Monday, 8 February 2010

Teaching Idioms (Part 1)

Getting my students to locate 29 idioms in a story was not easy (especially after the cross-country event, with them complaining of being tired etc. etc). Yet most of them were able to identify between 20-29 idioms in our English class today. The feedback to the question, "Why did you select those expressions as idioms?" gave rise to the following responses:
  • 'because they are strange words'
  • 'because they are different from the rest'
  • 'because they are interesting'
  • 'because I don't know what they mean' (very interesting response!)

 As this was part of my action research lesson, their responses will be useful data for me. As the class was a 40-minute class, the lesson ended with the identification of the idioms only. Their task at home was to look up the meanings of the idioms we had listed. Tomorrow we will list out the meanings of the idioms as used in the context of the story. This is where meaning-making comes into play- literal and figurative meanings.  It would be interesting to see whether they are able to give the right meaning to the idioms.

Explaining 'context' to my students was not easy but extremely important, so that they know what is the intended meaning of the idiom. I've planned some strategies for tomorrow's lesson and hope to achieve the objectives...


  1. Salam Kak Rahmah,
    Sounds like an interesting action research. Hope everything turns out well.

  2. May I know what is your action research about? The teaching of context?

  3. salam fadzleen,
    thanks, am in the thick of things...exciting things to try in the classroom. The best part is what next? You can only decide the answer to what next by evaluating the present strategies via my students' feedback. yes hope things turn out well. tx

  4. hi ease, interesting name:) i'm working on idioms and how best to teach them. yes, am exploring 'context' too. care to give me some ideas? would be grateful

  5. Idioms!!!
    I've forgotten what they are already teacher! hehe
    thanks for reminding me

    wish I could go to your classes again.they were so much fun

  6. hi mariam, from what i remember you didn't need them too much! your english was immaculate, honest! how are u keeping. sorry i've been silent for a bit. bogged down with work...

  7. thank you for the compliment teacher
    and I have you to thank for it being so good ;)

    I did some translation work for my mother's student's thesis last month. but I was kinda crushed when the UK examiner commented that the grammar was all over the place. And my mom should have hired a native speaker instead of me! gasp, has my standard of English gone down?

    anyways, I've got a week more or less till I go back to Australia...

    till then hope u get to relax this CNY!!! =)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. dear mariam,
    don't worry ur english is perfect! have a safe journey back to australia


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