Transactional phrases to communicate in the classroom
A way of promoting English as a real communication and active language learning skills is to make sure the students know and use simple transactional phrases.
Generally it is quite hard to break the habit of using these phrases in the native language since they come so naturally that the target language is forgotten. To help the students learn and remember these simple phrases you can do a poster with a list that can be updated with additional phrases.
When you teach “What is it?” teach also “I don’t know”. When the students get used to using this expression, teach “Can you help me?” so that you can provide hints for them to get the right answer or ask their mates for help.
“Can you say/play it again?” are expressions your students should use during dictations or listening practice activities when they cannot understand.
You may go on with those phrases which will help them express their wishes and have their needs met, for instance, “How do you spell…?”, “How do you pronounce…in English?”, “Can I go to the toilet?”. These requests show the most repeated situations when the students express their basic needs so encouragement and repetition will do their work.
When your plan does not include any of these expressions, you can spare some minutes of the lesson to review them. You may want to present this review as a game giving your students gesture prompts, or giving the first word of the expression for the students to guess.
– Sorry, I’m late – Can I go to the toilet?
-How do you say/pronounce… in English? – Is this right/wrong?
– Pardon? / Say that again / Come again – Can I borrow your…?
– Can you repeat please? – Can you say it again, please?
– Can you help me ? – I don’t know / remember / understand.
– What’s the meaning of…? – What’s the English for…?
(by The Teacher’s magazine)