Pragmatics in the Classroom

Pragmatic is an approach to understanding language that focuses on the context of communication. The idea is that people use language to accomplish specific goals in a given situation, such as making requests or apologizing. Pragmatics is an important part of a broader theory of language called communicative pragmatics, which is concerned with the ways that people understand and interpret each other’s intentions and actions when communicating.

Pragmatism’s emphasis on real-world outcomes can help organizations make informed business decisions that have positive impacts on their bottom line. However, it’s important to balance pragmatism with other perspectives that can guide an organization’s ethics and morals. Pragmatism may also lead to a focus on short-term results, which can sometimes overlook the importance of long-term investment and delayed gratification.

One of the key features of pragmatism is its skepticism towards fixed theories or dogmas. Critics of pragmatism argue that this can discourage a thorough evaluation of established bodies of knowledge and prevent the development of overarching explanatory models. Additionally, a tendency to reject theoretical frameworks can hinder the accumulation of knowledge and prevent progress in scientific research.

In the classroom, teachers can incorporate pragmatics instruction by integrating it into the curriculum with other components of the language learning process. For example, when a teacher is going over the textbook lesson on apologies, she can add a pragmatics lesson focusing on how people apologize in different cultures. The lessons can be both home and target language related, and they can be linked to specific language functions such as greetings, complaints, and invitations.

The development of pragmatics relied heavily on sociology and anthropology, which are the study of human societies and their development. Sociology focuses on the relationships among individuals and society, while anthropology examines how culture influences behavior. A prominent pragmatist in the field of sociology was George Herbert Mead, who wrote extensively on social behavior and contributed to many of the principles that underpin pragmatics.

While pragmatism has a number of benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. The tendency to prioritize instrumental value can lead to a neglect of intrinsic or inherent value, such as moral worth or aesthetic beauty. This can be particularly problematic in the business world, where pragmatism can often result in companies sacrificing ethical values for the sake of profit.

In the realm of research, a pragmatist approach to problem solving involves detecting a problem that requires action and determining whether there are adequate tools to address it. This type of research may not be as rigorous as a more traditional academic approach, but it can be just as effective in addressing real-world challenges. Additionally, a pragmatist approach can encourage innovative thinking and allow for the discovery of new ideas that may not fit within existing paradigms. This can open up the door to future discoveries that could have an immense impact on the world around us. A pragmatist’s willingness to question everything can be invaluable in our quest for truth and knowledge.