Activity 4: Teacher Talk

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Activity 4 is a multi-layered activity in pairs and groups. It has the purpose of (i) raising the participants’ awareness of the variety of strategies and functions teachers perform by means of language and (ii) providing participants with a brief linguistic repertoire which they can add to their existing one.


Please refer to slides 19-33 of the Power Point presentation of this module.

Step 1 (10 minutes)

  • Project slide 20 “So what’s next?”. Ask the participants if they would use that expression in class. What other expressions would they use instead of “What’s next?”. Ask the participants what the function(s) of these expressions are. (Structuring a class / introducing a new idea / moving on, etc.)
  • Ask participants to rotate pairs (even if they stay at the same table) and brainstorm about the linguistic strategies that teachers use

Step 2 (15 minutes)

  • Provide participants with a set of cards on which different Teacher’s expressions have been written, so that they can place them in what they consider to be the most suitable section on the chart (10 minutes)
  • If some of the groups finish too quickly, you can tell them to stand up and walk around, seeing how the other groups have placed their expressions.

Step 3 (10 minutes)

  • Project slide 29 “Proposed solution”
  • Highlight the difference between referential questions (exploratory / real / open questions) and display questions (used for showing or checking knowledge)
  • Project slide 32 entitled “Language Use in the International Classroom” on lingua franca and communicative competence and ask them to brainstorm. (10 minutes).
  • Draw the participants’ attention to the fact that it is not necessary to know all the expressions on the cards to teach in the international classroom but that knowing a few in each category can really make a difference. The most important thing is not to “lose” the signposting language when teaching – since this will have a negative impact on learning. Educational developers should make sure teachers possess enough signposting expressions and meta-discourse since the way language support is given around content is essential.

Wrap up the activity (5 minutes)

This could be done by referring back to the “Top 10 Challenges in the International Classroom” identified by Turner (2009) and presented in the Intercultural Group Dynamics module and by pointing out that most of these challenges involve language.

Resources needed

  1. Activity 4 Worksheet Card in colour or Activity 4 Worksheet Card black and white
  2. Activity 4 Worksheet Chart: printed in A3 per group

Room / space needed

The room, participants stay at their tables

Time frame

40 minutes approx.

Possible variations of the procedure

More or fewer expressions could be added. Participants could also be asked to write their own suggestions on new cards and add them to the chart.

After this activity, it might be advisable to take a 15-minute break. When participants come back into the room, use the group forming tool – A, B, C, D cards printed in four different colours – to facilitate group formation and rotation for subsequent activities.


Turner, Y. (2009). “Knowing me, knowing you,” is there nothing we can do? Pedagogic challenges in using group work to create an intercultural learning space. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(2), 240-255.