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Authenticity 2.0

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freda mishan

on 1 May 2018

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Transcript of Authenticity 2.0

'Authenticity 2.0'
Reconceptualising ‘authenticity’ for the digital era

Context: Language learning materials

Authenticity has come of age in the digital era

Task &

Task Authenticity

The 'Social Web' Interactivity!
= A natural environment for Task

~ Authentic ?
~ Why / why not ?

Authenticity never an absolute concept

Today our lives embroiled with the media (traditional  new (social media).

‘the gap between the genuine and the convincing representation’ is ‘elided in discourse [because] so much of our knowledge and interaction with our social surroundings is mediated by television or by the virtual reality of computer- based communication’ (Seargeant 2005, 330).

The term ‘authentic’ in today’s parlance most often means ‘the appearance of genuineness’
Freda Mishan

CALS Research
Day 2017

‘Authenticity is a term which creates confusion because of a basic ambiguity’
Widdowson 1983, 30

We should retain the term ‘authenticity’ to refer to activity (i.e. process) and use the term ‘genuine’ to refer to attested instances of language (i.e. product).
Widdowson 1983: 30
This distinction stood the test of time!

But parameters of each expanded within online media & affordances of Web 2.0 =
‘Authenticity 2.0’

- reflects the new affordances & expanded parameters born of Web 2.0

‘An authentic text is a stretch of real language, produced by a real speaker or writer for a real audience and designed to convey a real message’
Morrow 1977, 13

Prescient! All four criteria can still be applied 40 years on, to online materials produced by and for members of the global online community

'An authentic text is by definition a unique thing. It represents one speaker/writer’s communication to one particular audience at a given moment… by using it in a classroom for teaching purposes, we are destroying this authenticity'
Morrow 1977, 14

'A text can only be truly authentic… in the context for which it was originally written'
Hutchinson and Waters, 1987, 15

'Reality... does not travel with the text' Widdowson 1998, 711-12
'The concept of “authentic” in language teaching terms [is] unattainable… We cannot recreate absolute authenticity in the texts we use'
Morrow 1977, 14-15
Authenticity is tarnished by transposition
We should retain the term ‘authenticity’ to refer to
(i.e. process)
Widdowson 1983, 30

‘Authenticity is not brought into the classroom with the materials or lesson plan, rather it is a goal that teacher and students have to work towards consciously and constantly … authenticity is the result of acts of authentication by students and their teachers, of the learning process and the language used in it’
Van Lier 1996, 128

Authenticity dependent on the authority of the native speaker??
'Authenticity … can… be used to refer to actually attested language produced by native speakers’
Widdowson 1983, 30
‘A genuine record of native speaker behaviour’
Widdowson 1990, 45
Definition of authenticity in terms of addresser/addressee ('L1 writer/ L1 audience') over-restrictive
nature of authenticity
Communicative aspect (Morrow's 'real message')
A factor of audience perception - 'authentication'
Ignores contemporary reality of use of English (EIL/ELF) (in online and offline environments)
So...process of ‘authentication’ relies on TASK not text
This conceptualization a perfect fit with some of the factors we know to be most essential to language acquisition:
'Authentication is … a personal process of
Van Lier 1996, 128
- A symbiosis between
degree of engagement
(= this
‘Authenticity relates to processes of …
intrinsic motivation

Van Lier 1996, 125
Authenticity is ‘a characteristic of the relationship between the passage and the reader and it has to do with appropriate

Widdowson 1979, 80
is the common parlance of the 'digital native'*
Response is an authenticating act for digital natives
Reaction, Participation, Sharing, Networking take prominence on Social Media

This is what our digital native learners perceive as authentic
This is the environment in which they use - and learn - language
~ Design
into tasks

~ Exploit digital realisations of notion of Response:
Comments, Likes, Shares
YouTube/Facebook Likes and comments are digital realisations of notion of response
Authentification requires task that is
[to input text/communicative situation]

= Task Appropriacy
task retains / reflects

original communicative purpose

of the [input text] [situation]

an authenticating act for net natives
Process of ‘authentication’ relies on the TASK not the text

'Task Authenticity'
Reflect the original communicative purpose of the text on which they are based
Be appropriate to the text on which they are based
Elicit response to/engagement with the text on which they are based
Approximate real-life tasks
Activate learners’ existing knowledge of the target language and culture
Involve purposeful communication between learners

Mishan 2005, 75

In order for tasks to be authentic, they should be designed to
(Kramsch et al 2000)
Be enacted within a familiar medium/environment
Reinvigorated version of original concept of Task Authenticity = ‘Authenticity 2.0’

Shorthand for Authenticity for the Digital Age

Embraces previous elements of Task Authenticity + extends beyond them

Parameters for tasks which
~ exploit and stimulate the dynamic nature of authenticity
~ are perceived as authentic - and thus authenticated by -
digital native learners
'Digital Natives' ?
Producers, Creators, Connectors, Sharers (vs passive receivers)
Groupies: Shared communities, Shared spaces (e.g. Facebook, Google Hangouts)

From 'Tell' to 'Show'
(image, sound, animation)
Visually-driven (vs text-driven): photos, videos
Epitomised by the Selfie
Use of Snapchat, Instagram, Vines etc
~Primacy of
- highest order thinking skill (Bloom's Taxomony)
Social Constructivism
- learning as active construction of knowledge through interaction with others in social environments

Collective knowledge building
'Poster child' for collaborative construction of knowledge, Wikipedia
'Web 2.0 is fuelled by collective intelligence' (Kárpáti 2009, 144)
Social Network users worldwide 2010 to 2019 (in billions)
2016 2.2b
'tech savvy?'
'tech comfy'?
Much of what we see, hear and read in traditional and digital environment boils down to visual ‘sound bites’ ...
Photos, Vines, Memes, Instagram, Snapchat pics

Hutchinson, T. and A. Waters, 1987. English for Specific Purposes: A learning-centred approach. CUP
Kárpáti, A. 2009. Web technologies for Net Native language learners: a ‘social CALL’, ReCALL, 21, 2, 139-156.
Kramsch, C, F. A'Ness and W. Lam, 2000. Authenticity and authorship in the computer-mediated acquisition of L2 literacy. Language Learning and Technology, 4. 2, 78–104.
Mishan, F. 2005 Designing Authenticity into Language Learning Materials, Intellect books.
Morrow, K., 1977. ‘Authentic texts in ESP’, in: S. Holden, ed. English for Specific Purposes. Modern English Publications, 13–15.
Pinner, R. (2016) Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language. Multilingual Matters
Pegrum, M. (2014). Mobile Learning: languages, literacies and cultures. Palgrave Macmillan.
Prensky, M. (2001a, September/October). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.
Seargeant, P. 2005. ‘More English than England itself’: the simulation of authenticity in foreign language practice in Japan, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 15, 3, 326-346.
Van Lier, L., 1996. Interaction in the Language Curriculum: Awareness, Autonomy and Authenticity. Longman.
Widdowson, H. G., ed., 1979. Explorations in Applied Linguistics. OUP. 
_________ 1983. Learning Purpose and Language Use
_________1990. Aspects Of Language Teaching. OUP.
_________1996. Comment: Authenticity and autonomy in ELT. ELT Journal, 50, 1, 67-68.
_________ 1998. Context, community and authentic language. TESOL Quarterly, 32, 4, 705–16.

'text' / 'communicative
Pinner (2016) Reconceptualising Authenticity for English as a Global Language
solicit response
1980s onwards - the authenticity debate!
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