Authentic Materials

Return to link page

I’m trying to collect a list of sites that can be used, either in lessons with ESOL learners to get them used to finding information/services on line, or to give a flavour of the UK to EFL students (wherever they are studying). I’ve blogged about using authentic materials here: Using Authentic Materials from the Web.  Please add comments for any others that you know of/use (and resources that exploit them) – I’ll keep updating this as I find/remember more sites.



National Express

National Rail Enquiries

These are good resources for getting students to plan routes and get travel information – I’ve blogged about how I got students to use the TFL website here: Moodle Forums for ESOL students. If you can set up a speaking exercise from these sites, you’ll get much more language use from them.

If you want to get students to develop their timetable reading skills, then this (rather weird) website is useful, as it does let you download PDF files of some London Bus Timetables: London Bus Timetable Graveyard. It’s also worth looking on the pages of local train companies, as they often let you download PDFs of their timetables, which are easy to print and use in class i.e. c2c or National Express East Anglia.

DirectionsRoad(s) to faith

Google maps – Maybe obvious, but it’s the best I’ve found (and you can embed maps into Moodle). Get students to give each other directions from the class, or use as a stimulus for descrbing their neighbourhood. (Students will try to find their house – try to get an activity out of it!)

Places to visit

Both these sites are great for getting learners to find what’s around the UK – I’ve used them with classes at a number of different levels.  Visit London is especially good for lower levels due to the formulaic layout.

Housing:Olympic Stadium

Search Right Move to get an idea of typical flats and houses in the UK, and the kind of language used to describe them (of course you could go crazy and sort by highest prices – found a lovely flat on the market for £30m and another for rent at £25k per week….)


NHS Choices

This website is a mine of information, lower level learners can find out about their local health services and read for information such as phone numbers, address etc. Higher level learners can find health advice, read up in detail about different problems. It also has a lot of video content, which can be used in a number of different ways.



I use this website to get students to find information about places in their local neighbourhood. It is good for getting lower level learners to identify practical information such as addresses and phone numbers. Can be used with this: Talent: Finding local information on the Internet




These sites contain lists of courses – I often ask students to find one that they are interested in, to extract the details and to say why they are interested in a particular course.


The city

Guardian jobs


These can be used for finding out about different types of jobs or for extracting vocabulary in context. They can also be stimuli for student writing about jobs they want to find, or their own skills and abilities.




These are the best supermarket sites that I’ve found for the UK, as they don’t require learners to register to find product and price listings. They could also be used as thematically arranged picture dictionaries!


As Argos sells almost anything, there are loads of potential uses for this website.

Food (recipes)Yum

BBC food

This website has an enormous selection of recipes and a neat search page. It can be used for looking at food vocabulary, and following instructions. I have made a simple worksheet here: Recipes worksheet[1].


Waiting for Gordon
BBC Podcasts

This was recommended to me by Mike Harrison – I’ve been meaning to use podcasts with my students for ages… and this has a good combination of a simple interface, and a wide range of subjects. This is definitely on my list of ‘projects….’. The wide variety of different podcasts available mean that students should be able to find something that they can engage with and use outside the classroom, aiding the development of learner autonomy.


Ok, there are loads of video sites out there… and you probably know the good ones. I’m going to try and put some authentic clips that fit with particular topics here.

  1. ‘Cultural Rules’ – This clip comes from The Guardian’s website and relates to this article: Visit Britain has produced a guide so that British people avoid offending people during the olympics. You could use the clip as a nice introduction to a lesson on differing cultural rules and discuss any that may be relevant to your learners’ cultures.
  2. Want to make foreign friends in the run up to the 2012 Olympic games in London? Adam Gabbatt puts some of VisitBritain’s tips to the test

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

Crowdsourced suggestions

From @europeaantje


Time Out

TNT Magazine

From @esolcourses


Portland Holidays


5 thoughts on “Authentic Materials

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s