Combined TESOL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

J.K. - U.S.A. said:
Teaching Slang and IdiomsWhy teach slang? Furthermore, why teach idioms? While the latter is more acceptable in an educational setting, both are still rarely mentioned in the english teaching curriculum. Perhaps teachers avoid slang because it is “informal,” and they think that it is therefore unnecessary to introduce in a classroom setting. However, the problem with that mentality stems from the fact that all languages, not just english, are informal to a degree, oftentimes spiced with their own brand of colloquialism. As english speakers, we do not carefully formulate and craft every single one of our sentences the majority of the time; if we did, we would sacrifice a great deal of time in order to achieve perfection. To further elaborate, what good is achieving perfection all the time? If each sentence one speaks is constructed perfectly and formally, the language itself will become staid and boring over time. Therefore, slang and idioms are oftentimes used in order to accentuate, stylize, or color the meaning of a sentence. In a sense, they are what make a particular language (or dialect, for that matter) unique and interesting. There is a considerable drawback for students who are not taught slang and idioms. Its use is highly prevalent in various media, whether it is in television, books, or conversations. Let us think of a hypothetical situation. An ESL student has just completed his final examination at an advanced level. However, everything he has learned has been extremely formal. He is able to tell you all the different conditionals without hesitation, identify all the grammatical errors in a sentence in a second. His vocabulary base is quite established too, having memorized a multitude of definitions from the dictionary. Now imagine this student placed in an english-speaking environment, such as the united states. He turns on the television and is wondering why the one character on the show are saying an object is “so cool” and the other, seemingly agreeing with this sentiment, describing the object as “sick.” Confused, he turns off the television and picks up the novel he just bought, the latest bestseller on the New York Times. He reads and soon become confused. What is this “frenemy” the author is talking about? Why is the character berating the other, calling him a “newbie”? This scenario can be expanded to idioms as well. “Why would the character want to “hit the road?” he may ask, “Is he angry at the pavement?” As much as our model student performed academically in the hypothetical situation above, it is easy to see how the absence of exposure to slang, colloquialism, and idioms has severely limited his ability to comprehend authentic materials. Of course, assuming he is the model student that he is, it is very likely he will be able to deduce the meaning of the terms upon repeated exposure, but this literal and formal mindset that has been taught and emphasized in academia is certainly a hindrance. A teacher should establish within the classroom that even though formality is important as a base to learning the language, the language itself is extremely flexible and ever-changing. Therefore, a standard language teaching curriculum must allow a certain amount of informality and flexibility into its current formal and structured style. If this does not happen, the students will be deprived of developing an invaluable mentality in approaching the language, one where they are given the picture of the puzzle they have to put together, instead of being asked to figure it out using only the puzzle pieces.