Educating Educators about Second Language Idiomaticity through Action Research

Document Type : Original Article


University of South Florida, Tampa, US


Idiomaticity is central to linguistic theory. Despite the pervasiveness of idioms in language, pedagogical articles in professional journals have yet to pay attention to the benefits of idiom instruction in the second language (SL) classroom. Addressing this concern, this article reports the results of an exploratory qualitative research study conducted with sixteen SL university instructors and two Language Program Directors (LPDs) at two large universities in the Southwest (United States of America) that explored teachers’ own knowledge and theories about SL idiomaticity. Survey and interview data indicate that university instructors and LPDs share beliefs and assumptions about how best to teach idioms and assess students’ knowledge of SL idiomaticity. It was concluded that both university instructors and LPDs have an important role to play in the development of idiom pedagogy and that such pedagogy can be greatly enhanced through action research. Recommendations are included for further study of the issues surrounding SL idiomaticity, and teaching implications are considered for the development of meaningful pedagogical practices suitable for the promotion of idiomatic learning.