Pragmatics as a roadmap for English learners

What is pragmatics? Like the highways, roads, and trails that guide our travel, language-oriented patterns  scaffold our conversations. The existence of patterns does not mean there is not variation. Every time we get on a freeway literally or figuratively, it’s a new experience because we bring a different mood […]

Grammar Across the Sentence

As language teachers, we often have our students write sentences to practice the grammar they are learning.  This is a sound approach, as it can help students to both internalize the structure and use it to express their own ideas. Unfortunately, while their sentences are often complete, the […]

Save the grammar, swap the vocabulary

Students rely on models to help them communicate accurately and effectively.   How often do you see a student’s thesis statement modeled after one in the textbook?   Words are swapped out, but the pattern of the sentence essentially remains the same. Swapping is a useful learning strategy, and one […]

The double-edged sword of Test & Punish

Making tests that push our students enough but not too far can feel like one of the biggest challenges for teachers.  Tests that are too easy may lead to a false assessment of proficiency. Those that are too hard can be discouraging to students, and challenging for teachers to grade. What we want […]