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Thread: Teachng Idioms

  1. #1
    Anthony1000 is offline Newbie
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    Default Teachng Idioms

    Dear colleagues and friends,
    I'm new to this forum and need some teaching tips.
    This semester I'm teaching "a course in English idioms" at a college. I introduced "English Idioms in Use" by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O'Dell, CUP.
    The problem with this book is that there's an answer key at the back of the book where studenst can copy the answers to the exercises. This has made life difficult for me. I'm at my wits end trying to find a way to get my students involved in practicing the idioms in context. I feel the course has become boring for them.
    I'd be appreciated for any tips or comments on interactive and interesting techniques which can be used to change the course.
    Thanks
    Anthony
    P.S. I can't change the book!!!!!!!

  2. #2
    blouen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Hi Anthony,

    I hope this oneīs going to be helpful for you... this is from one of our friends here in usingenglish...

    http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/te...g-lessons.html

    Read on.

  3. #3
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony1000 View Post
    Dear colleagues and friends,
    I'm new to this forum and need some teaching tips.
    This semester I'm teaching "a course in English idioms" at a college. I introduced "English Idioms in Use" by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O'Dell, CUP.
    The problem with this book is that there's an answer key at the back of the book where studenst can copy the answers to the exercises. This has made life difficult for me. I'm at my wits end trying to find a way to get my students involved in practicing the idioms in context. I feel the course has become boring for them.
    I'd be appreciated for any tips or comments on interactive and interesting techniques which can be used to change the course.
    Thanks
    Anthony
    P.S. I can't change the book!!!!!!!
    So don't change the book. Teach from it, try to get them to figure out the idioms from context the best you can.

    But you can always supplement the course with extra worksheets/readings, can't you? That is what I would do.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    How do you teach idioms, Naamplao?

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    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post
    How do you teach idioms, Naamplao?
    It is not easy to teach the meaning of an idiom. I am not perfect on the subject and others will have other techniques but to me the context in which the idiom is used is very important.

    The first step is to be able to recognize that a phrase is an idiom and not something that can be interpreted literally.

    Let me create a sample paragraph....

    "I have been investing in the stock market for a long time now. For the most part I have been successful but two months ago I had one stock take a dead cat bounce. Luckily I didn't invest a lot of money in that stock. It was a good lessen though. I will be more aware of a similar situation the next time it happens."

    Can you find the idiom in this paragraph? Look for a phrase that just doesn't seem to make sense when you read it.

    Ahhh...." a dead cat bounce" does not seem to belong here, does it?

    Next step what is the paragraph about"

    1. the stock market
    2. my investment in a particular stock.
    3. was my investment successful? What are the clues?
    No...
    Clue 1. luckily not much money was invested (if it was a good thing wouldn't you want to have invested more money?)
    Clue 2. the phrase "
    For the most part I have been successful but..." the word "but" implies a problem

    Now look at the idiom itself

    1. does "a dead cat bounce" sound like a happy phrase? Why?
    No....A phrase with the word "dead" in it does not sound positive.

    2. If you take the phrase literally and you dropped a dead cat on the floor, how high would it bounce?
    Not very high, if at all.

    If you understand the stock market and share prices, you realize that stock prices rise and fall constantly. A "bounce" occurs when a stock falls to a support level and recovers some of its value.

    If you go through this analysis you now can get the feeling that this recovery did not go well.

    In fact, the meaning of the idiom, "dead cat bounce", is the action of a stock price that has fallen, rebounded at a support level just a bit, then plummets through the support level losing a lot more of its value.

    Now the exact meaning of the idiom is difficult to figure out without more clues but by analyzing the context surrounding the idiom you can get a pretty good idea of what it means.

    Does this help?


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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Itīs great!
    But I think itīs just one or your pack of ways of teaching idioms, right?
    I read about how Noego does it. He grabs a picture/drawing taken from one goodly site, and shows it to his students, giving them the idiom. He allows the students decipher itīs meaning out of the idiom itself and the given picture. If ever his students couldnīt get it, he does give hints and sample sentences.... Have you tried it?

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    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Great ideas, Naamplao.

    I might just add.

    Probably thee most important thing in learning a language is that students take classroom language, and it's especially important with idioms, and transfer to their own lives. Then it takes on real meaning that's much easier to remember because it's your own.

    Anglika gave a great explanation to one student in another thread who wanted to know, "put out feelers". After understanding, it's crucial that students try to relate that idiom to something in their life. Otherwise, all too often, it's just another grammar exercise that's gone the minute they walk out the door. And teachers have to help students understand just how important this is to learning.

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    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post
    Itīs great!
    But I think itīs just one or your pack of ways of teaching idioms, right?
    I read about how Noego does it. He grabs a picture/drawing taken from one goodly site, and shows it to his students, giving them the idiom. He allows the students decipher itīs meaning out of the idiom itself and the given picture. If ever his students couldnīt get it, he does give hints and sample sentences.... Have you tried it?
    As I said at the start, there are many approaches to teaching idioms. I gave you one that I try most often.

    The trick is to get the student to think while they are reading. Figuring out the meaning of an idiom is no different than figuring out the meaning of a hard word. Native English speakers don't know the meaning of every word/idiom that they read. But when we come upon an unknown word/idiom we take our best guess at its meaning based on the context of the text around it. Most of the time our guesses are pretty close. If you see the word again in another piece of writing you might change your guess based on it's context or it might confirm your first guess.

    Believe it or not...if we are exposed to the word often enough we might even take the time to look up the meaning in a dictionary of words/idioms and add it permanently to our vocabulary.

    Evaluating context is very important in English and other languages too for that matter.

  9. #9
    blouen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    As I said at the start, there are many approaches to teaching idioms. I gave you one that I try most often.

    The trick is to get the student to think while they are reading. Figuring out the meaning of an idiom is no different than figuring out the meaning of a hard word. Native English speakers don't know the meaning of every word/idiom that they read. But when we come upon an unknown word/idiom we take our best guess at its meaning based on the context of the text around it. Most of the time our guesses are pretty close. If you see the word again in another piece of writing you might change your guess based on it's context or it might confirm your first guess.

    Believe it or not...if we are exposed to the word often enough we might even take the time to look up the meaning in a dictionary of words/idioms and add it permanently to our vocabulary.

    Evaluating context is very important in English and other languages too for that matter.
    Thanks Naamplao.
    You just told me something I could really practice with. For most often that I come across new words, I quickly look it over my dictionary without even trying to make guesses using the context. Of course I do get the real meaning of the word and comprehends the sentence right away by doing that but the vocabulary doesnīt stick much in my mind to that I couldnīt recall some of them when I need them.

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    piotrek is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teachng Idioms

    I apply for information how to effectively teach an e.g.animal's idiomms in elemantary school? I need some activities and interesting methods of teaching. What about a cognitive approach?
    please help!!

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