ELT terms - defined and referenced!


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(Definitions written by Mary Spratt, edited by Alan Pulverness)




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Grammar translation

A method of language teaching in which students study rules of language, then test out their understanding of these rules through doing exercises on them. Students also translate texts in the L2 into their L1. This method was very popular in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, being gradually replaced by methods which focussed more on use of the language.

Example

"I learnt Latin at school – I spent my time learning rules, doing grammar exercises, then translating passages by Caesar, Virgil and others. I now know this was called the grammar-translation method. I loved it!"

Further reading

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Summative assessment

The assessment of learning that takes place at the end of a course of learning to see how much of the syllabus covered each learner has learnt.

Example

"It’s quite difficult to design summative tests – they’re meant to reflect what you have taught from the syllabus, but some things are really quite difficult to test, so the test doesn’t always reflect the syllabus well enough."

Further reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Monitoring learner progress through formative and summative assessment:

 

 

Controlled/restricted practice

Controlled/restricted practice is the second stage in Presentation, Practice, Production (PPP). This kind of practice involves students in using target language in a guided and restricted way in which they have little choice over what language to use. Examples of controlled practice activities are repetition and substitution drills. This kind of practice is aimed at providing learners with strongly guided support in their use of newly or poorly learnt language items.

Example

"Sometimes I try to disguise controlled practice in guided role plays or pair work. I give students prompts so they can’t make mistakes. It’s more interesting like that rather than just doing choral drills."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Debate

A debate is an activity in which students are placed in two groups arguing for or against an issue. Debates can be informal or formal. Formal debates may follow rules, for instance, on how long to speak, how to interrupt, who speaks after who, obeying the chairperson and voting on the issue at the end of the debate. In ELT, debates are used to develop fluency, focus on register and explore issues. Students are usually given preparation time to prepare and possibly script their arguments.

Example

"Last week in class we had a formal debate about the advantages and disadvantages of wearing school uniform. It was interesting but I think it might have better as an informal discussion instead – in that my way students would have felt freer and said what they really thought."

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Harmer, J.(2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

 

 

Information gap

This term is used to refer to the situation in which one person or group has information which another person or group wants but doesn’t have. For example, if a shopkeeper knows the price of an item you want to buy but you don’t know the price, then there is an information gap between you and the shopkeeper. To ‘bridge’ this information gap, you ask the shopkeeper the price and he/she replies. As can be seen from this example, the information gap prompts purposeful communication. This is the reason why many communicative classroom activities are designed around information gaps. They are said to promote genuine communication and use of language rather than language use for display or purely practice purposes. Many well-known ELT activities are based around an information gap e.g. Find Someone Who, jigsaw reading and listening, describe and draw, problem solving.

Example

"In our first lesson I gave each student brochure of their new town, then I asked them to plan a joint outing together for next Sunday. To do this the students had to share information about all the places they could visit, then exchange opinions and make a decision. It was a huge information gap activity, which worked very well."

Further reading

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Functions

Functions are the communicative reasons for which we use language. For example, we say hello to greet someone, we say because I was tired to give an explanation, and Go on – you can do it! to encourage someone. Seeing language as a set of functions or reasons for communicating rather than as a set of grammatical items allows a teacher or materials writer to focus on the learner’s communicative needs. This way of seeing language was important in the development of the communicative approach.

Example

"I took Russian lessons a few years ago. We spent our time learning and using the language for functions such as apologising, expressing cause and effect, describing, giving opinions, disagreeing. You could see immediately the reason why you were learning these things." 

Further reading

Howatt, A. P. R. and Widdowson, H.G. ed.s. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Van Ek, J.K. and Trim J. (1998) Threshold 1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1992). ELT and EL Teachers. ELT Journal 46/4. Oxford University Press.

 

 

Discourse marker

A discourse marker is a word or group of words, often at the beginning of a sentence or utterance, which signal(s) to the listener or reader the direction in which the speaker or writer intends to continue what they are saying. Examples of discourse markers are as I was saying, to sum up, by the way. Linkers are also sometimes said to be discourse markers.

Example

"It’s useful to teach discourse markers to learners. They help learners structure what they are saying or writing and make the purpose of what they are saying clearer."

Further reading

Cook, G. (1989) Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hedge, T. (2005). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005) Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: Macmillan.

Widdowson, H.G. (2007) Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Colligation

A type of collocation in which words are linked together at the level of grammar rather than meaning e.g. in a hurry, what about sending an email (what + about + gerund).  Michael Hoey says ‘The basic idea of colligation is that just as a lexical item may be primed to co-occur with another lexical item, so also it may be primed to occur in or with a particular grammatical function. Alternatively, it may be primed to avoid appearance in or co-occurrence with a particular grammatical function.’ (Hoey 2005:43).

Example

"Students sometimes make mistakes of colligation, for example: I know what do you mean; I don’t mind go work on Sundays."

Further reading

Hoey. M. (2005). Lexical Priming. London: Routledge.

Mitchell, T. (1971).Linguistic ‘goings-on’: collocations and other lexical matters arising on the linguistic record, Archivum Linguisticum 2.

O’Keefe, A., McCarthy, M., Carter, R. (2007). From Corpus to Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to Teach Vocabulary. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Collocation

Two or more words that occur together more often than on a random basis are said to collocate or to be collocations. Collocations may be strong e.g. blond hair. In strong collocations the words can rarely, if ever, be replaced by other words. Other collocations are weaker or weak e.g. grey hair. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with chunk. In this sense collocation can cover e.g.: phrasal verbs, compound words, idioms, fixed expressions.

Others use collocation to refer mainly to two- or three-word groups that frequently occur together. Corpora making use of concordance programmes have helped linguists find collocations in language and realise how very common they are.

Example

"To have a shower is a collocation in UK English and Australian, whereas to take a shower is a much more common collocation in the USA."

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach. Boston, Mass., Thomson Heinle.

McCarthy, M. and O’Dell, F. (2005). Collocations in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Keefe, A., McCarthy, M., Carter, R. (2007). From Corpus to Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walter, E. and Woodford, K. (2010).Collocations Extra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Functional language

This is language which is an exponent (expression) of a particular language function. For example, if you consider language from a grammatical perspective, Why don’t you get a haircut? is, of course, an example of a negative question form. But it is also a functional exponent of suggesting. The function of a piece of language is the communicative purpose for which it was produced e.g. to invite, to hypothesise, to describe, to greet.

Example

"When I learnt French at school I was taught loads of grammar and vocabulary but very little functional language that would help me get things done through the language."

Further reading

Green, A. (2012). Language Functions Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Halliday, M.A.K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 2nd edition. London: Edward Arnold.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Wilkins, D. (1976). Notional Syllabuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Interlanguage

The version of the target language spoken by a learner at any given time during the period of learning . A learner’s interlanguage will change and develop as they become more proficient. Some aspects of it may fossilize as their proficiency develops.

Example

"Learners’ interlanguage can develop quickly if they get enough exposure – you see the way they use different grammatical structures with more precision, the range and appropriateness of vocabulary use and the clarity of their pronunciation really changing fast."

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1994). Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brown, H.D. (1994). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Lightbown, P. and Spada, S.  (2006). How Languages are Learned, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pitt Corder, S. (1991). Error Analysis and Interlanguage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rutherford, W.E. (1987). Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching. Harlow: Longman.

Skehan, P. (1994.) Second language acquisition strategies, interlanguage development and task-based learning, in Bygate, M., A. Tonkyn, and E. Williams, Grammar and The Language Teacher. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

 

 

Affective filter

Certain researchers into language acquisition, particularly Stephen Krashen, maintain that language learning is facilitated or obstructed by an ‘affective filter’. The filter is made up of attitudes or feelings which are said to control and select the input learners absorb from their environment. If their affective filter is set low, learners are open to receiving input. If it is set high, because they are stressed/ anxious/ poorly motivated etc., then they are not open to receiving input.

Example

"For some unknown reason, he just loved Spanish and took in everything he heard – his affective filter was clearly set low."

Further reading

Ellis, R. (1983).Review of Krashen’s principles and practice in second language acquisition. ELT Journal 37/3. Oxford University Press.

Gass, S. (1997). Input, Interaction and the Second Language Learner. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Krashen, S.D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

VanPatten, B. and Williams, J. (eds) (2007). Theories in Second Language Acquisition: an introduction. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 

 

Lexical chain

A lexical chain is a series of words used in a text that are linked to the same lexical field, including synonyms and related terms. A lexical chain is one source of cohesion in a text.

Example

"In the sentence 'Elephants have long trunks and tusks, which distinguish elephants from many other animals’, ‘elephant’, ‘trunks’, ‘tusks’, and ‘animals’ all form a lexical chain in that they all relate to the lexical field of elephants."

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (1997). About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005) Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://aeo.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/Files/Cohesion/Cohesion%201.pdf

 

 

Authentic task

An authentic task is a task carried out in the classroom that has all the characteristics of a real-life task carried out outside the classroom i.e. it is done for a purpose unrelated to language learning, and language is used purely in order to get the task done. Some people are strong advocates of using only authentic tasks in the classroom, while some believe authentic tasks need to be balanced with tasks that focus on language. Others think it is difficult to achieve a truly authentic task in the classroom as the tasks will have been contrived in some way by the teacher. Examples of authentic tasks are project work, carrying out surveys, group presentations.

Example

"Authentic tasks work very well with some learners. Others prefer more structured activities. It depends a lot on their learning style."

Further reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilmore, A. (2004). A comparison of textbook and authentic interactions. ELT Journal 58/4. Oxford University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Appropriacy

This refers to the degree of fit or suitability that there is between a piece of language and the social context in which it is used. When the piece of language matches the social context it is said to be appropriate. When it doesn’t match it is said to be inappropriate. To match, it needs to be of the equivalent degree of formality. Appropriacy can be seen in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar or discourse. The terms appropriacy and appropriateness are often used interchangeably in this meaning.

Example

"I learnt my English by chatting informally with friends. When I started working in an office I had to make a definite effort to get the appropriacy of my language right."

Further reading

Carter, R. and Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

McDonough, J. and Shaw, C. (1993). Materials and methods in ELT. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.

 

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/appropriacy

 

 

Awareness-raising

A technique used by teachers to make students aware of features of language or of language learning strategies. Becoming aware of something is part of noticing it.

Example

"When our teacher taught us new vocabulary she used to ask questions like: What was the vowel sound in that word? Where is the word stress? The questions helped to raise our awareness of things we might not have noticed otherwise."

Further reading

Carter, R. (2003). Key concepts in ELT: language awareness. ELT Journal 57/1. Oxford University Press.

Oxford, R. (1990). Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. New York: Newbury House Publisher

Schmidt, R. (1993). Awareness and Second Language Acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 13. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/awareness-raising

 

 

CCQ/ICQ

These are two kinds of questions the teacher asks in the classroom. CCQs refer to Concept Checking Questions and are used by a teacher to check that students have understood the meaning of new language (word, grammar, function etc) or the form. CCQs need not necessarily in fact be questions; they might, for example, be gestures, sentences for completion or pictures but their purpose is to check understanding. They also aim at getting the student to think about new language and draw conclusions about it, thus encouraging inductive learning. Is it talking about the past or now?  is an example of a CCQ that a teacher might ask when introducing the past tense to learners.

ICQs are Instruction Checking Questions. These are used after a teacher has given instructions to make sure students have understood what they need to do. They might refer to the language to be used in the activity or to the procedure to use. They aim to ensure that students are on track before they begin an activity so as not to waste time or be confused. Like CCQs, ICQs are often phrased as binary choices e.g. Must you write or talk first? Should you tick or underline the new words?

