Thursday, May 17, 2007

ESL Realia

Before taking my TESOL certification course, I’d never heard the term “realia.” In fact, Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize the word.

So what is realia? And how do you use it to teach ESL.

“Realia” simply means authentic materials. For example, for a lesson teaching ESL learners how to read classified ads to find an apartment, an actual newspaper classified section would be realia. In a lesson teaching students to read maps, an actual map would be realia.

Using realia is a very effective way to teach students English as a Second language or English as a Foreign Language, and many other subjects as well. Many learners are kinesthetic, or “hands on” learners, so using a piece of realia to teach the student by doing the task will be more effective. For example, a lesson teaching students to use a phonebook to look up shoe stores will be a lot more effective by using actual phonebooks, rather than just photocopies of the pages in a phonebook.


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