Teaching slangs and idiomsTeaching slangs and idioms are very important to students who are interested in using (and blending) in an english
culture. They are also fun for students who watch english
movies and television. In many ways teachers can’t avoid idioms and slangs- there is songs, television, and popular culture.
An idiom is a phrase used that can’t be translated literally. An example of an idiom is “get out of here!” This doesn’t mean leave, but…”really! You must be joking!” Another example is the commonly used “break a leg!” To someone taking literally meaning this phrase would have quite the opposite effect. This phrase instead of meaning “I hope you break your leg” means “good luck.” Slang is the street english
and often can just be spoken within a group. An example would words like “gotta” or “bootylicious.” These words meaning are easier to decipher. There are also regional slangs- in Maine
(USA) we often say “wicked cool.” Slang is used in informal situations with friends, whereas idioms (depending on the idiom) can be used both informally and formally. It’s also important to note that slang doesn’t just refer to obscenities; there are plenty of slang words appropriate for the class.
Some teachers are reluctant to teach slang as it is not the tested word choice. However, it is important that students can speak in the “real world.” I remember a chinese
student feeling left out of conversations, when we all spoke in slang and idioms- many of which had to be translated to the more proper phrasing. It’s important that idioms and slangs match the level of students and their age. Slangs and idioms should be introduced in upper-intermediate and advanced class in oral english
. They also can be used as fun tid-bits on a lower level or perhaps essential when teaching business english
. A teacher may also take notice to the atmosphere of the school in which they are teaching in.
Slangs and idioms can be taught in many of the same ways; however, they should always be talked about within a context. Activities for teaching slang and idioms include dissecting songs and television episodes. Students can learn by listening to the song and looking at the words on paper. Students can then translate the text or do worksheets that are related to those idioms or slangs in the song or television show. Another activity would be to give a group a few idioms and slang words to use in a dialogue. They then have to act it out in front of class; this gives other groups a chance to learn more words that they didn’t have.
There are also plenty of great worksheets that can’t be used with this dialogue. Students can match idioms and slangs to their meaning, translate slangs and idioms; try to figure out meaning based on context, and fill in the blank.
In Conclusion, teachers should not be scared off by teaching slangs or idioms. By learning these students will be well prepared to take on a new adventure, make new friends, or speak up at a business meeting.