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Volume 1 Number 1, Spring 2004, Pages 1-403   


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A Critical Look at Authentic Materials

    Richard Day


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. The purpose of this article is to explore the use of authentic materials in ELT. I begin with a brief discussion of the origins of our field's present preoccupation with such materials. This is followed by an examination of the reasons why authentic materials are preferred. I then discuss the problems with using authentic materials, and suggest that 'appropriateness' should be the primary consideration.