|Institution:||University of Iceland|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21154|
English is prevalent in Icelandic society and students need to have adequate language skills to enter the university or professional work environment. Reading plays an important role in learning a language. Therefore, authentic reading materials in an ESL classroom could improve the language skills. Some authentic materials could improve vocabulary and prepare students for further academic studies or professional work fields. In this essay I look at the authenticity of reading materials used in the Icelandic secondary English classroom. I review the ambiguity of the term ‘authentic’ and determine for the purpose of this thesis, which definition is necessary for the linguistic context that I am looking at. I also look at arguments for and against the use of authentic reading materials in the ESL/EFL classroom. Additionally, I examine the status of English in Iceland as a whole and then more specifically English as it is used by secondary school students. English plays a significant role in the lives of the students leading up to and including secondary education. I review previous research that has been done on authentic reading material in the classroom, or authentic material in ESL/EFL textbooks. Finally, I have conducted interviews of four secondary school teachers. I interviewed two experienced (10 years or more teaching) and two newer (5 years or less teaching) teachers and examined the reading materials they use in their classrooms. As with other researchers, there is ambiguity, even among the four teachers, as to what constitutes authentic materials. The range varies from anything new, to any of the classics. A common agreement among the teachers is that authentic materials are important to the classroom and help improve the language skills of the students. The participants also all agreed that the authentic materials improved the language skills of their students as well as motivated them to learn.