functional language

Materials Development Task 9: Functional language

This is a new series of blog posts for teachers looking to become materials writers. It aims to help future writers explore topics and issues in writing, encourage deeper insight into the content of published materials, and promote a principled approach to materials development.

Think…

  • How would you define functional language?
  • To what extent does transactional language differ from interactional language?
  • How do you approach teaching functional language?
  • In your experience, how is teaching functional language approached in published materials such as coursebooks? How do you feel about the approach(es) used?
  • In a general sense, how might the functional language needs of YLs, teens and adults differ?
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Review: A-Z of ESOL (Emily Bryson)

This short review first appeared in IATEFL Voices magazine last month. Sharing here for general interest. This is a good resource: 4 stars from me.

A-Z of ESOL is a useful set of classroom-ready resources for TESOL contexts. Activities in the book are primarily aimed at equipping learners with the language (and life) skills they need to function communicatively in an English-speaking country. There are 26 activities in total, one for each letter of the alphabet (A = A school report, B = Building repairs, C = Covering letters, etc).

Activities in ‘A-Z…’ are based around social practices (related to education, employment, health, community, and so on), and expose learners to the functional language required in such real-life situations. The author states in a brief introduction that the resources follow a task-based approach. This is true in part. However, a weaker task-supported approach is used in some activities for lower-level learners (A1-A2), with more language input or structures introduced prior to students attempting the task. (more…)

Teaching functional language

A newly-qualified CELTA teacher has asked me for advice about how to deal with functional language. So… this is one of my approaches to teaching functional language! The example is from a lesson I did last weekend about the World Cup. The target language was phrases for making suggestions/giving advice, along with agreeing and disagreeing with the advice. (more…)