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This unit discusses course materials, which fall into two general categories, authentic and created materials. Authentic materials are created and read/listened to by native English speakers. For example, newspaper articles, menus, radio programs, and novels are authentic materials. They were not created for language learners. This material, when chosen appropriately, can be really interesting to students and build their confidence in using the language with native speakers. However, the material is obviously not graded to a language level, and the teacher must take great care in choosing materials that are appropriate for the students' language level.
Created materials are usually items created by the teacher to supplement a course book. These can be crossword puzzles, word searches, gap fill exercises, role play scenarios, or flashcards.
Using a course book has pros and cons. It provides structure in a syllabus that builds upon skills that are appropriate for a given language level. However, sometimes teachers rely too much on the book, rather than infusing creative activities and lessons that are more interesting for the students or that better suit their needs.