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This talk was given at an IATEFL-Hungary BESIG "Creative Café" session on Friday, 2nd December. It outlines the Content Based Instruction approach to teaching languages, with a particular focus on the use of authentic texts. The audience is then invited to reflect on alternative ways of implementing the approach.
Content based instruction: making the most of authentic materials
Making the most of authentic materials
1) CBI: what it is
2) Skills development
3) A lesson plan
CBI: what it is (1)
instruction has been
a popular approach to
since the 1990s!
Content is King,
Context is Queen?
CBI: what it is (2)
With CBI, classroom
activities are specific
to the subject matter
being taught (like
The aim is to
stimulate students to
think and learn
using the target
The CBI approach lends itself quite naturally
to the integrated teaching of the four skills:
Authentic materials are used.
Students can be made to think
critically about texts.
Students respond orally to
Motivated students will learn
from each other, too.
Essays or presentations can
Students can be made to
synthesize facts and ideas from
You can also encourage learners to think
more deeply about a test by asking them to:
1) Identify the author’s point of view;
2) Identify and challenge assumptions;
3) Consider the issue from an alternative
4) Say what it means to them: engage them
A Lesson Plan (1)
We will review a lesson plan, recently used
by your presenter:
A Universal Basic Income: panacea or
A Lesson Plan (2)
So what is a Universal Basic Income?
“A form of social security in which all citizens
of a country regularly receive an unconditional
sum of money (from government or some
other public institution), in addition to any
income received from elsewhere.” (Wikipedia,
Does this sound like an interesting idea to
you? If so, read on!
A Lesson Plan (3)
Examine the materials then discuss ONE of
the following questions in pairs:
1) How can a teacher choose a good (or
trendy) topic for students to discuss?
2) What are good Internet sources for
texts? If you are searching widely online,
what approaches yield good results?
3) Can or should one teach with more than
one source? What are the benefits?
A Lesson Plan (4)
Plus, discuss the following in groups:
1) What alternative texts or tasks could be
set, if the learners’ language level were
different to the B2/C1 envisaged here?
2) How much preparation time is required?
Is it worth it if the materials can be
Content Based Instruction:
- It’s stimulating and communicative!
- Language is acquired "naturally”
- Learning has a context
- Curriculum flexibility
- Content is motivating
- Real life is studied!