The contemporary linguistic paradigm suggests that language acquisition is a complex process that requires the incorporation of various pedagogic methods. Apart from the traditional educational emphasis on reading, writing, speaking, and listening, the modern approach to language acquisition includes figurative language comprehension. Hence, the article Bridging Two Worlds: Reading Comprehension, Figurative Language Instruction, and the English-Language Learner written by Palmer, Shackelford, Miller, and Leclere concentrates on the practical implementation of the strategies for figurative language instruction, illustrating their scientific findings by the case of an ELL student. Given that the English language is abundant in figurative expressions, which are frequently encountered in both conventional and academic communication, the correct understanding of the aforesaid linguistic means is crucial for the development of adequate language skills.
The range of key strategies for figurative language comprehension includes connections to the real world, dialogue in context, explicit instruction, visualization, use of the native language, and modeling and independent practice. However, the authors suggest the simultaneous implementation of the abovementioned approaches with the purpose of obtaining the maximum results. Therefore, each of the methods should be examined properly in order to be implied correctly in combination.
The explicit instruction strategy highlights the importance of providing clear instructions for the accurate understanding of the figurative language along with the context it is used in. Hence, the following pattern should be incorporated into the teaching practice: identification of the figurative language in the text, determination of the literal meaning of the expression, and interpretation of the intended meaning. Thus, the described schemata were introduced to Alejandros educational process, helping him to understand the peculiarities of figurative language functioning, as well as to establish thinking patterns required for the enhancement of figurative expressions. Similarly, the aforesaid strategy was implemented in my teaching practice, having subsequently proved effective in terms of achieving its objective. However, my educational adaptation of the described method included providing as much background information concerning the origin of the expression as possible, followed by the explanation of the peculiarities of its connotation.
Connecting figurative expressions to the real world is a strategy, which can be included into the abovementioned schemata with the aim of illustrating the specificities of the functioning of a particular expression in different contexts. The method emphasizes the idea that connecting figurative speech elements to the real-world setting, especially relating them to ones personal experience, contributes to the improvement of the understanding of the described linguistic phenomenon. The strategy was regarded as particularly efficient in the case of the ELL student described in the article. The strategy is widely implemented in my teaching practice. I encourage each student to search for a real-world example of their own. Apart from that, specific illustrative posters are frequently used in the educational process.
Another method for figurative language comprehension is dialogue in context. The aforesaid strategy suggests that context is a principal source of understanding the figurative language. Hence, attention should be paid to the essence and purpose of the figurative speech implementation, as well as the types of figurative expressions in connection with the context. Hence, teachers should provide context clues that will simplify the pattern of cognition and, thus, improve the understanding of the figurative language.
My practice involves contextual interpretation of expressions, which is supported by examples of the implementation of the figurative language in different spheres. Likewise, I attempt to explain the semantic connection between the expression and the context and justify the appropriateness of the described linguistic phenomenon in particular cases.
Modeling and independent practice are also believed to contribute to the improvement of the figurative speech understanding. The strategy focuses on obtaining the experience via the exposure to figurative expressions. Hence, the increase in practice is supposed to be accompanied by the increase in the figurative language enhancement. Ergo, the article exemplifies the effectiveness of the method by describing the employment of the learning log in the educational process, which provides sample practice with identifying figurative expressions in oral and written language. Thus, my teaching practice includes students modeling situations in which particular expressions would be appropriate. In this case, the aforesaid method is successful not only in relation to the understanding of idiomatic speech, but also in regard to active vocabulary enlargement.
Apart from the methods mentioned above, visualization is considered effective due to the incorporation of visual aids, such as art and the instructional plan, thus, involving visual memory, which helps learn the figurative language through associative thinking. Hence, the authors claim that Alejandros learning complex expressions improved with the implementation of the described strategy. I have not experimented with visualization yet, but I intend to suggest that the students should create their individual artistic interpretation of figurative expressions because I believe this will create an associative cognitive pathway for the successful understanding of idioms.
Finally, the authors of the article believe that the use of the native language is helpful in figurative speech comprehension. Thus, the strategy suggests the occasional usage of the native language with the purpose of creating matching idiomatic pairs in English and the native language. As a result, the research states that students ability to monitor the understanding of figurative speech within various contexts increases. My teaching practice also demonstrates that using native language is beneficial for figurative speech comprehension because the correct identification of an idiom in English is more successful when the latter corresponds with the expression in the native language, stipulated by referring to the previously established interlinguistic associative scheme.
In conclusion, the range of strategies described in the article is effective due to their complex and diverse nature. The process of language acquisition should apply to different types of memory with the purpose of obtaining multiple enhancement of the figurative language. Furthermore, the examination of the peculiarities of idiomatic speech in different contexts is a must in the educational process, given the fact that it provides a complete illustration of linguistic functioning of a particular expression. Ergo, the multifaceted implementation of the aforesaid strategies contributes significantly to figurative language comprehension.
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