the "big 5" adjectives only accounted for about one-third of the adjectives used in films and TV interviews. Pedagogically speaking, this finding can be interpreted two ways. First, it looks like a small range of adjectives will cover a lot of complimenting situations. So learners encountering compliments in natural conversations will likely hear the five previously mentioned adjectives the most. Therefore if the pedagogical aim is to prepare learners to take part in everyday interactions, it is safe to limit models to these five adjectives, at least at first. According to the textbook data, it looks like this is what textbook writers are doing. But what if one of our pedagogical aims is to increase adjective vocabulary? For richer exposure to contextualized vocabulary, films and TV interviews look like a better choice. Therefore it seems that pedagogical aims are very important in determining which materials are acceptable and appropriate.
[ p. 8 ]Looking at classrooms
[ p. 9 ]
|"We need to 'get real' about interaction and one way to do that is to promote integrated skills approaches such as whole language, cooperative learning, task-based learning, content-based learning or multiple intelligences."|
[ p. 10 ]Conclusion
The use of authentic materials is a major preoccupation in English language teaching (ELT). Teachers often try to ensure their students use authentic materials; publishers proclaim proudly that their materials are authentic. The assumption, of course, is that authentic materials are to be preferred over other types of materials.
|". . . it would make imminent sense to spend at least as much on teacher training and professional development as is currently spent on textbook development."|
[ p. 11 ]
[ p. 12 ]
[ p. 13 ]
[ p. 14 ]