A Master of Arts Thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Amal Khalil Thabit Entitled, "UAE High School Students' Attitudes Towards Using Authentic Materials," August 2006. Thesis Advisor is Dr. Cindy Gunn. Available are both Soft and Hard Copies of the Thesis.
This study is an attempt to investigate the impact of using authentic materials on some of my high school students, especially those who have poor attitudes towards learning the English language. In fact, lack of motivation, and the unwillingness to learn English among them has always been one of my major interests and concerns in the same time. Many of the students attribute their poor attitudes to their textbooks which they describe as being boring and insufficient. Hence, this study attempts to identify the weaknesses in the prescribed textbooks from my students' points of view and to determine the students' attitudes towards incorporating authentic materials in their ESL classes. To achieve these goals, I asked my students first to respond to a survey of some closed and open-ended questions that aimed at identifying their evaluation of their textbooks. Next, I asked them to rate their interest in the suggested authentic materials. Then, I asked them to complete a weekly review sheet in which they rated their interest and learning level in each of the offered activities. After that, the students completed an overall evaluation sheet of all the introduced materials. Finally, I asked them to respond to a survey that aimed at identifying their attitudes towards using authentic materials in English classroom. In order to investigate the impact of activities using authentic materials on my students' language skills more closely and to enhance my understanding of some of the issues they had raised earlier in their responses to the surveys, I interviewed 15 students. The findings revealed that the students had enjoyed the authentic materials presented and had learned from them. The findings also showed that they had positive attitudes towards using them.