HomeLEAPS: Miriam College Faculty Research Journalvol. 31 no. 1 (2009)

Learning English through Social Justice: An Authentic Experience

Sofia Soledad D.G. De Guzman

Discipline: Education, Languages



Authentic language learning is one of the many approaches which aim to improve the communicative competence of students. It likewise aims to have a positive impact on student motivation. The English program offered by the Miriam College High School applies such approach in developing the communication skills of its students. Specifically, their English teachers use authentic learning materials and authentic assessments in class. They believe these are the keys to the improvement of the communicative competence of their students. They also believe that such an approach will mold students’ understanding of current social, economic, environmental and political realities of the country. They claim that developing communication skills, like, expressing concerns, sharing ideas, clarifying current practices or policies, and advocating for their rights, will allow students to develop social awareness, accept social responsibility, initiate social change and advocate for social justice. In this manner, the learning of the English language becomes more meaningful, effective, and real or authentic for the students.


This study used a survey to measure students’ perceptions of the use and effects of authentic learning and authentic assessments on their communicative competence and motivation. Results reveal that students believe that these have improved their communicative competence. On the other hand, students perceive that authentic materials and assessment do not have an impact on their motivation to improve their study habits and actively participate in learning tasks.