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Teaching Modals Across the Levels


Randee Falk and Colin Ward


Wednesday, 22 April 2015
10:30 am–12:00 pm ET
(Find the time in your local area.)


Cost: Free for members and nonmembers
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Registration Deadline: 19 April 2015
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Who Should Attend?

ESL/EFL grammar teachers, curriculum developers, and program coordinators. Content will focus on grammar instruction at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult levels.

More About This Seminar

This is the third of four webinars on issues in teaching and learning grammar for facilitating academic language development. This webinar will deal with teaching modals to all levels of English language learners.

Key to expressing meaning in English across registers and in a wide range of contexts, modals are also a significant source of difficulty for English language learners, in no small part because of their notorious quirkiness. English modals are a system of systems, whose members pose semantic and pragmatic issues as well as form issues.

This seminar will consider important aspects of teaching modals, including focus on form and basic language functions for beginning learners and appropriate use of modals for hedging in high-level academic writing. In doing so, it will also show how language learning at each level is scaffolded by, reinforces, and extends language learning at previous levels.

What Will I Learn?

This webinar will
  • show how modals and related structures are used in written vs. spoken language
  • suggest some helpful ways to approach the teaching of modals at different levels
  • explore subtle distinctions among similar modals and the use of modals in constructions such as passive sentences and conditional clauses
  • explain how modals are used for hedging in academic language
  • provide a number of exercises and activities for helping ESL students practice modals

About the Presenters

Randee Falk is a contributing author for the four-volume ESL grammar series Elements of Success: Grammar for Language Learning, published by Oxford University Press, and has written many other ESL books and materials. She has a master of arts in linguistics and has completed the coursework for a doctorate. In addition to writing, she has edited numerous professional and college books in areas including ESL, composition, grammar, and grammar teaching.

Colin Ward is a materials writer for Oxford University Press, and is Department Chair of ESOL and Modern Languages at Lone Star College - North Harris in Houston, Texas, USA.  His interests include the symbiotic relationship between vocabulary and grammar and the teaching of contextualized grammar in writing and speaking.  He holds an MA in TESOL from the University of London and has been teaching ESOL at the community-college level for fifteen years.

Jenni Currie Santamaria is a contributing author for Elements of Success: Grammar for Language Learning, among other books. She has a master of arts in TEFL and has taught ES/FL at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult levels.