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:

Vocabulary

Temperature

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Expressing likes and dislikes

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Feelings
E.g. Degrees of hunger

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

Grammar

Modals of deduction

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Adverbs…

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