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1 2 Abstract The research described in this paper reports on a nine-month quantitative and qualitative classroom-based study, carried out at “Roman Voda” High School, investigating the potential of textbooks to develop students’ conversational language. It was hypothesized that a richer input provided by authentic materials, combined with appropriate awareness-raising activities would be better able to develop a range of communicative competences in learners (linguistic, socio-pragmatic, pragma-linguistic, strategic and discourse competences). Two nineform classes, of the intermediate level of English, were assigned to either a control or experimental class. The control class received input from the textbook (Inside Out)1, while the experimental class, apart from the textbook, also received materials such as: films, documents, web sources, videos and scripts with native speakers, songs, newspaper articles and short-story books. All these materials were chosen to allow students to observe certain characteristics of the discourse that could help them develop their conversational competence in English. In order to examine the differences between the experimental class and the control class before the onset of the experiment, pre/post-course tests were done. These tests were designed to evaluate different aspects of students’ competence and language skills. Each student was assessed according to the following eight items: 1. Pronunciation; 2. Listening; 3. Grammar; 4. Vocabulary; 5. Speaking test; 6. Oral interview; 7. Student-student role play; 8. Questionnaire. The results of these assessments were compared with the results from students’ notebooks, diaries and interviews with both classes. The pre/post tests indicated significant differences between the two classes. The experimental class out-performed the control class in five out

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