Lecture by Andrew Cohen, February 25, 2011

Teaching Pragmatics in the L2 Classroom

by Professor Andrew Cohen, Second Language Studies, University of Minnesota.

This presentation makes the point that it is not enough these days for teachers simply to teach the language forms; that it is imperative that they also teach their learners strategies for interpreting the language used by others and for saying what they mean to say in the given situation. Too frequently learners memorize words and phrases, and then find that they do not really know where to use them and how to use them effectively. In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in enhancing learners’ control over the pragmatics of the language. The talk starts by briefly reviewing strides being made to provide instruction in pragmatics to L2 learners. Attention is given both to classroom lessons and to websites specializing in pragmatics, with a special interest in material based on empirical investigations rather than the intuition of materials writers. The primary characteristics of pragmatics instruction are described and illustrated, drawing both on published literature and on strategies-based Internet sites for L2 learner self-access. Since the successful integration of pragmatics instruction into the elementary, secondary, community college, and university-level curricula depends in no small part on the knowledge, understanding, and skill of the teacher, the talk also deals with obstacles faced and the implications for teacher education.

Friday, February 25, 2011
3:00 – 5:00 pm
B-4 Dwinelle Hall

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