Vol. 1. No. 2 A-1 August 1994
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Inauthentic Authenticity or Authentic Inauthenticity? -- The Pseudo-problem of Authenticity in the Language Classroom

David Taylor
University of Leeds


 Many complaints about the lack of authenticity in the language classroom fail to distinguish and define different kinds of authenticity. It is commonly assumed that there is some sort of global and absolute notion of authenticity in which all the different kinds must be simultaneously and completely present. While there are relatively clear definitions available of what is meant by authenticity in relation to teaching materials and texts, there is much less agreement about what constitutes authenticity of context and of task or activity. This paper explores different notions of authenticity. A crucial point that is often overlooked is that the classroom has its own authenticity. For most learners the classroom is a very real and authentic place. The paper explores the implications of this for the notion of authenticity in the language classroom.

Keywords: curriculum, authentic materials, ESL pedagogy

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