In my 12 years of teaching secondary Spanish, I always found it challenging to find authentic yet comprehensible audio resources for my novice learners. I didn’t want my students’ only source of input to be me, but I struggled to find resources that I thought my novice students would understand. Then, one of my colleagues gave me a life-changing piece of advice: “Change the task, not the input.” She explained that students of various proficiency levels can interact with the same source of input, but at different levels. Mind. Blown!
With this new mindset, I found it much easier to incorporate authentic materials into my classroom, including articles and audios meant for native Spanish speakers by native Spanish speakers, as long as I kept the tasks appropriate for the proficiency level of my students. Let’s say I have an audio or an article that I want to use with both novices and intermediates. When creating activities, I would provide my novice students with multiple-choice and true/false questions, whereas I would have my intermediate students answer open-ended questions. Both groups are able to meaningfully interact with the source in a level-appropriate way!
If you’re interested in using authentic resources in your novice-level class, see this free resource about the weather. Students listen to two native Spanish speakers talk about the weather where they are and students answer true/false questions to show what they have understood.