Example

I try to use different ways of checking concepts e.g. asking students to mime, asking them to explain the meaning in their own words, eliciting examples – in this way the CCQs don’t become routine or meaningless. With ICQs I only ask them when the task is a bit complicated and could be misunderstood. Otherwise students can feel they’re being patronised.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. and Watkins, P. (2007) The CELTA Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/concept-checking

 

 

Clause

Clause is a grammatical term that refers to a sentence or part of sentence containing in English a subject and a finite verb at least. A clause may be main or subordinate.

Example

Here is an example of a main clause: Judy wrote her friend an email. Here is an example of the same main clause together with three subordinate clauses, one of time, one of reason and one of concession.  After she got home, Judy sent her friend an email because she needed some information urgently, even though it was late at night.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Coherence

In English language teaching coherence refers to the ways in which a piece of discourse ‘makes sense’ through links in meaning. It does this by using various internal devices such as logical sequencing, adherence to a particular genre, accepted forms of text structuring, but also by referring to accepted external conventions and ways of thinking and experiencing in the outside world, such as adherence to one topic, relevance between topics, shared knowledge.

Example

"A: That's the telephone.

B: I'm in the bath.

A: O.K."

(Widdowson, H. 1978, p. 12)

Further reading

Canale. M.and Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1/1.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/coherence

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/methodology-questions/methodology-coherence-and-cohesion/154867.article

 

 

Cohesion

This is the way in which language is used in written or spoken discourse to make it link together. Cohesion is achieved by using lexical or grammatical devices such as lexical fields, substitution, ellipsis, linking words, discourse markers, back (anaphoric) and forward (cataphoric) reference.

 Example

"'I never understand what he’s saying, so I bought a tennis racket.'

This sentence is cohesive through its use of a lexical field and linking words, but it’s not coherent – it just doesn’t make sense."

Further reading

Canale. M.and Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1/1.

Cook, G. (1989). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday M. A. K. and Hasan R. (1976) Cohesion in English Harlow: Longman

Hoey, M. (1991). Patterns of Lexis in Text. Oxford: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/coherence

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/methodology-questions/methodology-coherence-and-cohesion/154867.article

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/cohesion

 

 

Collaborate

This simply means working together with others. Learners can work together to achieve their learning aims by supporting one another in various ways. Teachers can also collaborate e.g. colleagues working together on assessment, lesson planning or course book selection. Collaboration amongst teachers and also amongst learners is a feature of CLIL.

Example

"In some classrooms you can see a collaborative approach to learning. Learners help one another by becoming ‘study buddies’ out of class, and in class they work together on tasks, helped by their teacher to develop collaborative learning strategies."

Further reading

Charles Hirsch, C. and Beres Supple, D.  (1996). 61 Cooperative Learning Activities in ESL. Walch Publishing.

Nunan, D. (1992). Collaborative Language Learning and Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999).  A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.collaborativelearning.org/

 

 

Connotation

A connotation is the emotional association attached to a word collectively or by an individual. For examples, dogs in some cultures have the connotation of being soft, loyal creatures. In other cultures they are considered dangerous and dirty. Knowing the connotation of a word is part of knowing a word.

Example

"My personal connotation for yoghurt is as something healthy, light and eaten at breakfast. For my mother it was something weird and unfamiliar."

Further reading

Gairns, R. and Redman, S. (1986). Working with Words: a guide to teaching and learning vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Klippel, F. (1994). Cultural aspects in foreign language teaching.  Journal for the Study of British Cultures. I/1.

Schmitt, N. and  McCarthy, M.  (ed.s) (1997). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tomalin, B. and Stempleski, S. (1993). Cultural Awareness.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/v-is-for-vocabulary-teaching/

 

 

Discourse

This refers to stretches of connected written or spoken language that are usually more than one sentence or utterance long. Seeing stretches of language as discourse rather than sets of grammatical patterns allows us to analyse it for both the internal linguistic links it contains and the external links it makes to our knowledge of the world.

Example

"When I learnt English at school we rarely used language as discourse. The teacher limited our language use mainly to short sentences. We certainly never looked at things like coherence and cohesion."

Further reading

McCarthy, M. (1991). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (1997). About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence: Introducing Discourse Analysis. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/discourse

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/d-is-for-discourse/

 

 

Discourse analysis

The study of how sentences and utterances join together to make ‘wholes’, i.e. study of the various ways in which sentences or utterances achieve coherence and cohesion.

Example

"Discourse analysis has made us aware of all the different cohesive devices there are in writing, for example, conjunctions, backward and forward referencing, substitution.  Knowing about these things helps us to teach learners to write better."

Further reading

Celce-Murcia, M,. & Olshtain, E. (2000).Discourse and Context in Language Teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hatch, E. (1992).Discourse and Language Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Johnson, K. (1995).Understanding Communication in Second Language Classrooms.New York: Cambridge University Press.

McCarthy, M. (1992). Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0107demo.html

 

 

Discrete

Isolated, distinct, by itself. This term is used to refer to the teaching or testing of language items, when they are focussed on separately from others and in a minimal context. A teacher might, for example, give students an exercise just practising modal must, or a drill on the word stress in new vocabulary.

In language tests, multiple choice is often used to provide a discrete focus on specific grammar items. Correction is often discrete too, focussing on specific language items.

Example

"When I listened to my students doing a group discussion it was clear they were having real problems with the forms of some irregular past tenses, so the next lesson I just focussed on these, doing noticing activities and exercises – a discrete approach – before combining them into another group discussion in the following lesson."

Further reading

Davies, A. Brown, A. et al. (1999). Dictionary of Language Testing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999).  A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/discrete-item

 

 

Drilling

Drilling is a teaching technique in which the teacher asks the students to repeat several times items of language that they are learning. These can be vocabulary, structures, sounds or functions. Drilling, which involves students in responding to a prompt, originated in the behaviourist approach to learning and was intended to reinforce learning through habit formation. Many now criticise drilling for being a passive, boring and uncreative way of learning language. Others think it has a place in providing accuracy practice and security for learners at early moments of learning something new. There are various kinds of drill, for example:  whole class, individual, repetition, substitution, transformation.

Example

"Whenever I teach new vocabulary I ask my students to repeat it after me, sometimes four or five times. I make sure to listen carefully to their responses, and try to make the drill interesting by e.g. asking them to say things very quietly, very loudly, very slowly, very quickly etc. I think drilling, in small doses, helps learners, especially those who lack confidence."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (2009). Grammar Practice Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Display question

This is a question that a teacher asks in the classroom in order to get the student to ‘display’ or show their learning rather than because the teacher is interested in the information content of the reply. In fact, the teacher often knows the answer to a display question before it is given. Display questions are sometimes criticised for being rather meaningless and non-communicative but they can in fact be useful in checking learning. Display questions are often contrasted with referential questions (See Referential Questions).

Example

In this exchange the teacher’s first question is a display question whereas the second is not.

Teacher: Maria, what’s the past of ‘tell’?

Maria: told

Teacher: Can you tell us what you think about using YouTube in the classroom?

Maria: It’s great – it really makes us interested in the lesson.

Further reading

Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010). Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Tsui, A.B.M. (1995). Introducing Classroom Interaction. London: Penguin

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/display-questions

 

 

Delexical verb

These are verbs that when used with their common collocations have little meaning of their own, the meaning coming from the collocation as a whole e.g. to have a shower, to take a bath, to make a mistake.

Example

Delexical verbs in collocations are a good example of the importance of learning chunks of language rather than trying to work out the meaning of each single word.

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach. Brighton: Language Teaching Publications.

Hill, J. (1999) Collocational Competence. ETP/11.

Willis, J. and Willis, D. (1996). Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Oxford:

Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching.

 

 

Acquisition

The way in which languages are learnt unconsciously or ‘picked up’ by exposure to comprehensible input. In this definition, the term acquisition is used in contrast to learning, which is seen as a deliberate and conscious process of rule learning and self-monitoring of language use. However the terms acquisition and learning are used interchangeably by some writers.

Example

"She learnt Portuguese simply through acquisition – hearing and reading it all around her and chatting with friends. She never studied it."

Further reading

Doughty, C. and Williams, J. (1998). Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lightbown, P. and Spada, S.  (2006). How languages are learned, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford  University Press.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Acronym

A set of letters containing the first letters of a group of words that is a name or phrase e.g. ELT (English Language Teaching), TBC (to be confirmed), UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). Acronyms often belong to particular contexts and may not be understood by people outside that context e.g. acronyms used in ELT, such as PPP, TBL, TPR, TTT. Some definitions distinguish between acronyms and initialisms (where the first letters of a phrase are pronounced letter by letter rather than as a word e.g. scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus).

Example

"Many people don’t understand all the acronyms used in textese as there are always so many new ones, and some like LOL have more than one meaning."

Further reading

Crystal, D. (2008). Txtng: The Gr8 Db8. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php

Teacher Acronym Song

 

 

Approach

An approach to language teaching is the set of beliefs on which that teaching is based. The beliefs cover what language is, how it is used and learnt. From these beliefs a set of teaching practices are built. The terms method and approach are sometimes used interchangeably, with approach being used nowadays more commonly than method, perhaps because it implies a less rigid set of teaching practices than method, e.g. The Lexical Approach v the Direct Method.

Example

"The Communicative Approach is based on a wide view of what constitutes language and language use. What methods should be used to teach this language and language use are still hotly debated."

Further reading

Hedge, H. (2000) Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Larsen Freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and Practice in Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Meddings, L. and Thornbury, S.  (2009) Teaching unplugged. Peaslake: Delta.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/tag/humanistic-approaches/

 

 

Article

This is a grammatical term that refers to a type of determiner. Articles, in English, are used before a noun or noun group to indicate whether the noun is specific/ definite or general/ indefinite in its reference. In English, the definite article is the, the indefinite article is a/an, and we sometimes see mention of a ‘zero article’. This refers to plural nouns or uncountable nouns that are indefinite in reference and have no article before them.

Example

Can you pass me an apple? (Indefinite article referring to an unspecified apple).

The apple you gave me yesterday was quite delicious. (Definite article referring to a specific apple).

Apples are meant to be good for your health. (Zero article referring to apples in general).

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/determiners-and-quantifiers/definite-article

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1456_gramchallenge24/

 

 

Audio-lingual

The audio-lingual method focussed on drilling key language structures orally. It was popular in the 1950s and 1960s, and derived from the behaviourist belief that repetition helped form habits. Although it has since been shown that repetition is not key to learning language, the method continues to be used by some teachers, often as a part of PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production).

Example

"We used to spend lesson after lesson repeating lines in dialogues, as a class and individually. It probably helped our memories, but we never used the language freely, and it could get boring."

Further reading

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010) Longman Dictionary of Language and Applied Linguistics. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Cognitive

Related to mental abilities or skills. Cognitive is the adjective from cognition which refers to the mental processes of perception and thinking that our brains engage in.

Example

"Cognitive skills such as remembering, evaluating, analysing and creating are often classified into higher and lower-order thinking skills."

Further reading

Anderson, L.W. (Ed.), Krathwohl, D.R. (Ed.), Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Complete edition). New York: Longman.

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (1997). Second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/RevisedBlooms1.html

 

 

 

Conjunct/Disjunct

A conjunct is another term for a linker. A conjunct is a word or phrase which links a previous sentence or utterance to the next one by showing the sense relationship between them. Conjuncts may be conjunctions, adverbs or discourse markers.

A disjunct is an adverb used in a sentence as an attitude marker to indicate the speaker’s or writer’s point of view. A disjunct often modifies the meaning of the whole sentence. Confusingly, it is sometimes also referred to as a discourse marker.

Example

Then, however, in other words, as I was saying, but, although are all examples of kinds of conjuncts. They show different kinds of relationship between two sentences e.g. concession, contrast, result, summation. Here is an example of a conjunct showing a relationship of time: She filled up her car with petrol then went to the bank.

