Authentic Listening Materials

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  • carl87
    7 April, 2013 at 3:00
    • Total posts: 1

    Hello Everyone,

    I am currently a third year student studying TESOL and Linguistics at the University of Wolverhampton. As part of my academic course I am completing a research project which aims to explore the issues of using authentic listening materials in the classroom.

    I would appreciate it if English teachers could comment below describing your thoughts/feelings on using authentic listening materials. I would particularly appreciate it if you could comment on how you utilise them within the classroom and where you source them from. Thank you.

    Carl Clinton

    13 April, 2013 at 3:29
    • Total posts: 23

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials

    I find authentic listening materials to be highly valuable in the classroom. I teach Business English in Japan, and the students are tired of commercial texts and CDs. EFL students can be difficult to motivate, so using authentic materials engages the students and reminds them that English is being used all over the world.

    In particular, I like to use videos in class. For a list of video ideas, visit

    All the Best,

    13 April, 2013 at 17:16
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials


    Well, authentic listening materials are always more interesting and motivating for students than obviously "staged" and stilted ones. But firstly, how do we define authentic listening materials? When I say "authentic", I mean discourse that is genuine and not necessarily simulated for specific classroom use.

    What follows on from that is that there are so many sources you could find authentic listening resources:
    1) Story-telling, songs, videos and TV are all sources students don’t have to respond to but can listen to
    2) ticking off items on a worksheet when they hear them being said, drawing what is being described or writing down missing words, following instructions are all examples of students performing tasks in response to instructions
    3) Answering questions, taking notes and giving the information back to you in different words, having a conversation are long response listening activities

    When working on listening skills, teachers must aim for improving their students’ ability to correctly pick up information aurally and to respond to it accordingly.

    I wrote an article on Methods to Improve Listening Skills a while back which goes into this in more detail at: [url][/url] I hope this helps you! I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have on it.

    17 April, 2013 at 7:19
    • Total posts: 11

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials

    I’d just like to add a point of view here. It is doubtless true that "obviously stage and stilted" material is of little value, but there is a place for ‘non-authentic’ material that is well produced and that can support learners at early stages. This applies for listening and reading material.
    "Authentic at all costs" can become a dogma if we’re not careful, and dogma can get in the way. Appropriate and accessible authentic material can be hugely motivating – but it’s not always that easy to find things that fit your needs.
    There is stuff available (go on the BBC – British Council websites) that is not ‘authentic’ but is useful and convincingly ‘authentic-like’ – and to ignore it out of principle is to do a dis-service to students.

    22 April, 2013 at 9:06
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials

    I agree absolutely Duncan. We can’t always find authentic listening material and staged material definitely has its place in language teaching especially when it is designed to practise a certain language point.

    21 May, 2013 at 12:01
    • Total posts: 24

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials

    I always try to use authentic listening materials, it just gets a little tricky for beginners and you have to work a little harder to find material.

    All the Cambridge exam-style recordings really grate on me to be honest, with their strange, put-on accents.

    I find I get a much better reaction from students when I use authentic material, including appropriate news clips for reading activities, instead of edited ones.

    14 June, 2013 at 20:47
    • Total posts: 9

    Reply To: Authentic Listening Materials

    I agree with most on here regarding authentic listening material, but believe there is a place for specifically created listening material too. The non-authentic material has to be as close to authentic as possible and used for a specific reason (beginners, a grammar point, specific vocabulary).

    I generally use them as a warm-up exercise or as homework. I love giving clips of series or films and then talking about them in class and highlighting the language used.

    Youtube is my go-to place for these types of resources.

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