Publication Details

Burri, M., Baker, A. & Acton, W. (2019). Proposing a Haptic Approach to Facilitating L2 Learners' Pragmatic Competence. Humanising Language Teaching, 21 (3), 1-15.


Pragmatic competence plays a critical role in successful communication. Pragmatics in the second language classroom has received substantial interest in TESOL, yet teachers often find the teaching of pragmatics challenging. Instruction generally tends to focus on grammar and vocabulary development, even though pragmatics is closely linked to the sound system (i.e., phonology) of the language. An effective method should combine attention to both pragmatic and phonological competence. We propose an integrated approach, drawing on haptic (movement and touch) pronunciation teaching techniques (Acton, Baker, Burri & Teaman, 2013) to facilitate study and uptake of pragmatics in the classroom. In part by mapping intonation and rhythm onto select prefabricated, high value language chunks - adding systematic gestures, movement, and touch - students' ability to respond more appropriately in social context should be significantly enhanced. The process described is accessible to most experienced practitioners. The paper concludes with recommended applications in various educational settings.