Pragmatic Language Activities for Adults

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Your adult students need to be able to communicate effectively in real life situations. You can help them by providing some practical exercises to communicate with ease in different scenarios.

Pragmatic Language for Granted

Most people take their ability to effectively communicate basic ideas for granted. However, your adult students have limitations that prevent them from effective communication in basic situations. The key to helping students develop the ability to communicate basic ideas that have to do with real life is to pose a basic situation.

For example, if your students have to go to a store to exchange an item, and the customer service representative wants to know why they are bringing the item back, your students may feel confused about how to approach the situation. Encourage them by telling them that the best way to learn is through practice. The following activities will help them do just that!

Pragmatic Language for Practical Situations

Before you get your students to practice pragmatic language, give them guidance in regard to expressions that denote politeness and provide vocabulary that is appropriate for each situation. For instance, if your students are going to practice a dialogue with a customer service representative, you can suggest words like exchange, damaged, or broken, and talk about how a pleasant, smiling facial expression could help make a better connection with the rep. Let's take a look at different scenarios for your students.

The Shopping World

Divide students into pairs to take turns and play the roles of customer service representative and customer. The student who plays the customer service representative will listen to the request by the student who plays the customer, while you guide the student who speaks in terms of wording and expressions. To put the scenario in perspective, give a different situation to each pair of students. Example scenarios include:

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