In the following sentence ‘Actually’ is an example of a disjunct: Actually, I’ve no idea what he meant.  It shows the speaker’s attitude to the rest of the sentence. Some other examples of disjuncts are frankly, to be honest, honestly, personally, fortunately.

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (1997). About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Conversion

Conversion is a linguistic term that describes a word’s change from one grammatical category to another. An example of this in English is ‘to big something up’ where the adjective ‘big’ is nowadays often combined with ‘up’ to make a phrasal verb meaning ‘to recognise the importance of something’ or ‘to praise’ it.

The term ‘conversion’ is often used interchangeably with ‘functional shift’, though some people say that conversion refers to a change in lexical meaning while functional shift refers to a change in syntactic meaning.

Example

English is full of words that are the result of conversion, for example the verb to hand from the noun hand, using a colour adjective as a noun e.g. the Reds, the Greens, the Blacks, or using up as a verb in e.g. after the meal, they just upped and went home.

Further reading

Crystal, D. (2004). The Stories of English. New York: The Overlook Press.

Fowler, H.W. (2000). Fowler's Modern English Usage. New York: Oxford University Press.

Huddleston, R. & Pullam, G. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010). Harlow: Pearson.

 

 

Fluency

Fluency is the ability to speak over stretches of language smoothly, naturally and without too much hesitation or pausing. Fluency is sometimes also used to refer to writing. In this case it means writing with ease – coherently and with flow.

Example

"He was a native speaker but he spoke so slowly – he was always searching for words, hesitating and pausing. His lack of fluency made him a bit difficult to pay attention to and understand."

Further reading

Bygate, M. (1987). Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (ed.)  (2005). Planning and Task Performance in a Second Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hedge, T. (1993) Key concepts in ELT: Fluency. ELT Journal 47/3. Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P. (1998). A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). The A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2009/12/17/f-is-for-fluency/

 

 

Form/forms

These are the ways through which language is expressed, for example, in grammar they refer to grammatical patterns, in pronunciation to sounds, stress and intonation and in writing to handwriting and spelling. Learners learning a language need to learn both the forms of language and the meanings they convey. Form in language learning is related particularly to accuracy.

Example

"Some people find languages like French, Spanish and Italian quite difficult to learn as each verb tense and person has a distinct form. Remembering all of them can be a headache."

Further reading

Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/f-is-for-focus-on-form/

 

 

Gerund

This is a grammatical term referring in English to a verb + -ing form which acts as a noun. Because it is a noun it is not the same as the –ing form used in the present participle. Some grammars use the term ‘-ing form’ to refer to both gerunds and present participles and do not distinguish between the two.

Example

You often find gerunds as subjects on notices e.g. Running in the playground is forbidden, Talking after lights go out is forbidden, Driving over the speed limit carries a £60 fine.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Fowler, H.W. (1926). A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Graded reader

A graded reader is a book in which the language has been graded or adapted to match a particular level of proficiency e.g. A2, B2. Graded readers may be newly written or adaptations of existing books. They can include any genre of writing. They sometimes include a glossary and activities on the text. The purpose of graded readers is to provide learners with additional exposure to language, often out of class, and develop their reading skills.

Example

When I was learning English, my teacher used to feed me with graded readers as she knew I loved reading. I used to read at least one graded reader a week and was soon able to move on to ‘real books’.

Further reading

Cambridge English Readers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

MacMillan Readers. Oxford: MacMillan.

Oxford Bookworms Collection: Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/teaching-tips/using-gradedreaders-0

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/extensive-reading- Extensive reading. by Graham Stanley

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/reading-out-loud - Reading aloud, by James Houltby.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/section.asp?docid=146513 Using Readers in the ESL, EFL Classroom, by Lindsay Clandfield with Jo Budden

 

 

Idiom

An idiom is a formulaic expression with one overall meaning. It is often not possible to work out the meaning of an idiom just by looking at its individual words, as idioms often carry a lot of cultural meaning, for example she made a real dog’s breakfast of her homework; a little birdie told me you’ve had some very good news. There are several different kinds of idioms such as phrasal verbs, similes, metaphors, proverbs and euphemisms.

Example

"My English is pretty fluent but I still have problems understanding idioms. What does ‘let’s go for a whirl’ mean, for example, or ‘I really like chilling out with friends’?  It’s not easy to learn this kind of English at school."

Further reading

Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd edition. (2006). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach. Boston, Mass., Thomson Heinle.

McCarthy, M. and O’Dell, F. (2002) English Idioms in Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.visual-idioms.com/

 

 

Imperative

The part of the verb used to give orders or instructions. In English the positive form of the imperative  is the base form without ‘to’ e.g. brush your teeth, keep quiet, drive carefully. Its negative form is don’t/ do not + base form e.g. don’t worry about that, don’t forget your keys, don’t lose it.

Example

It’s quite important to teach the register of the imperative in English. Learners sometimes think it’s the same as a polite imperative in their own language and don’t realise that in English it can be quite direct and abrupt.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, econd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-games/imperatives

 

 

Integrated

This term is used to refer to a way of teaching language skills and to types of syllabus. A lesson which extends work on one skill into another is called an integrated skills lesson. For example, learners could do work on a listening text on a particular topic then do a speaking activity that picks up on the language of the same topic, or they could do work on a reading text then develop their ideas and language by writing about the topic of the reading text.

An integrated syllabus is one which tries to ensure that the different syllabus components support one another e.g. the vocabulary enables the grammar, the grammar enables the functions.

Example

"I like using integrated skills in class. I think this approach gives learners an opportunity to consolidate and extend their language in a different context or skill."

Further reading

McDonough, J. and Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and Methods in ELT, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Nunan, D. and Carter, R. (2001). Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Selinker, L. and Russell, S. (1986). An empirical look at the integration and separation of skills in ELT. ELT Journal 40/3. Oxford University Press.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/skills/integrated-skills/

 

 

Learning aim

A learning aim is something that the teacher intends her students will learn during a lesson, and that she designs her lesson around in order for that learning to take place. It may also refer to the learning goals of a course or syllabus. The term is often used interchangeably with the term objective.

Example

"My aims in my last lesson were:

- To present and practise new adjectives for describing people

- To give students oral fluency practice in describing one another

- To give students written practice in describing their families"

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. and Watkins, P. (2007) The CELTA Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Watkins, P. 2005. Learning to Teach English: A practical introduction for new teachers. Peaslake: Delta Publishing.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/a-is-for-aims/

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/dogme

 

 

Lexical cohesion

Lexical cohesion refers to the lexical devices used in spoken or written discourse to help join texts together. These devices include lexical chains, lexical sets, repetition of words, substitution and ellipsis.

Example

"The lexical cohesion in this sentence is in italics: I went to Paris as a child. I remember it as a very lovely city. Cities though are full of problems these days so I imagine the capital of France is too now."

Further reading

Flowerdew, J. and Mahlberg, M. (2009). Lexical Cohesion and Corpus Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Halliday, M.A.K; and Ruqayia Hasan (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Hoey, Michael (1991): Patterns of Lexis in Text. Oxford: OUP.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://grammar.about.com/od/c/g/cohesionterm.htm

 

 

Lexical item

A lexical item is a word or group of words with a single meaning.  Here, for example, are five lexical items: look after, quick as a flash, potato, at, waste paper basket.  A lexical item may have more than one form e.g. child and children are one lexical item as are sleep, sleeping, slept. Thornbury (2006) defines a lexical item as ‘any item that functions as a single meaning unit, regardless of its different derived forms, or the number of words that make it up’. Estimates of proficient or learner speaker vocabulary size are normally based on lexical items rather than words.

Example

"You recognise a lexical item through the unit of meaning it conveys."

Further reading

Aitchison, J. 1987. Words in the Mind: An introduction to the mental lexicon. Oxford:Blackwell.

Lewis, M (1997). Implementing the lexical approach. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Nation, I.S.P. 1990. Teaching and Learning Vocabulary. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Schmidt, N. (2000).  Vocabulary in language teaching, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nation, Paul, and Robert Waring. "Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists”

http://www.fltr.ucl.ac.be/fltr/germ/etan/bibs/vocab/cup.html

Thornbury, S. (2006). A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/v-is-for-vocabulary-size/

 

 

Lexicon

A lexicon is the set of vocabulary that makes up a language. The grammar of a  language and its lexicon are often considered its key components. Different professions and subjects are also said to have their own lexicon, as are individual children and language learners. Some experts only include individual words in a lexicon, others include chunks and collocations.

Example

"A young child’s lexicon will be very different from that of an adult language learner."

Further reading

Fitzpatrick, T. and Barfield, A. (2009) Lexical Processing in Second Language Learners: Papers and Perspectives in Honour of Paul Meara (Second Language Acquisition. Multilingual Matters.

Nation, P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/lexicon

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/26/leixical-approach-revolution

 

 

Loop input

A method of carrying out teacher training / development sessions in which the trainer carries out activities for training that have the same design and focus as activities for use in the language learning classroom. For example, a training course could start off with a Find Someone Who activity about teachers’ use of ice-breakers and mingling in class. The trainer would then go on to refer to this activity when discussing the use of icebreakers / mingling activities / communicative activities. Loop input mirrors the activity in focus and allows participants to experience it and reflect on that experience.

Example

"On my training course the teacher once made us do an activity in which we had to put cards into two different categories: advantages and disadvantages of doing categorising activities.  She then suggested how we could use categorising activities in class and asked us what our opinion of doing them had been. I later found out that this was called a loop input approach to training – it’s a method that really helps you understand and evaluate different techniques."

Further reading

Woodward, T. (1991). Models and Metaphors in Language Teacher Training: Loop Input and Other Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Woodward, T. (2003). Key concepts in ELT: loop Input. ELT Journal 57/3.

http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/3/301.full.pdf

http://elteachertrainer.com/2010/05/28/do-we-still-use-%E2%80%98loop-input%E2%80%99-these-days/

 

 

Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS)

Thinking skills are often divided into higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and lower order thinking skills (LOTS). Lower order thinking skills include remembering, understanding and applying. Generally speaking, LOTS involve focussing on and absorbing information, and less manipulation of information than HOTS do. (See Higher Order Thinking Skills). The division of thinking skills into HOTS and LOTS was made initially in the late 1940s by a committee of educators in Boston, Mass. chaired by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues. This taxonomy (known as Bloom’s Taxonomy) has been revised several times.

Example

"‘Tell me what you did in the holidays’ or ‘Describe your family’ are typical ELT LOTS questions. An example of a HOTS question might be ‘What do you think of that film’?’ or ‘Compare your town with London’. You don’t need to think so hard for LOTS answers and the language you need to use is often simpler."

Further reading

Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M. C. (2000). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Biggs, J. B. and Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the Quality of Learning: the SOLO taxonomy. New York, Academic Press.

Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Dale, L. and Tanner, R. (2012). CLIL Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

http://strobertwiki.wikispaces.com/HOTS+vs+LOTs

 

 

Metalanguage

The language and terms that we use to talk abstractly about language and language learning. This covers terms for grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, discourse and learning strategies. Teachers may use some metalanguage to talk to their learners about language or language learning e.g. ‘This is an indefinite pronoun’, ‘Try to work out what the best vocabulary learning strategies are for you’. Some learners, though not all, appreciate learning some metalanguage as they think it helps them to learn better.

The NILE Glossary contains many terms which make up the metalanguage of English language teaching, as does Scott Thornbury’s A-Z of ELT.

Example

"His lessons were full of so much metalanguage that I really didn’t have a clue what he was talking about."

Further reading

Allford, D. (2013). Vygotsky, metalanguage and language learning. The Language Learning Journal, 41/1.

Andrews, S. (2007). Teacher Language Awareness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.t

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/digitalAssets/110970_tkt_glossary_august_2009_final.pdf

 

 

Methodology

The typical practices, procedures and techniques that a teacher uses in the classroom, and that may or may not be based on a particular method. Methodology can also refer to the study of these practices, procedures and techniques and of the beliefs and principles on which they are based.

