Lesson 2: Proficiency and Cultural Literacy

Types of "Texts"

A "text" isn't limited to something written down. A text can be a film, an artifact, anything in a language and culture that conveys meaning. Think about the texts that you use in your language classroom: What's in the textbook? What do you give you students to read in class? At home? Think about the origin and content of these various bits of writing that you use every day in class. How would you describe the language used in most of these texts in terms of their usefulness to our students?


Texts as authentic and not.

Duration: 01:38

For our purposes, texts can be categorized into the following groups:

  • Created texts: Texts authored by non-native speakers for non-native speakers to achieve pre-determined curricular goals.
  • Semi-authentic texts: Texts created by native and/or non-native speaker, based on original language materials, but adapted to fit curricular needs.
  • Authentic texts: Texts created by native speakers for native speakers for consumption in a native environment.

Created texts have long dominated the materials used in language classrooms. But increasingly, educators are coming to understand the need to bring more authentic texts into the learning environment.

Choose a text that you recently used in one of your own classes. First determine whether it's an authentic, semi-authentic, or created text. Then, ask a native speaker to read it and comment on how typical the text would be to someone living in country.