EAL Instructors

The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs) Support Kit defines Pragmatics as:

"the ability to use appropriate language in a given communicative situation...Pragmatics is one aspect of communicative competence that is particularly difficult for learners to acquire; cultural knowledge does not develop through exposure alone and therefore needs to be taught." (p. 71).

This page is for EAL instructors looking for teaching resources to teach Pragmatics in the Canadian context.   

Below you will find links to 3 lesson plans for teaching:

Each lesson comes with:

  • downloadable learner handouts
  • audio files
  • audio transcripts for the listening activities
You will also find additional links to materials (Audio and transcripts) for two additional speech acts:

All five of the speech acts have been broken down into what we call pragmatic patterns. All of the patterns can be taught to learners as speaking strategies for building soft skills for the workplace.

For an example of the patterns in context, check out Part 3: Presentation of the feedback pattern in the feedback lesson learner handout .  Click below to download a pdf of all of the different patterns:

In addition to these lesson plans this website has an EAL learners page with downloadable listening activities and audio that can be used for self-study. The content of these activities focuses on the importance of workplace soft skills and building workplace community. 

We hope you find these resources both practical and useful. Please contact us with any feedback or questions to: icinfo@norquest.ca

If you like these resources, visit the Colbourne Institute for Inclusive Leadership website, for additional materials including: language study tables and a series of videos on the multicultural workplace.


In this lesson, Canadian Language Benchmarks 5+ learners practice all four skills with a focus on apologies. This lesson has been piloted with success at CLB 4 and CLB 6/7 so it can be adapted for the needs of your particular level or for multi-level courses. 


In this lesson, CLB 6-8 learners practice noticing how culture and language influence the way people give and receive feedback. There are activities that touch on all four skills. Students will gain confidence in giving and receiving feedback by looking at some common patterns that native speakers use in a Canadian workplace scenario. 


In this lesson, CLB 6-8 learners are introduced to some patterns for complaining in the workplace and in the community. All four skills are touched on in this lesson, but the main focus is on speaking. Learners are encouraged to discuss the language they would use to complain at work and in the community to raise awareness of how culture might influence communication. Opportunities to role play, create dialogues and compare cultural approaches to complaints are emphasized.  


Compliments can be somewhat tricky depending on the situation. In the Canadian workplace there are some unwritten rules about who, when, where, why and how to compliment. There are 6 audio examples of compliments to play for your students with transcripts. You can download the transcript and make a fill-in-the-blank or ordering and sorting activity. These audio clips can be great conversation starters for class discussions about compliments and work and in the community. 


There are 11 audio clips and transcripts for requests on this website. These can be used to teach the language of requests (e.g., I want, I need vs. Would you mind, I was wondering if...). Learners may find this valuable information when they are in situations at work and in the community where they need to make requests of people and aren't sure what to say. 

This lesson focuses on the speech act of apologies. By the end of the lesson, learners will be able to apply apology strategies across status and varying degrees of imposition. For example, if you are at work and you bump into your boss in the hall, what would you say compared to bumping into your boss and spilling his or her coffee on his or her clothes? Learners can practice changing the scenarios for status and imposition, role play, create dialogues, and discuss cultural similarities and differences for different workplace scenarios.

This lesson plan focuses on feedback. By the end of the lesson, learners will be able to recognize different strategies for giving performance feedback and identify the cultural values that influence speakers' choice of words while they give feedback.