Standard VS Slang Lesson Plan

Standard vs Slang

EFL learners have difficulty understanding and interacting with native speakers because the nature of native speakers language differ more or less from the artificial language that we, as EFL teachers, use in the classroom.  That’s why, it would be a good idea to teach slang to EFL students to bridge the gap between the language of the books that we usually teach and the language of  every day life that our learners would be forced to understand and use when facing authentic situations and interacting with native speakers.

The activity

  • Ask students whether they have problems understanding conversations in British or American movies.
  • Brainstorm the reasons why they may have difficulty fully understanding native speakers language.
  • Explain that slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker’s  language.
  • Give examples of slang language for students to study in groups. (See bellow.)
  • Students do a matching exercise to get explanation of the slang vocabulary items in the examples given earlier. (See bellow.)


  1. What an awesome sunset today.
  2. He had to barf because he drank too much alcohol.
  3. Your ideas about politics are all wet.
  4. You cannot get a girlfriend if you act dorky.
  5. Shut up! You are such a big mouth.
  6. Her ex-boyfriend was dirt / a dirt bag.
  7. The whole idea was a bust.
  8. He’s an ace reporter who always gets a good story.
  9. This is a really cool place to work.
  10. I need more time to cram for the test.
  11. If you make another boo boo like that, you won’t have a job.
  12. He is really a chicken.
  13. He has a really cushy job.
  14. Investing in the stock market can be dicey.
  15. At the wedding he had a flashback of his old girlfriend
  16. More than twenty companies in the district went bust during the last three months.
  17. That guy is a zero
  18. The company received a kickback from the politician during the recent elections
  19. His salary is thirty grand
  20. Do you want rice or spuds for dinner?

Matching task

Slang vocabularyExpalnantion
1. acea. great
2. all wetb. very good
3.  airheadc. vomit
4. boo bood. a stupid person
5. awesomee. completely wrong
6. chickenf. talk too much
7. big mouthg. mistake
8. barfh. good
9. crami. coward
10. coolj. study hard
11. grandk. easy
12. zerol. risky
13. flashbackm. awful person
14. spudsn. memory
15. go busto. forced to close because it is financially unsuccessful
16. kickbackp. strangely
17. dorkyq. money paid illegally for favorable treatment
18. dirt or dirt bagr. potatoes
19. diceys. unimportant person
20. cushyt. thousand dollars

4 thoughts on “Standard VS Slang Lesson Plan”

  1. Great idea–although I don’t think “standard” is the best description for slang in general. Words like “awesome” and “cool” are definitely part of standard (American) English even in their slang senses. They’re just informal or casual. Nonstandard slang would only describe slang that is restricted to specific non-mainstream dialects of English and isn’t widely used or understood, I think. Most of the above examples are part of standard casual American English. 🙂

    I think it’s important to get students comfortable with slang so that they don’t think they must always avoid it, which is why I think it’s important for students to realize that many slang words are definitely standard English. Of course, there are always those students who latch onto slang and start using it indiscriminately! It’s quite tricky to help them find the right balance, isn’t it? I’m struggling with that myself both in teaching and in my own language learning.

  2. I agree with you Clarissa. The distinction between slang and standard is really an arbitrary one. But i think that a wide range of language should not be banned from the classroom on the pretext of being slang!
    Thank you for your comment!

  3. Great article.
    But I always have to say that we use this American/British English all the time. We should remember that in the world there are more people who speak English as a foreign or second language than those who speak it as mother tongue. So I think we should remember that people are all the time “creating” new slang – in some speaker’s language, slangs. Thinking about it, I would say that students also speak making use of the inter-language. Therefore, they are able to understand each other without really knowing what slang is really about.

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