Example

"The methodology of the Structural Approach consisted mainly in listening to and repeating strictly graded grammatical structures."

Further reading

Kramsch, C. and Sullivan,  P. (1996) Appropriate pedagogy. ELT Journal 50/3.

Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.britishcouncil.org/srilanka-learning-resources-for-teachers-methodology-and-practice.htm

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Swan, M. A critical look at the Communicative Approach (1). ELT J (1985) 39 (1): 2-12.

Waters, A. (2012) Trends and issues in ELT methods and methodology. ELTJ  66 (4): 440-449.

Widdowson, H.G. (1985) Against dogma: A reply to Michael Swan. ELT J  39 (3): 158-161.

 

 

Modality

This is the way in which we express our attitude to what we are saying. We often associate modality with verbs (obligation, possibility, ability, necessity etc) but modality can also be expressed through adjectives, adverbs and nouns. This latter is called lexical modality.

Example

In the sentence He may come tomorrow we see modality expressed in the modal verb may. We can use lexical modality to express this too e.g. Perhaps he will come tomorrow (modal adverb), there’s a chance he will come tomorrow (modal noun), it’s possible he’ll come tomorrow (modal adjective).

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fachinetti, R., Krug, M.G/ Palmer, F.R. (2003) Modality in Contemporary English. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Monolingual learner dictionary

This is a learner dictionary (a dictionary that is graded to suit the learners’ language level and needs) in which the dictionary entries, explanations and examples are all in the target language.

Example

I have tried hard to encourage my students to use monolingual learner dictionaries so that they just think in the target language, but they keep using bilingual dictionaries instead. They say they find them more helpful.

Further reading

Chan, A. (2008).Why do learners prefer bilingualized dictionaries to monolingual dictionaries, or vice versa? Oxford University Research Archive.

Cowie, A.P. (2013). English Dictionaries for Foreign Learners, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schmitt, N. (Ed.) (2010). An Introduction to Applied Linguistics, 2nd edition. Abingdon: Routledge.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/using-dictionaries

 

 

Morpheme

Morphemes are the smallest meaningful and grammatical units in a word.  A morpheme ‘cannot be divided without altering or destroying its meaning’ (Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics, p.375). For example, phones contains two morphemes – phone and s; helpless contains two morphemes – help and less; table contains only one morpheme. Many morphemes are suffixes or prefixes, but there are also grammatical morphemes in English such as 3rd person singular s,  past tense –ed, and –ing in a gerund or present participle.

Example

In many vocabulary books you can find activities on word formation that in fact are based on morphemes e.g. deciding on the right prefix, matching parts of compound words, making opposites by adding the correct suffix.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010). Harlow: Pearson.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/morpheme

 

 

Multi-word unit

A group of words (e.g. a verb + adverb particle or preposition) which has a meaning as a whole and for which the meaning of the whole group of words is different from the meaning of each individual word. Multi-word units are often phrasal verbs, idioms, compounds. Examples of multi-word units are fall in love, a hand-set, once in a blue moon, to look after. It is useful for learners to learn these units as chunks rather than piecing them together from individual words. Multi-word units are sometimes referred to as polywords.

Example

"Learners seem to learn phrasal verbs more easily if they see each one as a multi-word unit which is a complete lexical item in itself, rather than as a verb + an adverb or preposition."

Further reading

Laufer, B. (1997). What’s in a word that makes it hard or easy: some interlexical factors that affect

the learning of words. In N. Schmitt and M. McCarthy (ed.s) Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition, Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lindstromberg, S. and Boers, F. (2008). Teaching Chunks of Language. Helbling Languages.

Nattinger, J.R. and DeCarrico, J.(1992) Lexical Phrases and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

https://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/digitalAssets/110970_tkt_glossary_august_2009_final.pdf

 

 

Open pairs

This term is used to refer to a classroom interaction pattern in which two students talk to one another across the class so that other students can listen to what they are saying. This pattern is used particularly to demonstrate how to carry out an activity or task, or to act as feedback on an activity or task just completed.

Example

"I often use open pairs in my class before the learners start an activity. I ask two students to carry out the activity in front of everyone else. In that way the others see what to do and also hear what language they could use."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/open-pairs

 

 

Part of speech

A part of speech is the grammatical function a word or phrase has in a sentence or utterance. Parts of speech have distinctive grammatical or morphological features.  In English, common parts of speech are: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, exclamation, pronoun, conjunction. Words can function as more than one part of speech e.g. a record, to record. Another term for part of speech is word class.

Example

"You have to work out the parts of speech of ‘that’ in this sentence before you can understand the sentence: That that that that man used was right." (E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.)

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999).  A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Participles

This is a grammatical term that refers in English to two parts of a verb: the present participle(e.g. studying) and the past participle (e.g. studied). Participles are non-finite parts of a verb, meaning that they don’t in themselves indicate time.

Example

Here’s an example of a mistake my students often make with the grammatical meaning of the present participle: Walking along the beach, the sun was bright and hot.

With the past participle their main problems seem to be remembering irregular forms, and their pronunciation and spelling too.

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/participles

 

 

Particle

This is a grammatical term for a word which has little meaning attached to it and does not obviously belong to any of the parts of speech but performs a grammatical or formal function. Examples of these in English are not and the prepositions or adverbs that are in phrasal verbs e.g. look up, look after.  We can see that in this context they don’t perform their usual grammatical function or retain their usual meaning.

Example

"In Chinese there are particles that show that a sentence is in the past or is a question."

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_particle

 

 

Personalisation

This is a teaching technique which involves the teacher using materials or teacher talk that makes a clear link to students’ own lives, interests or attitudes. The idea behind personalisation is that students will become more motivated and learn better when they can see that language has relevance to themselves.

Example

"We read a text about space travel then had a discussion about who amongst would like to do space travel, why and why not. This personalised the topic and made it real for us."

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999).  A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/personalisation

 

 

Phrase

A phrase is a group of words making up a meaningful unit in a clause. There are different kinds of phrases such as a verb phrase, a prepositional phrase, an adverbial phrase, a noun phrase. A phrase may or may not contain a verb.

Example

In this sentence there are four phrases all marked in different colours: Nobody wearing sandals will be allowed into the restaurant after 8 o’clock.

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1994) Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence

 

 

Pragmatics

This is the study of the meaning of language in context. It looks at how language is interpreted in particular situations. Its focus is not semantic meaning but contextual meaning, as contained in e.g. setting, the relationship between speakers, and knowledge of the world.

Example

In this dialogue, the response ‘Excellent news’ seems to indicate that the woman is pleased that Helen is sick. Another possible interpretation is that in fact the woman is pleased for another reason – that Helen has finally decided to take days off when she’s ill. Pragmatics would study the situation in which this dialogue took place to explore possible interpretations.

Man: Helen’s sick. She’s having the day off.

Woman: Excellent news – about time too.

Further reading

Bahtia, V., Flowerdew, J., Jones, R. (2007).  Advances in Discourse Studies, Oxford: Routledge.

Grundy, P. (2008). Doing Pragmatics. Oxford: Routledge.

Houck, N.R. and Tatsuki, D.H. (eds.) (2011). Pragmatics: Teaching Natural Conversation. Virginia: TESOL.

Rose K.R. and Kasper, G. (2001) Pragmatics in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tan, P. (1994). Key concepts in ELT: pragmatics. ELT Journal 48/1.

Thornbury, S., Slade, D. (2006). Conversation: From Description to Pedagogy. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Preposition

Preposition is a grammatical term for a word that shows a relationship between events, people or things such as time, proximity, place. Prepositions represent a word class/ part of speech. In English they are numerous, usually come before nouns or pronouns and can be used literally or figuratively.

Example

Prepositions can be easier to learn if they are taught as part of a chunk e,g, on time, at home, in pairs, look forward to, but unfortunately they are not all or always used in common chunks or collocations.

Further reading

Lindstromberg, S. (2010). English Prepositions Explained. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/preposition

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-reference/verbs-prepositions

 

 

Prescriptive

Prescriptive is a word used to describe an attitude to grammar that says what grammar should be used. Prescriptive grammars are based on an idea of what grammar should be used rather than what grammar is actually used. ‘Prescriptive’ is often contrasted with ‘descriptive’. Descriptive grammars describe how grammar is actually used.

Example

Prescriptive grammars of English used to tell us things like: you can’t use verbs of feeling in the present continuous, you can’t put a preposition at the end of a sentence, you can’t use that as a relative pronoun to refer to people. In fact, when you hear people talking they do things like that all the time e.g. I’m loving it, I don’t know which class she’s in, the student that I need to talk to is….….

Further reading

Cameron, D. (1995).Verbal Hygiene. London: Routledge.

Huddleston, R. (1984). Introduction to the Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Strevens, P. (1978).In Honour of A.S. Hornby. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/p-is-for-prescriptive/

 

 

Process writing

Process writing is an approach to writing that deliberately incorporates a focus on the stages in producing a piece of writing rather than focussing just on the product of the writing (product writing). The stages involved in writing are generating and developing ideas, planning and organising, drafting, editing, redrafting, proof-reading and publishing (i.e. making public). Many experts believe that by focussing learners on the stages of writing, process writing helps learners become aware of what writing demands of them, and what enables good writing.

Example

"One of the big problems my students have with their writing is not planning properly and not editing or proof-reading. When I introduce them to process writing it really seems to help them write better."

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Hedge T. (1988). Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kroll B. (1990). Second Language Writing: Research insights for the classroom. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press

Raimes A. (1983). Techniques in Teaching Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

White, R. and Arndt, V. (1991). Process Writing. Harlow: Longman.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/approaches-process-writing

 

 

Range

Range is a term used in assessment criteria and in syllabus design to refer to the breadth and variety of language (grammar or lexis) that is appropriate for use in a particular genre. For example, the range of language appropriate for use in a text message to a friend about when and where to meet up next is likely to be much narrower than the range needed in a tourist leaflet describing the attractions of an historic town. Teachers are also often encouraged in syllabuses to teach their students the features of an appropriate range of genres.

The semantic range of a word refers to its occurrence across several subsections of a corpus.

Example

"I’ve just marked Pedro’s essay – his grammatical range was really quite impressive-he used all the tenses he needed to use, simple and complex sentences, and a variety of conjunctions and discourse markers - just what was needed in that kind of formal essay."

Further reading

Nation, P. & Waring, R. “Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists” http://www.fltr.ucl.ac.be/fltr/germ/etan/bibs/vocab/cup.html

 

 

Mandative subjunctive

This is the use of the subjunctive ‘in a subordinate clause that follows an expression of command, demand, or recommendation’ (http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/Mandative-Subjunctive.htm), for example: they recommended that he get some work experience /she suggested he dress more smartly. It is formal in use and contrasts with the formulaic subjunctive in which the subjunctive is used in a chunk as part of a fixed expression e.g. heaven forbid, so be it, come rain come shine.

Example

The mandative subjunctive is rare in English, but not in some other languages. You really need to get a feel for when to use it – in romance languages it’s often used to express doubt, wishes or commands. Is it used in your language? When?

Further reading

Chalker, S. (1995).Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford University Press.

Leech, G. and Svartvik, J. (2003). A Communicative Grammar of English, 3rd edition. Oxford:Routledge.

http://grammar.about.com/od/mo/g/Mandative-Subjunctive.htm)

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/s-is-for-subjunctive/

 

 

Recall

To remember something, often with the help of prompts or clues.

Example

"To recall new vocabulary I often try to use a clue – for example, the Italian for ‘bell’ is campana – if you say it slowly hanging on the ‘n’, to me it sounds just like a big bell ringing. When I hear a bell ringing now, the word campana often automatically comes into my mind."

