Teaching Formulaic Sequences: The Same as or Different From Teaching Single Words?



Formulaic language is an important component of discourse and needs to be addressed in teaching pedagogy. Unfortunately, there has been little research into the most effective ways of teaching formulaic language. In this study, Kuwaiti students were taught words and idioms using the same teaching methodologies, and their learning was measured. The results show that the teaching produced a similar pattern of learning for words as well as idioms, suggesting that at least some of the same types of teaching methodologies we use for individual words can be effective in teaching formulaic sequences. However, the learning of idioms was somewhat lower than that of words. The results also show that reviewing was effective in enhancing the learning to a recall level of mastery, and this was equally true in the learning of words and idioms. Written review was always more effective than oral review. Overall, participants were able to recognize nearly all of the taught words and idioms after 12 days but were able to recall only approximately one-half of them at best, and usually much less.