Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Authenticity in the Language Classroom: A Case Study
Professor Hélène Jaccomard, Sabine Kuuse

Task-based learning and the communicative approach prevalent in teaching languages in higher education reach their apex when incorporating authentic activities, material, and experiences in their teaching repertoire. Yet authenticity in the classroom is hard to design, and often simply reduced to the use of so-called authentic material, without engaging students as a whole person with their own feelings, interests, and cultures. In 2015 in French Studies at the University of Western Australia together with Lille III University, France, we implemented Teletandem, a series of language tasks where learners are paired. Based on the participants’ blogs and reflective reports, Teletandem appears to be relatively authentic and sit halfway between absolute authenticity and in authenticity. This paper will show that relative authenticity improves students’ communicative and cultural competence, as well as their intrinsic motivation. Students feel empowered as long as they don’ have to stray too far from their linguistic and cultural comfort zone.

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