Published 11th December 2018
We all know the best way to teach English as a Foreign Language is through a topic. There are not many teachers left who would teach a language structure ice-cold, without any content to relate to it – well, hopefully! This isn’t always as easy as it sounds, though. In fact, coming up with topics to be used in the EFL classroom can be tricky. This is why it’s such a good idea to use authentic texts in the classroom. Authentic texts are varied and by their very nature interesting. Provided they are chosen well, they are relevant and appropriate. Plus they are widely and freely available. The news in the EFL classroom and current events are particularly useful authentic texts which can be used.
Where to find news materials for the EFL classroom
The first step to using news in the EFL classroom is to find a news article or story. The obvious place to look is in local newspapers or newspaper websites. There are also a number of websites dedicated to news materials which can be used in the EFL classroom so you should also look there.
Things to consider before using news in the EFL classroom
As with any authentic materials, there are a few things to keep in mind before bringing them into the classroom.
- Is it the right level for my students, or do I need to adjust in some way?
- Is it culturally and age-appropriate?
- Is it not offensive or too controversial?
- Will my students find the topic interesting?
- Do I find it interesting?
These are important considerations because if your chosen text is inappropriate or irrelevant, your students may not be engaged and your entire lesson could fall flat. Once you have considered these questions, though, and deem your material useful and appropriate for your class, you will need to think how to use it in in your lessons.
How to use the news in the EFL classroom
You can use a newspaper article for a traditional reading lesson. In other words:
- Introduce the topic
- Pre-reading tasks
- Post-reading tasks (usually involving language)
- Discussion and response to the text
If you choose to utilise a video rather than a written article you can follow the same procedure as you would for a listening lesson.
The benefits of using the news in the EFL classroom
Using the news is an easy way to relate the classroom to the outside world. This helps to show your students the link between the language they focus on in your lessons and the language they are exposed to outside the classroom. This is essential to ensure your students connect to English in the real world. In this way they are able to appreciate English as a way to relate to the rest of the world.