Get 70% Off On All TEFL Courses

Take advantage of our May offer, Don't Miss Out!

Offer Ends








TEFL Masterclass – Youth Language: Fire? Sick? Cold? Or is it cheugy?

Join PRO for more!

Log in or join PRO Membership to access this certified TEFL Masterclass Workshop.

PRO Benefit

Training & CPD

Live TEFL Webinar

Exclusive Contents

Steve Hirschhorn – Award-winning Teacher Trainer, Former School Principal & Director of TESOL.

Steve Hirschhorn has been teaching and training teachers for around 40 years. He has lectured and delivered workshops from Peru to Japan and most stages in between, going the long way round! Steve has been a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, school Principal and Director of TESOL; he was External Examiner for three UK universities’ MA TESOL and English Language boards. He has written numerous articles on various aspects of teacher-training, teaching and learning language.

What you will learn

It’s rare that published materials include reference to current youth argot or slang. I suppose that’s because it would go out of date too quickly. This talk will try to examine the phenomenon of youth-speak and will ask whether or not we, as teachers, should be doing anything at all with it or simply ignoring it.

It will also link that topic with approaches to syllabus creation and the difference between top-down and bottom up course planning.

Workshop Summary

Introduction to the Webinar 

In this ELT Masterclass, the speaker discusses the importance of exposing language learners to both Standard English and Youth Language, highlighting the role of context in language learning and teaching. The key points of this masterclass are understanding the relevance of language use in different settings, ensuring students can access and comprehend a variety of language forms, and tailoring the learning experience to meet the diverse needs of learners.

Standard English and Its Contexts

Standard English is the form of English most commonly used in formal settings and recognized as the “standard” by institutions such as schools, universities, and workplaces. The speaker emphasises the need to expose language learners to Standard English while also ensuring they are aware of its limitations in informal contexts.

Embracing Youth Language and Context

Youth Language refers to the colloquial and informal language used by young people, which often includes slang and other non-standard forms. The speaker suggests that learners should also be exposed to youth language to enable them to communicate effectively in less formal settings.

To access constantly changing youth language, the speaker proposes several strategies, including contacting friends with teens in the target language country, using search engines, and having learners themselves research terms and phrases relevant to their age group. This not only helps students understand the evolving nature of language but also engages them in the learning process.

Strategies for Effective Language Learning

The speaker advocates for a mix-and-match approach to language teaching, which combines a top-down syllabus with student input, allowing for a more relevant and engaging learning experience. This approach encourages student motivation and ownership of the learning process while ensuring that the content is meaningful and applicable to their lives.

Addressing Diverse Language Needs

In managing diverse language needs within a group, the speaker acknowledges the challenges of catering to different ages, professions, or cultural backgrounds. They suggest that educators can address this by providing opportunities for students to have a say in what is taught, negotiating a learning plan, and fostering a sense of ownership in the learning process.

The speaker also emphasises the importance of teaching slang and specialised language used in specific social or professional groups. While it might not be necessary to teach the production of slang, it is crucial to teach learners to recognize and understand it.

Conclusion: Cultivating Adaptability and Lifelong Learning

To conclude, the speaker encourages educators to be adaptable and open to learning new language themselves, ensuring that their own language knowledge is up-to-date and appropriate for their students’ needs. They invite participants to explore further resources and engage with other educators through the teacher’s website and previous masterclasses. By combining the teaching of Standard English and Youth Language, educators can help students navigate various contexts with confidence and competence, enhancing their overall language learning experience.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. Can you recall the particular terms you used as a teen – which your elders didn’t?
  2. Do you agree that language changes adding and dropping terms over time?
  3. Can you understand young people when they speak amongst themselves?
  4. Is teaching youth-speak lowering standards?
  • Azarnoosh, M. and Kargozari, H.R. (2018) “Negotiated syllabus,” Issues in Syllabus Design, pp. 135–147. Available at:
  • CLARKE, D.F. (1991) “The negotiated syllabus: What is it and how is it likely to work?,” Applied Linguistics, 12(1), pp. 13–28. Available at:
  • Macalister, J. and P., N.I.S. (2020) “Negotiated Syllabuses,” in Language curriculum design. New York ; London: Routledge, pp. 166–176.

Start your Adventure with GTEFL

The Best Online TEFL Courses

99% Pass Rate

Unlimited retakes & support throughout your TEFL journey.


Choose from a range of level 3 and level 5 TEFL courses.

Pay Monthly

Start today and pay your course fee in 3 instalments with Klarna.


Recent Posts

TEFL Masterclass – Who’s Afraid Of Pronunciation? Ania Kolbuszewska – Teacher Trainer, Mediator & Former Eaquals Board Member. Ania have worked as a language teacher, trainer, manager and consultant, providing business and academic consultancy in mainstream and private education at...

read more


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Love TEFL? Join Us!

If you need help, get in touch!

If you are not sure which course package to choose, you can request a call back from a course advisor.