Is it worth teaching slang and colloquial language? Opinions on this topic are divided. But the truth is, slang is a living language, spoken by native speakers every day. So, it is definitely worth teaching students some expressions, which they might hear in their conversations with native speakers or even in their favourite series.
And if you do decide to introduce it in your lessons, we have some tips for you!
Check the meaning
Make sure you have a good understanding of what each phrase means. It is best to check the meaning in several sources on the Internet and select the most common one to begin with.
How can you do that? You can find many popular slang phrases in regular online dictionaries such as Cambridge and Oxford. But by far the most popular “street language” dictionary is the Urban Dictionary.
Check the usage
Make sure you know exactly how and when this phrase is used. Additionally, be sure to check out example sentences with this phrase. For this, ludwig.guru may come in handy. This page will search the Internet for you and display the most popular sentences with the phrase you type in.
And of course, there’s nothing like good old Google! So just google this phrase and see what comes up.
Check the pronunciation
Be sure to check the pronunciation and which syllable is stressed. Don’t just trust your teacher’s intuition. It can be very unreliable when it comes to slang.
How can you do that? In any good online dictionary there is an option where you can check your pronunciation. But if you’d like to hear a phrase used in context, Youglish comes in handy. Just enter your phrase in the search box and the page will show you the most popular YouTube videos in which this phrase is used. Moreover, it will give you the exact time in the video when the person says the phrase.
Show in context
Always teach slang in context and present as many example sentences as possible. That way, the meaning and usage become really clear for the students. Giving only one sentence can give them incorrect or incomplete information about the use of the phrase. And in turn, it might cause misunderstanding.
Provide opportunities to use it
Give students a chance to use these phrases and use them in class as often as possible. Slang is not fiction that is read only once every so often. It’s a living language that is used every day.
Try to use as many of these phrases as possible in your own teacher talk. Especially with higher levels.
Ready to teach some slang?
Check out this post for 8 activities for teaching and practising British slang in your classroom.