Clines in language teaching

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Recipes for the EFL Classroom

What is a cline?
The British Council Teaching English website defines a cline as ‘a scale of language items that goes from one extreme to another, for example, from positive to negative, or from weak to strong’.

Why are clines useful in language teaching?
Clines can be very effective in conveying and clarifying language, giving a very visual representation of meaning. They highlight shades of meaning, they are efficient and can cut down on teacher talking time. They also provide students with a good record of language to take home.

What language points lend themselves well to use of clines?
Clines are very versatile and can be used for vocabulary or grammar.
Some examples I have used follow:




Expressing likes and dislikes


E.g. Degrees of hunger

This could work equally well with other feelings such as anger, happiness, tiredness, or even drunkenness!


Modals of deduction



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I’m back!

I offer my apologies for not having classes with you this week. The reason is that I was really sick and I could not attend any classes under those circumstances. I am really sorry but next week we are going to catch up! J

I need you to do two things for next Wednesday:

1st task: Bring all the material we need to check if everything is ready for Friday 13th. On Friday 13th we will have our first English Day rehearsal and all the school is going to do it as well with us.

2nd task: You’ll need to read the following article and write an informal letter. Letter must be at least 150 words.

Topics are:

  • Inviting a friend
  • Advising a friend about a holiday
  • Apologizing to a friend

Here you have a sample letter:

Sample letter

As you can see it has 6 main points:

1)      Address

2)      Date

3)      Opening

4)      Text / Body / Content

5)      Closing / End

6)      Signature

In this article you will find a deeper explanation of the structure and here help on how to write it, you need to read both. We’ll check this letter in class. Do bring you letter done on Wednesday it is going to be graded.