Teach English in Anlan Zhen - Chongqing

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Teaching SlangSlang and idioms are a crucial part of the modern English language. Most native speakers aren?t even aware of the amount of slang they use in their daily life. It is important to acknowledge the difference between idioms and slang, their importance in and outside of the classroom and different techniques in teaching them to students. It will be beneficial to define the difference between slang and idioms. ?Slang is Nonstandard vocabulary of a given culture or subculture. In other words, slang is typically a nonstandard word, not a phrase as is an idiom.? (1) While an idiom is ?A phrase that is commonly understood in a given culture or subculture to have a meaning different from its literal meaning.? (1) So slang words are usually made up or nonsensical. Going bonkers and playing hooky are examples of slang. While phrases like having a cow and killing time are idioms, as they are phrases that mean something else when taken literally. In essence both slang and idioms preform the same function in the English language, and students will be at a loss without knowledge of common slang and idioms. The importance of slang and idioms are clear in everyday language. While some teachers may shy away from using and teaching slang, as it is seen as a product of vulgarity and the lower classes. (1) In reality, students will encounter slang and idioms at all levels of language. Outside of the classroom, idioms are especially important to understand how people actually communicate. Without knowing the meaning of hanging out, most students would be confused if they were asked if they wanted to hang out. These common idioms and slang are important to the English language and most native speakers use them without even recognizing that they are not standard English. But, to able to teach these slang and idiomatic phrases, esl teachers must take a close look at how native speakers use these language elements. Teaching idioms and slang to an ESL classroom can be a difficult task, but with the right preparation and planning, the students will be much better prepared to enter the real world of English speakers When teaching idioms and slang it is important to ?start with a natural dialogue that contains no more than twelve slang words and idioms? (1). Too many slang words will confuse students and not allow them to distill the meaning themselves. It is also very important to focus on the level of formality of the idiom, as well as the context in which it is used (2). Some slang is not appropriate at all for business transactions. For example: In a business meeting it would be in appropriate to exclaim ?You?ve got to be kidding!?, but among friends it would seem natural. Context clues are other words or phrases in a text that help you recognize that a group of words may be an idiom and help you guess its meaning. (2) There might be example clue that give details of what the idiom is describing. There may be comparison or contrasts clues. There may be experience or situation clues. (2) These clues and activities can be taught in the classroom in all phases of the lesson. Starting with easily understood and common slang in the engage phase and then moving to a slang worksheet in the study phase. The activate stage is where slang and idioms tend to be the most enjoyable and fun for the students. A simple game involving slang and their meanings split up in a concentration style game is suggested in David Burke?s Without Slang and Idioms, students are in the Dark!!. Another great resource of worksheets and sample lessons is Cindy Leaney?s In the Know: Understanding and Using Idioms, Vol. 1. With all of these resources it is the responsibility of the esl teacher to teach slang and idioms effectively. It is clear that teaching slang and idioms is an essential part of any ESL classroom. Defining the difference and importance of slangs and idioms is important. Just as important is taking a wide survey of different techniques of teaching slang in the classroom. Above all, an esl teacher needs to have all of these things in their toolkit to be an effective esl teacher. Without them they will surely be in over their head.