Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- The methods of using authentic materials in the process of teaching foreign language intercultural communication

Научно-методический и теоретический журнал
Социосфера. - 2022. - № 2

The methods of using authentic materials in the process of teaching foreign language intercultural communication

S. E. Kegeyan, Candidate of Philological Sciences, assistant professor,

Sochi State University,

Sochi, Krasnodar region, Russia


Dynamic changes in the system of social relations, the transition from an industrial to an information society, in which intellectual dialogue and communication occupy an increasingly important place, required a search for new concepts for the development of the education system in Russia. The culture-forming function of education has sharply increased. This fully applies to modern language education, which is reoriented from teaching foreign languages to teaching foreign languages and cultures and is aimed at preparing students for real intercultural communication.

In modern research, intercultural communication is understood as “a functionally determined communicative interaction of people who act as carriers of different cultural communities due to their awareness or other people of their belonging to different geopolitical, continental and ethnic communities, as well as social subcultures” [2, p. 19].

As for foreign language intercultural communication, the language that is non-native for all or some part of the participants in intercultural interaction acts as a means of communication.

The pattern of intercultural communication and its integral part is that in the process of communication between representatives of different cultures, the national culture enters into a dialogue with other national cultures, while highlighting such things that the native culture did not stop at. MM. Bakhtin wrote about this: “We pose new questions to a foreign culture, which it did not pose to itself, we look for answers to these questions of ours in it, and a foreign culture answers us, revealing its sides to us, new semantic depths” [1, p. 335].

As we can see, familiarization with the studied cultures is carried out through dialogue, i.e. through the inclusion of the individual in the cultural experience in time and space. During this dialogue, its participants realize the originality and commonality of different cultures, cultural diversity as a source of personal and social development, the formation of a personality in a multicultural space.

It is worth mentioning the special role of the student's native language, which, in parallel with a foreign language, acts at all stages of teaching foreign language intercultural communication as a means of forming a linguistic picture of the world, which "reflects reality by means of language, but not directly, but through the cultural picture of the world ("language as mirror of culture”)” [3, p. 23]. At the same time, language is the key to discovering the uniqueness and originality of one's own national identity and the historical achievements of representatives of other cultures.

In the conditions of an artificially created language environment, teaching a foreign language to students of a non-linguistic university involves modeling communicative speech situations of intercultural communication in the classroom, which can only conditionally be equated with real ones. In the absence of a real carrier of a foreign language culture, the role of a teacher as a conductor between two cultures, able to form the necessary skills and abilities of intercultural communication in students and ensure their interconnected communicative, cognitive and sociocultural development, increases significantly.

One of the leading requirements for the content of teaching foreign language intercultural communication is authenticity. This requirement implies the active inclusion in the learning process of genuine, original materials that introduce students to the country of the language being studied, the history and culture of its people, and the realities of modern life.

Authentic materials are believed to be the best types of materials for developing intercultural communicative competences of foreign language learners. Authentic materials bridge the gap between the classroom and the outside world and they bring reality to the classroom. Authentic materials are those which were not created or edited for language learners, consequently most everyday objects in the target language qualify as authentic materials. Exposure to the authentic materials allows language learners to make contact with the real-life language, customs and way of life of the target culture. Using authentic materials in teaching culture is a great motivational factor and it helps learners to recognize that there is a community of users who live their lives in this other language. Authentic materials include audio, visual and printed materials.

Benefits of authentic materials in developing intercultural communicative competences are immense. They remind learners that there is a real world community that functions exclusively through the use of the target language. Authentic materials help learners to use language in “real life like” situations. Learners are exposed to the real use of language and they are immersed into the real world of the target culture while they are in the classroom. Authentic materials, especially texts, videos, songs need to be actual, as they are culturally sensitive and can become quickly out of date.

There is a great choice of authentic materials, which could be used in teaching culture in foreign language lessons, but teachers need to pay a lot of attention in choosing appropriate materials. Teachers should set up criteria for selecting materials, which would suit the specific groups of learners. The materials should fulfill the requirements of the curriculum topics, interest of learners, usefulness, language level, age and background knowledge of learners. The authentic materials need to be culturally appropriate, but at the same time comprehensible for learners of English as a foreign language. It needs to be kept in mind, that authentic materials are based on native speakers’ culture, which might appear alien or inappropriate to language learners.

At present, the possibilities of using foreign educational and methodological audiovisual complexes, various information from the Internet, publications from foreign newspapers and magazines, as well as real objects and materials reflecting various spheres of life of society in the country of the language being studied, have increased indefinitely in foreign language classes. Such materials include sample forms, questionnaires, advertising brochures, tourist guides and guidebooks, city maps, various programs, tickets, etc. Authentic materials make it possible to bring students as close as possible to the natural cultural environment, to make them active participants in the communication process.

Our study showed that when selecting authentic teaching aids, it is necessary to take into account the cultural value of materials, their typicality and well-knownness, modernity, thematic character and functionality, a clear differentiation with the native culture of students, the professional orientation of teaching a foreign language at a university.

There are three main functions of authentic means in the learning process: 1) educational, when they are used to expand the general outlook of students, to acquire new regional and linguistic knowledge; 2) communicative, if authentic means serve as the basis for organizing verbal communication in various spheres and situations of life; 3) developing, in which country-specific information is used to develop the intellectual skills of students, their creative activity, the formation of a sustainable cognitive interest and motivation to learn a foreign language.

The educational function of authentic means is manifested in the classroom, when students, under the guidance of a teacher or on their own, get acquainted with new information for them in the course of reading a text, listening to a sound recording, watching videos, working with an Internet site, familiarizing themselves with materials related to professional, business, social cultural and everyday spheres of communication.

The communicative function of authentic means can be realized in the process of teaching foreign language communication. In order for such communication to become possible, a lot of preparatory work is needed to develop the skills and abilities of students to conduct a dialogue, conversation, discussion within the framework of the topic and situation of communication. This is facilitated by a set of communicative tasks that form the appropriate skills and abilities.

Authentic means realize their developmental function when they become a source of cognitive activity of students, if problem situations are created in the lesson that require students to independently solve mental problems.

Situations of professional foreign language communication, modeled in teaching all types of speech activity, are of particular importance in the university. These, first of all, include situations that arise while working with literature in the specialty. For example, situations of getting acquainted with the latest literature, selecting material for term paper, writing an essay, etc. This can also be a situation of business communication with foreign colleagues. For example, holding discussions, press conferences, round tables on professional topics.

A mandatory component of such situations is a problematic task that the student needs to solve on their own. At the initial stage of training, the problem task can be indicated in the situation or formulated by the teacher. At an advanced stage, the student, having familiarized himself with the content of the situation, formulates the problem himself, looks for ways to solve it and prove its correctness. This is facilitated by authentic materials in combination with traditional teaching aids (textbook, dictionaries, reference books), as well as, if necessary, the teacher's help in the form of brief information / instructions for working on solving the problem.

Thus, authentic means in combination with active techniques and methods of working on them give the process of teaching students foreign language intercultural communication a creative character, making it truly developing.


1. Bakhtin M. M. Aesthetics of verbal creativity. – M., 1979.

2. Safonova V. V. Cultural studies in the system of modern language education // Foreign languages at school. – 2001. – No 3. – S. 17–24.

3. Ter-Minasova S. G. War and peace of languages and cultures: (Textbook). – M. : Slovo, 2008.

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