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

June 27–July 15, 2022
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 socially acceptable 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' intercultural awareness and linguacultural diversity. 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, differences, and variation in face and politeness in at least two languages;

  • Identify learners' needs in intercultural communication;

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

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


Noriko Ishihara is a Professor of Applied Linguistics and (T)ESOL 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 an author of a teachers' guide, Teaching and Learning Pragmatics: Where Language and Culture Meet (2nd edition, with Andrew D. Cohen).

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 (2nd edition) is required for this online institute. The paperback version of the book (ISBN: 978-0367767082) is approximately $43 USD; the cost of an ebook version from Amazon is approximately $33. You may also be able to request a copy from your school or university library.
  • This institute is almost entirely asynchronous (not real time) with bi-weekly due dates. For the most part, you will work on activities according to your own schedule during the week, but you must meet the twice-weekly due dates.
  • You must keep up with assignments each week as they build on each other. Many assignments involve facilitation from the instructor and/or collaboration with other participants.
  • This institute will require a minimum of 12 hours of work per week.
  • Make sure you can meet the tech requirements for this institute.
Quote MarksRight quote marksAwe-inspiring. This course promotes reflection upon culture in ways we cannot do by ourselves. Through a wide range of activities, we are invited to look into our behaviors, our culturally embedded concepts, our reactions, and learn how to respect all identities involved in our interactions.
Malila Prado, 2021 Institute Participant
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Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414