Author Archives

savageward

Teaching Pragmatics Through Theatre

When people have a conversation, they do not just exchange information. Rather, they negotiate a relationship, and the social skills involved are called pragmatics. To be good at pragmatics is to be good at the art of sending and receiving implicit messages and intentions. This can be done […]

Hidden Grammars @ TESOL ’19

Click here for presentation handout: Hidden Grammar Handout TESOL 19 There’s more to grammar than discrete rules about verb tenses, articles, and modals.  When we channel Diane Larsen’s Freeman’s view of language as a complex, adaptive system, we can start to see grammar as any system of organization, […]

Pronunciation with an Attitude

“Language is about managing relationships,” said Stephen Pinker in a 2007 TED talk entitled What our Language Habits Reveal, and in his presentation, Pinker points out that to socialize, you have to satisfy two conditions, “You have to convey the actual content,” and “You want to express the […]

Learning Word Forms through Phrases

Word forms are notoriously difficult for ESOL students to master.  This is especially true for those whose native languages are non-inflected, meaning adjectives, nouns, and adjectives share the same form, as in Vietnamese.  It is therefore not uncommon to see our Vietnamese students make errors such as these: […]

Assessment and Feedback for Conversation Classes

  In both theatre and English language classrooms, participants investigate language, work to achieve interpersonal goals and improve through rehearsal or practice. Consequently, it may be helpful for teachers to take a page from the director’s playbook when it comes to supporting students’ efforts to ‘perform’ successfully. One […]