Activities to Practise the Use of Idioms
Teaching Idioms using Web 2.0 Tools
This is a short introduction to teaching idioms and some suggestions for some fun activities to do in class.
What is the meaning of an idiom?
- It is an expression which uses the language in a colourful way
- It is an expression which refers to a figurative meaning as opposed to a literal meaning.
- It is something which is embedded in the culture of a particular language.
- It is something which is difficult to translate into other cultures. For example, "She is full of beans".
Why teach idioms?
- Idioms are found, seen everywhere and certainly heard in all walks of life. In posters, advertisements, newspapers (printed and online versions), magazines, films and the internet. There is no escaping them! A headline such as "PM sees red" would have no real significance for someone in Vietnam, for example. In fact, it could mean something entirely different.
- Idioms are a basic and natural part of life. They are an essential feature of effective communication, especially at a higher level of English.
- They are an indication of a student's proficiency in English.
The following sentences will introduce idioms that I commonly use with their meanings.
- I usually tell my students to "keep their eyes peeled" when they are walking in the street and I encourage them to try hard to look for examples of idioms.
- If a student is preparing for an exam, he or she may probably "work like a horse" in the final days before the exam. They will work very hard before the exams.
- A student may "burn the midnight oil" the night before the exam. I certainly studied hard all night before my university final exams!
- When I taught 50 students how to pass the FCE exam in Greece, I was snowed under with the huge amount of essays I had to correct. I was extremely busy correcting 100 150-word essays every week.
- I sometimes have to tell a student to work harder, pay more attention in class. I say "You need to pull your socks up!
- Icebreaking activities are an essential feature on the first day of a new course. It is important to make participants feel more at ease and become familiar with peole's names and backgrounds.
- I usually have butterflies in my stomach just before taking a major exam or publishing something onto the www. I feel nervous.
- I studied very hard for my history exam and I learned all the relevant dates by heart. The exam was a piece of cake. It was very easy for me!
I hope you have fun experimenting with some of the lesson ideas.
Please feel free to adapt, edit or add your own favourite ways of teaching idioms with Web 2.0 tools. I would love to hear from you.