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

June 28–July 16, 2021
Asynchronous* 3-week online summer institute

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
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.

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


  • Book Purchase: The book Teaching and Learning Pragmatics: Where Language and Culture Meet (1st edition) is required for this online institute. Used/new paperback versions of the book (ISBN: 978-1408204573) range in price from $30–$48 USD; the cost of an ebook version from either Amazon or Google is approximately $43. There are also options to rent the book starting at $14. You may also be able to request a copy from your university library. (Note: A newer 2nd edition of this book is not due out until after the summer institute; please make sure that you order the 1st edition.)
  • 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.
  • Technology: Make sure to review the tech requirements for this institute.
Quote MarksRight quote marksThis course helped me develop my ability to think critically about language and prepared me to integrate pragmatics in my Spanish-language curriculum. With the help of my instructor and the rest of the participants in this course, I learned how to approach the teaching of pragmatics in different proficiency levels and to design lesson plans that promote learners’ autonomy through awareness raising activities and authentic language samples. It was the most thought-provoking and useful teaching institute I have ever participated in!
Celia Bravo Diaz, 2019 Participant
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