Teacher talk

From Teflpedia

Teacher talk is the way of speaking that some teachers develop in order to make themselves better understood by their students.

It basically involves speaking more slowly, avoiding weak forms and contractions, along with using words which may be more familiar to learners of the target language, such as possible cognates.

Critics of teacher talk claim that while it may help the students understand what is being said in class, it may actually hinder them in real life situations by not "training" their listening skills sufficiently. Likewise, by making a conscious use of cognates, it may lead to an "artificial" use of language items in which the student over-uses vocabulary items which are similar in the two languages.


See main article listening.

This results in the very common problem of students only being able to understand their teacher. One way to, at least in part, counter this potential difficulty is the frequently use of authentic listening material in class.

There is also a danger of native speakers becoming too assimilated in their adopted culture after some years. Consequently, it might also be useful for native-speaking teachers to put aside some time each week to listen to some of the many podcasts which are available on the web. This will have the advantages of:

  • keeping them in touch with new vocabulary as it arises.
  • giving them a constant stream of of English language material delivered at a reasonable native velocity.
  • reducing the possibility of them being convinced that the identical errors which they are exposed to every day are, in fact, correct.

See also[edit]


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