In search of fluencyPosted by Sharon Creese on January 19, 2011
English is full of set phrases and idioms, and the more of these a student knows and can confidently use, the more fluent he or she will sound. As the meaning of an idiom often cannot be correctly guessed just from the words themselves, however, idioms need to be learnt as a whole.
To help in this process, here’s an e-lesson that you can use in class to encourage students to explore and practise using idioms. You’ll need up to 25 minutes to do the whole lesson, though it’s broken down into handy chunks for you, if you don’t have that much time available.
To see the other e-lessons in the series, check out these blog posts:Email this Post
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Though idioms, as a group, certainly help us fill up a lot of space, thus leading to fluency, there are very few idioms that are actually worth addressing in a lesson. I know they are much beloved by teachers, but we should rethink this. More here: http://english-jack.blogspot.com/2007/07/idioms.html
I am going to use the lesson today and have a question.Which idin-book would you recommend to use with the studetns at the university.I use something to crow about but not satisfied.
When I was at the Teacher’s Training College my teachers used to teach us very long lists of these kind of phrases. We had to lean them by heart (very boring, btw), Later I travelled to the USA so I wanted to put into practise all those beautiful phrases that I had learnt, since I wanted to sound more “native like”, But I happend to have the just the opposite effect: most of the people looked at me in an awkward way and they didn’t undestad what I said. (and I felt pretty embarrassed as well; lol)
However idoms, are part of everyday speech and you’ll find lots of those on TV, films and books, therefore knowking them allow us to improve our profienciency in the Target Language. The best thing to do according to my experience is to learn them in context, as meanignful as possible, for instance, after a reading or film (where you’ll find plenty of those).
Interesting side-effect of studying idioms!
Sure, idioms, as a group, are part of everyday speech, but it’s almost impossible to anticipate which individual idioms are going to come up. Knowing them will improve students’ proficiency, but there’s usually lots and lots of other more important vocabulary that will be much more useful.