Unit 26. Using language appropriately for a range of classroom functions

We teachers can exploit classroom language, as to create a routine in the students’ learning process. We may easily give instructions in English, usually with not even the need of explaining meaning. Read, listen to me, repeat after me, open your books, are common expressions that are used in a daily basis in language classrooms. We could even have a list of phrases or expressions that are used in classroom contexts, and count them, as to motivate beginners of how much they already know.

We do not only use language to give instructions. We use it to explain as well. We explain rules of a game, or how an activity is done. We also explain the meaning of vocabulary. 

When we tell stories or anecdotes, we use narration. This is another very good use of teacher language in the English classroom.


Prompting. In order to spare awkward silent moments, teachers usually use prompting. In this way the learner still gives an answer, but just with a little extra help from the teacher.

Correcting. We use specific language to correct all the time. Learners get use to this language and learn lots of these expressions that do not normally find in their textbooks.

Checking learning. We do this by using check questions. The “do you understand” expression does not necessarily work. That is why a concept question is necessary.

We need to take into account that the language that the teacher uses in the classroom must be suitable and appropriate for the learners’ level, age and function in the class.

Our language should be graded, as the level of the students increase. We need to start with simple language in order to get to more sophisticated forms of language. This is done gradually, following a logical sequence.


Do you think it is worthwhile to plan even the language you will be using in the classroom?

Do you think it is actually possible to speak in English in class 1, level 1 for 1 whole hour? Watch this:

Use the TKT glossary to find the meaning of these terms for classroom functions: define, model, nominate.

Try writing a st of instructions for an activity for your learners. You can choose from activities here.



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