Further reading

Bilborough, N. (2011).  Memory Activities for Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Skehan, P. (1998). A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Takac, V.P. (2008). Vocabulary Learning Strategies and Foreign Language Acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

 

 

Recycle

Teachers recycle language when they deliberately bring items of language that have already been taught to learners’ attention or for learners’ use a second or further time. The purpose of recycling is to give learners further exposure to particular language items.  Coursebook designers often build recycling into their materials, as do syllabus writers who adopt a spiral approach, dealing with the same item again but in greater detail.

Example

"That book is really good because it recycles the main language points, giving learners the chance to extend their understanding and use of what they’ve learnt before."

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2012). Teacher knowledge, Harlow: Pearson.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Referential question

A referential question is a question a teacher or student asks because they genuinely want to find out the answer to the question. Referential questions are often contrasted with display questions (See Display Questions), which are asked so as to give the student an opportunity to ‘display’ their knowledge or ability. In language teaching, referential questions are often associated with the warm-up stage of a lesson or with free practice activities. They often lead to a use of language that the teacher cannot predict, and tend to involve use of higher order thinking skills (See HOTS).

Example

In the dialogue below, the teacher’s first question is a display question, asked to check whether the student knows the word ‘architect’. The teacher knows the answer to this question. The teacher’s second question is referential. The teacher is unlikely to know the answer to it, and answering it involves the student in using their own ideas and unpredictable language.

Teacher: What’s the name of the person who draws plans for designing and building houses?

Student: architect.

Teacher. That’s right. Do you think that’s an interesting job? Why?

Student: I’d love to be an architect. To create new buildings must be wonderful.

Further reading

Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010). Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Tsui, A.B.M. (1995). Introducing Classroom Interaction. London: Penguin

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/referential-questions

 

 

Reflection grid

This is a grid or table often containing columns with these headings:  name, description, aims, comments. It can be used by learners or teachers to record and comment on points in a lesson. It is designed to aid reflection and evaluation on learning / teaching, with a view to possibly introducing changes.

Example

"The teacher gave us a reflection grid and during the lesson we jotted down our feelings and opinions on the different things we had done. Then at the end of the lesson we discussed what we had written. It was a good way of getting solid feedback and thinking about what helps you to learn best."

Further reading

Murray, D. and Christison, M.A. (2011). What English Language Teachers Need to Know, Volume 11. Abingdon: Oxon: Routledge.

Richards, J. and Lockhart, C. (1994). Reflective Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/The-Reflection-Grid-6266266/

 

 

Register

Register has two meanings. It is sometimes used to refer to the type of language (particular vocabulary, grammar or discourse features) that characterises particular fields of language use e.g. nuclear physics, hip hop music, football.

It is also used to refer to the degree of formality of language use, with language generally classified as formal, neutral or informal. The study of register is part of sociolinguistics.

Example

"One of the hardest things to learn in a foreign language is using register i.e. what language it is appropriate to use in what context."

Further Reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ghadessy, M. (1994) Key concepts in ELT. ELTJ 48/3 http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/eltj/keyconcepts.html

Halliday, M.A.K., McIntosh, A., Strevens, P. (1964). The linguistic sciences and language teaching. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press.

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A history of English language teaching. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

 

 

Schema theory

Schema theory maintains that we develop frameworks in our heads for making sense of and organising information about different concepts, topics and phenomena in the world, and that these frameworks influence how we understand new information. If we can find a link between our schemata and new information, it helps us to process it. For this reason, many lessons include a warmer activity on the lesson’s topic that aims to activate and bring to mind learners’ knowledge, attitudes towards, and experience of the topic.

Example

"We had to do some comprehension work on a text about Charles Darwin. So, I did a warmer activity to help activate my learners’ schemata about him. But what I found was that no one had ever heard of him or what he did. That made the comprehension work much more difficult as the students couldn’t really relate to or see the relevance of what we were reading."

Further reading

Carrell, P.L., Devine, J. and Eskey, D.E. (eds) (1988). Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cook, G. (1997). Key concepts in ELT: schemas. ELT Journal 51/1. Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Widdowson, H.G. (1983). Learning Purpose and Language Use. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://iteslj.org/Articles/Stott-Schema.html

 

 

Semantic field

A semantic field, also called a lexical field, is a set of words all related to the same subject or topic area. These words need not necessarily all be the same part of speech.

Example

We read a text in class the other day about food banks. After we’d done comprehension work on the text I asked the students to find in the text all the words related to the semantic field of materials. They found: tin, paper, polythene, wrapped, waste, cardboard, plastic, tray, light, water-proof, unwrap, a kilo, run out, use up, a load of….they found lots of them.

Further reading

Lewis, M.  (1993). The Lexical Approach. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

McCarthy, M. (1990). Vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Sentence

A sentence is a group of words which in English contains at least a subject and a verb and which is independent as it does not need completion to make sense. A sentence contains a main clause and possibly subordinate clauses, too. In writing, sentences start with a capital letter and end with a full stop.

Example

These phrases don’t make sense by themselves so they’re not sentences: in the park, arriving late, while they were waiting, whose glasses are black, she put her…

These are sentences: They played in the park. Tthe bell rang while they were waiting. The woman whose glasses are black never speaks. She put her hand up.

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1994) Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence/sentence-structure

 

 

Skewed input

This  is a characteristic of input language to which learners are exposed. Skewed input refers to particular language features occurring regularly or unusually often in the input rather than the input being varied in the language features it contains. Research is trying to establish whether skewed or more balanced input is more beneficial to language acquisition.

Example

In materials following the structural approach to language teaching, you see inauthentic  texts in which many examples of a particular structure have been deliberately included so as to provide students with multiple exposure to that structure. This kind of repetition of a structure can occur in authentic texts but is less common. Some researchers are trying to find out whether multiple exposure to the same structure, i.e. skewed input, helps learners to acquire language.

Further reading

DeKeyser, R. (2003). Implicit and explicit learning. In J. and Doughty & M. Long (Eds.),

Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford, MA: Blackwell.

Goldberg 2006 Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalisation in Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Robinson, P. and Ellis, N. (2008). Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. London: Routledge.

 

 

Skills

Skills are the way in which language is used. There are four language skills: reading, listening, writing and speaking, the first two of these being known as productive skills and the latter two as receptive skills. To use these skills we employ a number of microskills. These are sometimes called subskills or strategies. They include for example, reading for gist, speaking intelligibly, writing coherently, listening for specific information.

Example

Some people argue these days that we don’t need to teach learners the subskills of language skills as they already use them in their own language and can just transfer them across. I’m not sure how true this is.

Further reading

Johnson, K. (2002). Key concepts in ELT: Language as Skill. ELT Journal 56/2.

Juan, E.U. and Flor, A.M. (2006). Current Trends in the Development and Teaching of the Four Language Skills. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching.Harlow: Pearson.

Scrivener, J. (2005). Learning Teaching, 2nd edition. Oxford: MacMillan.

Thornbury, S. and Watkins, P. (2007). The CELTA Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Subjective

This term is used in ELT to refer to types of assessment in which the assessor needs to use their judgement as to how correct an answer is, because the answer is open-ended and can be evaluated according to various different criteria. Speaking tests and essays are examples of subjective assessment formats. Two people listening to the same student speaking might grade him/her differently because they are listening for different things or because they give importance to different aspects of speaking.

Example

"I was worried about doing an interview as part of my test because I didn’t like my grade depending on the examiner’s judgment. But then they explained to me that the examiner had to work with specific defined criteria when grading, and that another examiner would be present to grade as well, so I realised my grade wouldn’t be subjective."

Further reading

Davies, A. Brown, A. et al. (1999). Dictionary of Language Testing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/digitalAssets/110970_tkt_glossary_august_2009_final.pdf

 

 

Superordinate

A superordinate is a lexical term. It refers to a word which is the name of a category, for example, fruit is the superordinate for oranges, apples, bananas, melon, strawberries etc. The things which make up the category are called hyponyms (See hyponym)

Example

Lots of games you play in class are based on superordinates. There is one called categories for example, where you give students a grid with a list of superordinates, then call out a letter of the alphabet. The first person to complete the grid with words beginning with that letter is the winner. Here’s an example of the grid:

 

Fruit

Furniture

Nationalities

Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see the superordinates at the top of the columns. Mind maps are often based on superordinates too.

Further reading

Berry, R.(2010). Terminology in English Language Teaching: Nature and Use. Bern: Peter Lang.

Cook, V. (2013). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. London: Routledge.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/hyponyms

 

 

Syntax

This is the way in which parts of speech are arranged in fixed sequences in sentences in order to make grammatical structures and meaning. What is acceptable syntax varies from language to language. An example of syntax in English is the inversion of subject and verb in question forms, or the order in statements, the positioning of adverbs or adjectives.

Example

"The grammar of some languages relies heavily on morphology to show meaning, whereas other languages make greater use of syntax to achieve this."

Further reading

Howatt, A. P. R. and Widdowson, H.G. ed.s. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Swan, M. (2005). Practical English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://teach-grammar.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/swan.pdf

 

 

Teacher Talking Time (TTT)

This is the class time the teacher takes up talking to the class, rather than allowing the students to talk or do activities. For many years it was recommended to teachers that they reduce their TTT so as to make their classes more learner-centred. Recently, however, it has been recognised that teacher talk can provide learners with a valuable source of exposure to language, listening practice and feedback.

Example

I know I used to talk ‘at’ my students too much. I have recorded myself teaching and realise from doing so that I used to almost ‘lecture’ my students. When they begin to get that ‘glassy-eyed look’ you know there has been too much TTT. I’ve tried to reduce those moments and my students now participate much more.

Further reading

Kumaravadivelu, B. (1993). Maximizing learning potential in the communicative classroom. ELT Journal 47/1.

Nunan, D. (1987). Communicative language teaching: making it work. ELTJournal 41/2.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (1996). Teachers research teacher talk. ELT Journal 50/4.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

van Lier, L. (1996)  Interaction in the Language Curriculum: Awareness, Autonomy and Authenticity. Harlow: Longman

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/teacher-talking-time

 

 

Tense

Tense is the grammatical form used in a verb to show the time of occurrence of an event or action.

Example

There are only two tenses in English, present and past. In They study English, study is an example of the present simple tense. In They studied English last year, studied  is an example of the past simple tense.

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1994) Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (1997).  About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Test Teach Test (TTT)

This is a way of teaching language which stands on its head the classic approach of presenting students with new language then asking them to practise it. In TTT the teacher first of all puts students in a situation where they need to use the target language so he/she can judge whether they know it or not, to what degree they know it and to make the students aware of their need for it. The teacher then presents the target language and gives the students activities in which they are encouraged to use it. The thinking behind TTT is that students shouldn’t be spoon-fed with language they may not really need or want, and that creating a need leads to greater motivation to learn and better language learning.

Example

I gave my students a role play the other day in which they took on roles as environmental inspectors. They then went round the school and surveyed its ‘green practices’. At the end they got into groups to decide on what measures needed to be taken and in what order. I just listened and took notes. After, I asked my students if there was any language they thought they’d needed for the activity and didn’t have. What they said agreed with my notes. They were having real problems with the language of suggestions and recommendations, and also with some more technical vocabulary. So, next lesson, I presented that language to them, and then asked them to do their group work on ‘green practices’ again. A colleague of mine had suggested I try this TTT approach. I was nervous beforehand but in fact it worked well as the students were keen to learn the new language.

Further reading

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lindsay, C. and Knight, P. (2006). Learning and Teaching EnglishA Course for Teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/test-teach-test

 

 

Threshold level

This term is used with two principal meanings in ELT. The first is to refer to the work by J.K. Van Ek and John Trim ‘The Threshold Level’ which was first published by the Council of Europe in 1989. This publication was amongst the first to specify per learning level the situations in which learners need to use English, and what grammar, vocabulary and functions they require to do so. The focus of the Threshold Level was mainly on survival language and it was very influential in syllabus and course book design in the 1980s and 1990s. The Threshold Level was considered to be the minimal level at which learners achieved functional ability in the language.

