As in all languages, slang and idioms, also known as a social dialect, are an important part of the english
language. It is especially important in the language used by the common people of a region or the people of a demographic. The use of a social dialect is a means of communicating in a succinct way and in a way that will carry great meaning. The question that tefl teacher
s face regarding social dialects is whether to teach or not. What are the reasons for and against? How could a teacher
identify a need? How can a teacher
go about doing so?
Much of the language of a social dialect may be used as means of speaking negatively to and about other. Teaching such language in the class room may change the atmosphere and may cause the students to loose respect for the teacher
. Along with this, if the students do not have a good basic understanding of english
, they may well struggle understanding the new language. On the other side of the coin, for a student to be able to immerse themselves in a language, they would need to include all cultural elements of the language. This would include social dialects. Slang and idioms are used regularly by people in their everyday speech. If a teacher
wants to assist their students to be able to assimilate into a culture or certain group, then the teaching of a social dialect becomes very important.
The level the student is at will greatly dictate when a teacher
should begin teaching a social dialect. For a teacher
to begin teaching a student such language, they must first make certain that the students understand the individual words first. As this is the case, teaching beginners would be very unlikely. It would be more appropriate for students who are at an intermediate level or higher to learn such language. The more advanced the student is, the more likely they will face idioms and slang. Special groups, such as business english
students, may need to learn specific language that is specific to their business
. These ones may well be beginners, so great thought needs to go into an appropriate selection.
Once the teacher
has identified the appropriate time to start teaching, then they would want to take into consideration the context of the lesson with regard to recently learned language. Knowing the context will make the selection of appropriate idioms and slang easier. After selecting a small number of examples, the teacher
would want to present these to the class by presenting a scenario so the students are able to understand the context in which to use them. After making certain that the students understand each individual word, the meaning of the slang or idiom can be explained. Of course the teacher
would want to see the students practice the use of the new language in the class room in conversation with the other students. After teaching the new language, the teacher
would do well, in general conversation with the students, to use it in context to assist the students further. The teacher
may also present to the class examples in the form of film clips, recorded speech, games or even invite a native speaker to talk to the class.