Language and Culture in Sync:
Teaching Linguistic Politeness and Intercultural Awareness

July 15–August 2, 2019 (3-week online course)

Noriko Ishihara

A truly daunting challenge for second language learners is to adjust their language use so that it is appropriate for a variety of socio-cultural contexts. How, for example, are learners supposed to address strangers, close friends, or people of higher social status in that culture? Although acquiring culturally-sensitive discourse practices can take learners many years, research has shown that the process can be facilitated through explicit instruction.

This institute provides practical insights for teachers on how to enhance the learning of linguistic politeness and boost students' awareness of intercultural differences. Participants will have hands-on opportunities to develop activities and materials for the classroom.

Program Schedule (see "time frame" below)
Week 1
  • Terms and Definitions for Teaching Linguistic Politeness (Pragmatics)
  • Recording and Studying Language Use
  • Needs Assessment for (Im)politeness, (In)directness, and (In)formality
Week 2
  • Theory and Practice of SLA and Instructional Pragmatics
  • Assessing Pragmatics-Focused Lessons
  • Exploring Instructional Resources
  • Classroom-Based Assessment of Pragmatics
Week 3
  • Textbook Analysis and Adaptation
  • Strategies for Learning and Using Speech Acts
  • Developing Lesson Plans and Exchanging Feedback
  • Goal-Setting for the Future

After this institute, you will be able to:

  • Identify general similarities and differences in expressions of linguistic politeness in at least two languages;

  • Identify learners' needs in intercultural communication;

  • Develop a pragmatics-focused instruction and assessments that incorporate research-based information; and

  • Demonstrate awareness of the link between sociocultural identities and pragmatic expressions and develop culturally-sensitive instruction and assessments based on this awareness.


Noriko Ishihara is Professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL/EFL at Hosei University, Japan. She has designed and researched pragmatics-focused instruction and classroom-based assessment in ESL, EFL, and Japanese. She has been facilitating professional development for language teachers in Japan, the US, and elsewhere since 2005 and is a co-author with Andrew D. Cohen of a teachers' guide, Teaching and Learning Pragmatics: Where Language and Culture Meet.


Book Purchase: The book Teaching and Learning Pragmatics: Where Language and Culture Meet is required for this online institute and should be obtained as soon as possible. It may be available through your library system or you can purchase a copy through Amazon. The cost of soft cover or ebook version is currently around $40. (ISBN: 978-1-4082-0457-3).

Tech Requirements: You will need a computer with reliable access to the internet as well as a headset with a microphone and a webcam.

Time Frame: This institute is almost entirely asynchronous (not real time) with bi-weekly due dates. You will work on activities according to your own schedule during the week, but the two weekly deadlines are important, as the activities build on each other. The institute will require a minimum of 12 hours of work per week.

Target Audience: Elementary to postsecondary foreign language and ESL teachers, material developers, curriculum coordinators, teacher educators, administrators, and researchers.


Quote MarksRight quote marksThis online institute on teaching linguistic politeness provided me with a solid foundation of both theory and practice related to instructional pragmatics. The course was extremely well-organized and included a variety of activities and assignments that exposed me to new research and innovative ideas for teaching different pragmatic norms and variations. I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with my classmates and look forward to potentially collaborating with them in the future. Thanks for such a fruitful learning experience! 
—Kimberly Morris, 2018 Participant
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