The other meaning for threshold level is the minimal level that learners need to be at in order to do something e.g. An IELTS band 5.5 is often given as the threshold level for university study through the medium of English.

Example

"Some people say that to start learning through CLIL learners must have reached threshold level in their own language first."

Further reading

Bialystok, E. (2001. Bilingualism in Development: Language, Literacy and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cummins, J. (1984) Bilingualism and Special Education. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Cummins, J. (2000) Language, Power and Pegagogy. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Rampton, B. (1990) Displacing the "native speaker": Expertise, affiliation and inheritance in ELT Journal 44/2.

Van Ek, J.K. and Trim J. (1998) Threshold 1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.englishprofile.org/index.php/resources/t-series

 

 

Top down/bottom up

These terms are used to refer to strategies we use when listening and reading in order to get meaning from a text. Top down skills involve using our knowledge of the world, such as topic knowledge, familiarity with the speaker, familiarity with the genre, to make sense of what we are hearing or reading. Bottom up skills involve using the language in the text, such as the meaning of words or the grammar of a sentence, to make sense of what we are hearing or reading. Good readers or listeners are believed to make use of the two strategies interactively.

Example

When we read a text in class I always do a warmer to find out what the learners know about the topic and get them to predict its content. In that way they make use of their top down strategies. Then I often do reading for detail as well, as this kind of reading really requires them to read the language in the text to suck out its meaning. This gives them practice in using their bottom up strategies.

Further reading

Brown, S. (2006). Teaching Listening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Field, J. (1999). Key concepts in ELT: ‘Bottom up’ and ‘top down’.  ELTJournal 53/4.

Hedge, Tricia. (2003): Teaching & Learning in the Language Classroom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McDonough J. and Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and Methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/listening-top-down-bottom

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/bottom

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/top-down

 

 

Utterance

A word or group of words, normally in speech, that make sense by themselves but do not necessarily contain the grammatical requirements of sentences found in more formal written language. The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010) says of an utterance: ‘a unit of analysis in speech which has been defined in various ways but most commonly as a sequence of words within a single person’s turn at talk that falls under a single intonation contour. Utterances may sometimes consist of more than one sentence, but more commonly consist of stretches of speech shorter than sentences’. The term utterance is often used in contrast to sentence in written language. 

Example

"This little dialogue contains two utterances:

A: He didn’t really understand what was going on.

B: Right."

Further reading

Carter, R., McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coady, J.,Huckin, T. (ed.s) (1997). Second language vocabulary acquisition: a rationale for pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kissine, M (2013). From utterances to speech acts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lewis, M. (2010). The lexical approach. Andover, Hampshire: Cengage Learning.

Prodromou, L. (2008). English as a lingua franca: a corpus - based analysis. London: Continuum.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010) Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Harlow: Pearson.

 

 

Wait time

This is the amount of time teachers give students to answer questions. Research indicates that leaving more time leads to more students wanting to answer, fuller answers and more questions from other students, too.

Example

I don’t think I give my students enough wait time when I ask questions. I’m going to record myself in class to check how much time I leave on average, then leave more time and see what difference, if any, it makes to the students’ answering.

Further reading

McDonough, J. and Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and Methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell.

Nunan, D. 1991. Language Teaching Methodology. Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

Thornbury, S. (1996). Teachers research teacher talk. ELT Journal 50/4.

http://eltchat.org/wordpress/iatefl/the-power-of-questions-eltchat-summary-15052013/

 

 

Worksheet

A piece of paper, or electronic material, which contains tasks, exercises or problems for the learner to complete or solve. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with the term handout, but for some there is a difference as a handout provides materials for reference only rather than activities.

Example

"The teacher always gave us worksheets for us to try and apply in practice what she had just told us about before."

Further Reading

Harmer, J. (2012). Teacher knowledge, Harlow: Pearson.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A course in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/clil/vocabulary/vocabulary-worksheets/

 

 

Aspect

Aspect is a grammatical term referring to how a verb expresses the speaker’s or writer’s view of certain features of time in an event i.e. whether it is completed or still in progress, whether it is one-off or repeating and its relevance to the present. In English, there are two aspects: progressive (or continuous) and perfect. Aspect is shown in auxiliary verbs + past participles, and the two aspects sometimes combine.

Example

Examples of the progressive aspect are: He is cooking, they were cooking.

Examples of the perfect aspect are: they have cooked, they had cooked.

Examples of the perfect progressive aspect are: they have been cooking, they had been cooking.

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/aspect

 

Attested language

Attested languages are languages which can be proved to exist or to have existed because of documents showing them in use or because they are still spoken. They contrast with unattested languages. Unattested languages are supposed to have existed and experts have sometimes hypothesised what some of their forms and lexis must have been, but there is no proof of their existence.

Example

Sanskrit from which many Indo-European languages derive is an attested language with many manuscripts attesting to its existence as far back as 1700 BCE. Many Germanic languages are thought to come from Proto-German, an unattested language as in fact no documents have ever been found in which Proto-German is used.

Further reading

Fisiak, J. (1997). Linguistic Reconstruction and Typology. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter:

Fox, A.  (1995) Linguistic Reconstruction: An Introduction to Theory and Method. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attested_languages

 

 

Authentic text

An authentic text is a written or spoken text produced to be read/heard by proficient language users and not altered in any way to aid language learning. An authentic text is unchanged for learning, preserving its features of genre, style, layout, discourse. In the 1980s and 1990’s it was considered very important in the communicative approach to only use authentic texts as they represented what learners needed to cope with in real life and provided them with exposure to genuine language features.

Example

"I generally prefer using authentic texts with my learners as they think they are real and interesting. But sometimes the texts are quite difficult as they aren’t adapted at all for language learning."

Further reading

Jolly, D., & Bolitho, R. (1998). A framework for materials writing. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials Development for Language Teaching (pp. 90-115). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Guariento, W. and Morley, J. (2001).  Text and task authenticity in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal 55/4. Oxford University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Porter D & Roberts, J (1980) Authentic listening  activities. ELT Journal 36/1. Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/forum-topic/authentic-texts

 

 

CLT

This stands for Communicative Language Teaching. There is not full agreement as to the meaning of communicative language teaching. It is generally agreed that it refers to teaching language for use in communication rather than as an object of study. There is much disagreement, however, as to the methodology it should involve, with some experts advocating that the only way to teach communication is to put learners in situations where they need to communicate, while others believe that language study can also aid communication. Use of pair and group work and free use of language are typical of a communicative classroom. 

Example

When I first started teaching we used the structural approach, teaching vocabulary and structures mainly through drilling and exercises. When the communicative approach came along, we were expected to focus on functions, too, and also to use pair and group work and get students to use the language to communicate with one another. It was quite a challenge!

Further reading

Burns, A. and Richards, J. (2012). Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Carter, R. and Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. and Thornbury, S. Communicative Language Teaching

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Widdowson, H. G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/c-is-for-communicative/

 

 

Communicative competence

Communicative competence refers to an ability to communicate that depends not just on linguistic ability but also sociolinguistic ability, including appropriate use of language, management of discourse and recognising cultural practices in communication e.g. who makes eye contact with who. The growing awareness of communicative as opposed to linguistic competence had a big impact on language teaching and was behind the development of the communicative approach.

Example

The use of video in the classroom has made it easier for teachers to focus on communicative competence, as they can show clips in which communication becomes problematic, for example, because the participants don’t follow cultural norms for turn taking, or use the wrong register and give offence. Video shows language in context and can lead to awareness and discussion of appropriacy.

Further reading

Bachman, Lyle (1990).Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Canale, M., Swain, M (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics (1).

Hymes, D. H. (1972). On Communicative Competence. In Pride, J. B., & Holmes, J. (Eds.),Sociolinguistics, Baltimore, USA: Penguin Education.

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T.S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Savignon, Sandra (1997).Communicative Competence: theory and classroom practice: texts and contexts in second language learning (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Skehan, P. (1998). A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/communicative-competence

 

 

Consolidate

When teachers or learners strengthen or reinforce previous learning they consolidate it. For example, a learner may go home and do memory games on the vocabulary they learnt in class that day, or a teacher might do a revision activity of a newly learnt skill. Lessons often contain a consolidation stage during which the teacher aims to reinforce new language or ideas introduced earlier on in the lesson.

Example

"I never remember language if I just meet it once. I always need to do additional activities that help me consolidate my learning."

Further reading

Skehan, P. (1998). A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

https://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/digitalAssets/110970_tkt_glossary_august_2009_final.pdf

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/consolidation

 

 

Constructivism

This is the theory that knowledge is actively constructed by individuals rather than being the fruit of passive absorption of facts. According to constructivist theory each individual interprets and organises the knowledge they receive according to their own prior knowledge and experience of the world. This theory supports a learner-centred classroom in which learners are given the opportunity to explore, personalise and apply knowledge.

Example

CLIL often adopts a constructivist approach to learning through its adoption of group work, problem-solving and interactive learning.

Further reading

Dale, L. and Tanner, R. (2012). CLIL Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mercer, S., Ryan, S., Williams, M. (2012). Psychology for Language Learning: Insights from Research, Theory and Practice.  

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Williams, M. And Burden, L.A. (1997). Psychology for Language Teachers: a Social Constructivist Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.lextutor.ca/cv/constructivism_entry.htm

 

 

Context

This term is used in ELT to refer either to the situational (where and when) context in which something happens, or to the language surrounding words in a sentence or utterance (sometimes called co-text). M.A.K. Halliday proposed that a situational context contains three components: field (subject matter), tenor (social relations between interactants) and mode (the way in which language is used), which strongly influence the register of language. The contexts in which languages are learnt and taught are also much discussed in ELT these days.

Example

"When we teach learners new language it’s important to put it in context – this helps them understand its meaning."

Further reading

Brown, H. Douglas. (1994) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, 3rd Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

Celce-Murcia. . (2001) Discourse and Context in Language Teaching: A Guide for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kramsch, C. (1998). Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Holliday, A. with Martin Hyde and John Kullman (2010). Intercultural communication: an Advanced resource book for students, 2nd edition. Oxford: Routledge.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Etymology

The study of the origins of words and how their meaning, use and form have evolved over time.

Example

I studied the etymology of Italian when I was learning Italian at university – it was all about the patterns of change that words and sounds had followed across the centuries. At the time I found it incredibly dry and boring, but now it helps me to work out the meaning or pronunciation of some words I don’t know.

Further reading

Crystal, D. (2007). Words Words Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hogg, R. and Denison, D. (2006). A History of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/8824676/From-Riddle-to-Twittersphere-David-Crystal-tells-the-story-of-English-in-100-words.html

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/aug/31/spell-it-out-crystal-review

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/english-language/the-history-english-ten-minutes

 

 

Grammatisation

This is a teaching technique, also known as grammaticization, in which students are given key words, e.g. from a dialogue or text that have just read or are about to read, and asked to add ‘grammar’ words to these key words to produce a text that makes sense. Behind this technique is Diana Larsen-Freeman’s idea of ‘grammaring’, the skill of relating form and structure to meaningful units.

Example

I like doing grammatisation with my students and they like it too. I just give them key words in the correct orderfrom very short texts and they have to fill in the ‘grammar’ words. They find it quite intriguing how many meaningful combinations you can get from a few key words. Sometimes they get really involved in defending the meaning of their sentences.

Further reading

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003). Teaching Language: From Grammar to Grammaring. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Thornbury, S. (1995). Uncovering Grammar. Oxford: MacMillan.

Thornbury, S. (1998). The Lexical Approach: a journey without maps? Modern English Teacher 7/4.

Batstone, R. (1994). Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

Inflection

This refers to the process of adding a morpheme to a word to change its grammatical meaning (e.g. tense, person) but not its word class. In English it applies particularly to verbs, nouns and adjectives.

Example

Some languages make heavy use of inflections, German, Greek and Turkish, for example. This makes it a challenge for learners to speak these languages accurately – a language might, for instance, have at least seven different inflections for nouns: singular, plural. nominative case, genitive, vocative, dative, accusative. What a nightmare for those seeking to achieve perfection!

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflection

 

 

 

Intrinsic/extrinsic motivation

These terms both refer to types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the wish to do something because of the pleasure or enjoyment that doing this brings. Extrinsic motivation refers to the wish to do something that is due to the desired result or outcome of doing it. Both of those motivations have been used to explain the wish to learn languages, though nowadays more complex explanations of language learning motivation are available. Teachers are often concerned about how to increase their learners’ motivation.

Example

"When I learnt English at school I just did it to get good marks, and because I thought it would help me when travelling. Now though, I just love it – I love learning all those words, imitating the accent, listening to the flow etc etc – I guess my motivation has changed from extrinsic to intrinsic."

Further reading

Dörnyei, Z. (1990). Conceptualizing motivation in foreign language learning. Language Learning, 40.

Dörnyei, Z. (2001). Motivation Strategies in the Language Classroom.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z.(2008). The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford University Press.

Dörnyei, Z. (2010). Teaching and Researching: Motivation. London: Routledge.

McDonough, S. (2007). Motivation in ELT. ELT Journal 61/4. Oxford University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/intrinsic-motivation

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/alexenoamen/ways-motivating-efl-esl-students-classroom

 

 

Monitor/monitoring

This term has two distinct meanings in ELT. The first comes from one of the five hypotheses that make up Krashen’s input hypothesis, a theory of language acquisition in which he maintained that when a learner is monitoring their use of language, they are focusing on accuracy and inhibiting acquisition. In this use monitoring means the learner checking and evaluating their own language output, as they produce it, whether it be speaking or writing.

The other meaning of monitoring refers to the teacher observing and assessing learners in class.

Example

"I find that when I monitor my own language use as I speak, it really slows me down and makes me hesitate and make mistakes."

Further reading

Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Krashen, S.D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

O’Malley and Chamot, A. (1990). Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Peer correction

In ELT this refers to when one learner corrects another learner, maybe spontaneously or at the prompting of the teacher. The correction may relate to the language used or to ideas expressed. When the term refers to giving feedback on writing this is sometimes called peer review.

Example

"Some teachers are a bit wary about using pair peer correction as they’re not sure if the feedback the students give one another is correct or not."

Further reading

Bartram, M. and Walton, R. (1991). Correction. Brighton, UK: Language Teaching Publications.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Shaofeng Li (2013). Key concepts in ELT: oral corrective feedback. ELT Journal 67/4. Oxford University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/peer-correction

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/methodology/classroom-management/classroom-management-speaking-correction-techniques/146455.article

 

 

Text

A text is a collection of spoken or written sentences or utterances that form a cohesive and coherent whole, which have the features of a particular genre and perform a specific communicative function. Examples of text types are narratives, descriptions, processes.

Example

"Much language teaching used to focus on helping learners produce sentences. Nowadays, though, there is greater focus on the features of texts such as their functions and the grammar needed to express those functions. Narratives for example often follow chronological order and make extensive use of past tenses."

Further reading

Cook, G. (1989). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Thornbury, S. (1997). About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

TPR

TPR stands for Total Physical Response, and is a way of teaching language developed by James Asher. It involves learners in responding physically to instructions spoken or stories told by the teacher. Learners are not expected to speak until they feel ready to do so. TPR is often used for teaching younger children.

Example

Last lesson I told my class the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. As I told it they acted out what they heard as I was telling it. They loved it, and so did I!

Further reading

Asher, J. J., "What is TPR?" in TPR-World. https://www.tpr-world.com/

Cook, V. (2008). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. London: Hodder Education.

Larsen-Freeman, Diane (2000).Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T.S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_physical_response

 

 

Noticing

This is a term which refers to the process in which a learner, consciously or unconsciously, notices or becomes aware of an item or aspect of language in the language input that surrounds them. This may involve noticing spelling, word stress, meaning, grammar, collocation or other language features. Noticing is believed to be the first stage in language learning, sometimes but not always triggering further stages of acquisition.

Example

"She’s a visual learner and when we went to Russia together she was always looking at Russian script on signs, notices, advertising etc, trying to work out what each letter was. I didn’t even see the script myself, I just didn’t notice it – it didn’t register."

Further reading

Batstone, R. (1996) Key concepts in ELT: Noticing. ELT Journal 50/3. Oxford University Press.

Lightbown, P.-M. and Spada, N.(2006). How Languages are Learned, 4th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Schmidt, R. (1990). 'The role of consciousness in second language learning'. Applied Linguistics 11.

Van Patten, B. (1990). Attending to form and content in the input. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12.

http://nflrc.hawaii.edu/PDFs/SCHMIDT%20Attention,%20awareness,%20and%20individual%20differences.pdf

 

 

ELF

This stands for English as a Lingua Franca, and refers to the use of English in international communication. Certain scholars have suggested that as English has become a lingua franca between people from a range of L1s, features of its use such as particular pronunciations and grammatical constructions which would previously have been considered non-standard and ‘wrong’ should be accepted rather than corrected, providing they do not cause a breakdown in communication, as they are a mark of the L1 learner’s identity There is much debate in ELT about the research base for ELF’s findings and their implications for the classroom.

Example

If you listened to two non-native speakers of English talking together you might hear them regularly  pronouncing the article ‘the’ as /də/ or /zə/ yet obviously having no problem communicating with one another. ELF proposes that if that’s the case there is no need to insist on ‘correct’ pronunciation with the corresponding loss of learner identity that correction can lead to.

Further reading

Seidlhofer, B. (2005). Key concepts in ELT: English as a lingua franca. ELT Journal 59/4.

Jenkins, J. (2012). English as a Lingua Franca from the classroom to the classroom. ELT Journal 66/4. http://www.scribd.com/doc/125335514/Jennifer-Jenkins-English-as-a-Lingua-Franca-from-the-classroom-to-the-classroom

Jenkins, J. (2000).The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walker, R. (2011).Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Widdowson, H.G. (2003).Defining Issues in English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.macmillandictionaries.com/MED-Magazine/January2005/26-New-Word-ELF.htm

Chit Cheung Matthew Sung (2013). English as a Lingua Franca and its Implications for Language Teaching http://jalt-publications.org/jj/articles/3436-perspectives-english-lingua-franca-and-its-implications-english-language-teaching JALT Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, November 2013

 

Lexical set

A lexical set is a set of words that all relate to the same topic or situation, for example, words for furniture, words for describing graphs, words for describing different kinds of movement. Vocabulary teaching at beginner or elementary levels is often based around lexical sets.

Example

"Here are some possible words from the lexical set for reading: books, blogs, text, to read, to skim, to scan, page, print, ink, printing, font size, glasses."

Here are some for the lexical set for cooking: boil, stir, stew, burn, mix, saucepan, bowl, recipe, spoon, oven.

Further reading

Nation, P. (2011). Learning Vocabulary in Lexical Sets: Dangers and Guidelines. TESOL Journal 9/2.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Wells, J.C. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/lexical-set

http://www.onestopenglish.com/community/lesson-share/extras/team/team-games-the-alphabet-code/145345.article

 

 

Metaphor

A figurative use of language in which one thing is described as another to bring out its characteristics, e.g. in he has a really hot temper, hot is metaphor for quick and fierce. Metaphors can be culturally specific and are therefore important for learners to be aware of and learn. Some experts maintain that some cultural metaphors strongly influence the way we see the world.

Example

"People sometimes use a range of metaphors for talking about lesson planning, for example: a route map, a straightjacket, a photograph, a sketch, an instruction leaflet."

Further reading

Holme, R. (2004). Mind, Metaphor and Language Teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Lazar, G.(2003). Meanings and Metaphors. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Littlemore, J. and Low, G. (2006). Metaphoric competence and communicative language ability. Applied Linguistics 27(2).

Thornbury, S. (1991). Metaphors we work by. EFL and its metaphors. ELT Journal, 45/3. Oxford University Press. http://www.scottthornbury.com/articles.html

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/exploring-metaphors-classroom

 

 

Mingle/a mingling activity

In this activity several/all the members of a class get up and go to a free space in the classroom. They then carry out a communicative task (e.g. a survey, Find Someone Who) which requires them to talk to all other members of the group, and often to note down answers.

Example

"On the first day of our course the teacher gave us a worksheet then asked us to all get up and complete it. We had to go round talking to every other student to get personal information about them. It was a great ice-breaker."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/mingle

http://www.teachers.cambridgeesol.org/ts/digitalAssets/110970_tkt_glossary_august_2009_final.pdf

 

 

Word form

A word form is a lexical term referring to the different forms that derive from a base word (lemma) e.g. take, takes, taking, took, taken from the base word ‘take’. Word form refers to form and not to meaning.

Example

If you were trying to work out how many vocabulary items a student knows, would you count just the base word or would you count all the different word forms?

Further reading

Crystal, D (ed.). (1995).The Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Hirsh, D.; Nation, P. (1992), ‘What Vocabulary Size is Needed to Read Unsimplified Texts for Pleasure?’ in Reading in a Foreign Language 8/2.

McCarthy, M. (1996). Vocabulary. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Nation, P. and Waring, R. Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists:
http://www.fltr.ucl.ac.be/fltr/germ/etan/bibs/vocab/cup.html

 

 

Defining vocabulary

This is vocabulary used by people writing dictionaries to write definitions and examples. Defining vocabulary is high frequency vocabulary which is thought to be easily and widely understood. 

Example

Monolingual learner dictionaries make use of a very high frequency defining vocabulary to try to ensure that learners of all levels can understand the definitions and examples.

Further reading

Cowie, A. P. (2000). The EFL Dictionary Pioneers and their Legacy: http://www.kdictionaries.com/newsletter/kdn8-1.html

Fox, G. (1989) A vocabulary for writing dictionaries. In M.L. Tickoo (1989). Learners’ Dictionaries: State of the Art.

Tickoo, M. L. (1989). Introduction.  In Tickoo M. L. (ed.): Learners’ Dictionaries: State of the Art. Seameo (Singapore).

 

 

Denotation

This term refers to the core or central meaning of a word, i.e. its direct or literal meaning rather than its meaning by association (See Connotation).

Example

The denotation of ‘Facebook’ is a social media site on which you post things and contact people. Its connotations depend a lot on your opinions. For some it is fun, essential; for others it is intrusive and dangerous; for yet others old-fashioned etc.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/working-vocabulary

 

 

Derivation

This is a term related to word building. It refers to the formation of new words, in English by adding a morpheme to a base word. This sometimes makes the new word a different part of speech from the base word.

Example

Base word

Derivation

Happy

Unhappy

Decide

Decision

Teach

Teacher

Produce

Productive

 

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach. Boston, Mass.: Thomson Heinle.

Schmitt, M.and McCarthy, M. (ed.s) (1997). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Inferring meaning

When we infer meaning we work out from linguistic and contextual clues what a word, group of words or sentence might mean. We do this for different types of meaning e.g. denotation, connotation, attitude.

Example

She said the food was great but it was very easy to infer from the look on her face that she really meant it was horrible!

Further reading

Clarke, D.F., & Nation, I.S. P. (1980). Guessing the Meanings of Words from Context:Strategy and Techniques. System/ 8.

Coady, J. and Huckin, T. (eds.), (1997). Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Macaro, E., (2003). Teaching and Learning a Second Language. New York: Continuum.

Schmitt, N., (1997). Vocabulary learning strategies. In N. Schmitt, and M. McCarthy, eds. Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Takač, V. P. (2008). Vocabulary Learning Strategies and Foreign Language Acquisition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

 

 

 

Polysemy

Polysemy is a lexical term referring to the many meanings that some words can have. These meanings usually derive from one (possibly remote) core meaning  e.g. table as in the piece of furniture, a grid, a group of people sitting round a table and the verb meaning to present something at a meeting.

Example

I’m not sure if polysemy makes words easier or harder to learn. You could argue that it confuses learners e.g. left as an adjective, noun, adverb v left as a past participle. But maybe it actually helps learners because they’re already familiar with the sound of the word. I’m not sure and I don’t know of any research telling us about this.

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/polysemy

http://teachingenglish.britishcouncil.org.cn/article/working-vocabulary

David Crystal’s Introduction to Language: http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415602679/dc-glossary.asp

 

 

 

Pre-teaching

This is a stage in a lesson in which the teacher introduces vocabulary that the learners will need in following stages of the lesson. This stage is often associated with reading, listening or integrated skills lessons but can also occur before speaking or writing activities. The teacher generally sets up the context of the following activities then introduces the new vocabulary within that context. The idea behind pre-teaching vocabulary is to lessen the load of unknown words the learner has to deal with later on in the lesson.

Example

For many years teachers were recommended to pre-teach vocabulary before working on texts. Nowadays though, some question this, suggesting that the contexts that teachers are able to set up for pre-teaching are rarely meaningful and that pre-teaching in fact prevents learners from developing the attack strategies they need for dealing with challenging texts.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/pre-teaching

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/vocabulary-questions/vocabulary-pre-teaching-vocabulary/146418.article

http://elt-resourceful.com/2012/03/30/should-we-pre-teach-vocabulary-before-reading-and-if-so-how/

 

 

Receptive/Productive

These are terms used in relation to the language skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking. The first two are said to be receptive as they involve absorbing language while the latter two are known as productive as they involve producing language. Receptive skills are sometimes thought of as being passive while productive skills are thought of as active. In fact, this categorisation is rather misleading, as a reader or listener can be very active in their comprehension and interpretation of language while reading or listening, and of course, much reading and listening takes place interactively with writing and speaking.

Example

I think it’s rather unhelpful to talk of listening or reading lessons. I prefer to think of integrated skills lessons where a focus on a receptive skill often leads into and supports the learning of productive skill.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Stem

The stem of a word is the part that never changes and to which any inflections or affixes are added. A word stem may or may not have the same form as a word’s lemma. (See Lemma). A lemma is the citation form of a word so it always looks like a word, whereas a stem is the part of the word that is added to. For example, take is a lemma, but tak- is the stem for this word, but for the word run both the lemma and the stem are run.

Example

To have an idea of what a word’s stem is can be useful for producing correct spelling. You add –ing to tak, for example, not to take to make the –ing form of take.

Further reading

Carstairs McCarthy, A. (2002). An Introduction to English Morphology: Words and Their Structures. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Matthews, P. (1991). Morphology 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://blog.britishcouncil.org/2013/05/31/three-myths-about-english-spelling/

http://www.fb10.uni-bremen.de/homepages/hackmack/Kiel/morph/web4.pdf

You Tube Video: http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/seminars/spelling-myths-and-enchantments

 

 

Synonym/Antonym

A synonym is a word with the same or very similar meaning to another word e.g. simple / easy; quickly / fast. Words are rarely complete synonyms of one another, differing in style or collocation e.g. to spend time with v to hang out with. An antonym is a word which is the opposite in meaning to another word e.g. rude / considerate; get off / get on, but, once again, there are not many complete antonyms because often they cannot be used as alternatives in all contexts.

Example

There are lots of games, puzzles and exercises in ELT based around synonyms and antonyms. Learning a word’s synonyms or antonyms does give you the impression that you know that word better, in my opinion.

Further reading

Burns, A. and Richards, J. (2012). Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/presenting-vocabulary

 

 

Articulators (speech organs)

This is a term from phonology which refers to ‘a part of the mouth, nose or throat which is used in producing speech e.g. the tongue, lips, alveolar ridge etc’ (Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics, p.33). Articulators are also known as speech organs. There are two kinds of speech organ: active and passive.

Example

When we learn to speak a foreign language we sometimes need to learn to use some articulators in different ways, for example, to pronounce the /θ/ phoneme in English, many learners have to place the tongue in a way to which they are not accustomed.

Further reading

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. ( 2010). Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics.Harlow: Pearson.

Roach, P. (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/phonetics

http://teachingenglish.britishcouncil.org.cn/article/phonemic-chart

 

 

Bilabial

This term from phonology refers to the place, i.e. the two lips, where certain sounds are produced. In English the bilabial sounds are /p/, /b/, /m/, /w/.

Example

Bilabial sounds, such as /m/ and /b/ are usually among the speech sounds that babies first produce.

Further reading

Kelly, G. (2000). How To Teach Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Ladefoged, P., Maddieson, I.(1996).The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell.

Marks, J. (2012). Delta Teacher Development: Pronunciation Book. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/labial

 

 

 

IPA

This acronym stands for International Phonetic Alphabet. The IPA provides one symbol for each sound produced across the different human languages. The IPA chart shows these sounds in relation to one another. Any one language will only use a subset of all the sounds on the IPA chart. To see the IPA chart, click here:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IPA_1024x768.png

Example

Most language teachers don’t know all the symbols used on the IPA chart. It’s often simpler and more useful for them just to know those used in the language they teach.

Further reading

International Phonetic Association (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Jones, D. (1988).English Pronouncing Dictionary, 14th ed. London: Dent.

Ladefoged, P. (1990). "The Revised International Phonetic Alphabet". Language 66/ 3.

Laver, J. (1994). Principles of Phonetics. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Pullum, G. K., Ladusaw, W.A. (1986).Phonetic Symbol Guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

 

Diphthong

A diphthong is a sound in which one vowel sound glides towards another, as in /bɔɪ/, /seɪ/, hɪə/. In RP English there are 8 diphthongs.

Example

You can see the RP English diphthongs in the top right hand corner of the phonemic chart, which you can find (with audio) at http://www.englishclub.com/pronunciation/phonemic-chart-ia.htm

Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/apps/sounds-right

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/TEphonemic_GreyBlue2_0.swf

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/diphthong

 

 

Phonemic chart

A chart showing the phonemic symbols for a particular language arranged according to whether they are vowels or consonants and their place and manner of articulation.

Example

The British Council’s Sounds Right phonemic chart can be downloaded for the iPad from https://itunes.apple.com/app/sounds-right/id387588128?mt=8 and for the PC from http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/TEphonemic.zip

There are different ways in which the phonemic chart can be used to help learners with their pronunciation.

Further reading

Kelly, G. (2000). How to Teach Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.macmillanenglish.com/phonemic-chart/

http://www.phonemicchart.com/

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/using-phonemic-chart

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sounds-the-pronunciation-app/id428243918?mt=8

Macmillan Pronunciation Skills videos with Adrian Underhill

Introduction:

The Phonemic Chart, Part 1:

The Phonemic Chart, Part 2:

 

 

Plosive

A plosive is a type of sound produced by air popping on one of the speech organs as it is released (See Speech Organ). The plosive sounds in English are /p/, /b/, /t/, /d/, /k/, /g/.

Example

In my experience learners of English rarely have problems producing the plosive sounds. Is that what you have found with your students, too?

Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Marks, J. (2012). Delta Teacher Development: Pronunciation Book. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/pronunciation

http://allphonetics.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/plosive-story-p-b-t-d-k-g_14.html

 

 

RP

This stands for Received Pronunciation. It refers to the standard pronunciation of British English that shows no regional features. RP is sometimes known as BBC English. Although RP is subject to change and is spoken by a small minority of British people, it is widely used in recording for ELT materials.

Example

There is not full agreement on what RP is. Some say it is ‘educated English’, some that it is ‘upper class English’. Is the Queen’s accent RP or not, for example?

Further reading

Crystal, D. (2005). The Stories of English. London:  Penguin.

McArthur, T. (2002). The Oxford Guide to World English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roach, P. (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34/2.

Trudgill, Peter (1999). The Dialects of England. Oxford: Blackwell.

Whatever happened to Received Pronunciation? J.C. Wells: http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/rphappened.htm

Academic English – Professor David Crystal on standard vs. non-standard English

http://www.bbc.co.uk/voices/yourvoice/feature2_4.shtml

 

 

Segmental and Suprasegmental

These terms refer to features of pronunciation. The segmental features are the phonemes or individual sounds whereas the super-segmental are rhythm, stress and intonation.

Example

I have a student whose pronunciation of individual phonemes is really quite good, but he has real problems with stress, rhythm and intonation. I’d read that learners usually have problems with segmentals and not with suprasegmentals, but he’s the other way round and I don’t quite know how to help him.

Further reading

Brazil, D., Couthard, M. and Johns, C. (1980). Discourse Intonation and Language Teaching: Harlow: Longman.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. and Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://hancockmcdonald.com/talks/pronouncing-meaning-rhythm-and-stress-games

 

 

Voiced, voiceless/unvoiced

These terms refer to whether or not sounds are produced by vibrating our vocal cords. Voiced sounds in English are all the vowels and some consonants e.g. /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/.  Unvoiced, or voiceless sounds are produced without vibration of the vocal cords e.g. /f/, /k/, /t/.

Example

To hear and feel the effect of using or not using the voice we can say pairs of consonants, the only difference between which is use or non-use of the voice, i.e. whether they are voiced or voiceless. Try saying these pairs and feel what is happening to your voice by placing your fingers on your throat to feel the vibration or lack of it.

/f/     /v/

/t/     /d/

/k/    /g/

/s/    /z/

/ʃ/    /ʒ/

/tʃ/  /dʒ/

 

Further reading

Baker, A. (2006). Ship and Sheep. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/features/voicing/

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/voiced-unvoiced-consonants

 

 

Vowel

One meaning of this term is its use in phonology to refer to one of two types of speech sound: vowels and consonants (See Consonant). Unlike consonants, vowels are produced without the speech organs (See Articulators/ Speech Organs) blocking the outgoing air. There are 20 vowels in RP English including both single vowels and diphthongs. In this meaning, vowel is sometimes called vowel sound.

Another meaning is the written symbol used to represent a vowel. In English these are: a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.

Example

I think it is very useful to use the phonemic chart to teach English vowel sounds bit by bit. I think it really helps learners, particularly older ones, to hear the difference between the vowel sounds and get a feel for where and how to pronounce them.

Further reading

Dalton, C. and Seidlhofer, B. (2004) Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

 

 

Mistake

See Error/Mistake/Slip

Slip

See Error/Mistake/Slip

Suprasegmental

See Segmental and Suprasegmental

Bottom-up

See Top-down and Bottom-up

Accuracy

Accuracy describes the ability to write or speak a foreign language without making grammatical, vocabulary, spelling or pronunciation mistakes. It is often contrasted with fluency. Classroom activities are sometimes categorised into those that promote fluency and those that promote accuracy.

Example

"She makes lots of grammar and pronunciation mistakes – her speech isn’t very accurate; but she speaks so fluently and expressively that everyone understands her."

Further reading

Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (2001). Grammar teaching – Practice or consciousness-raising? In Richards, J. C., & Renandya, W. A. (Eds.), Methodology in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Krashen S. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

Norris, J. M., & Ortega, L. (2001). Does type of instruction make a difference? Substantive findings from a meta-analytic review. Language Learning, 51, Supplement 1.

Spada, N. (1997). Form-focussed instruction and second language acquisition: A review of classroom and laboratory research. Language Teaching 30.

Swan, M. (1985) A critical look at the Communicative Approach, ELT Journal, 39/ 1and 39/ 2. Oxford University Press.

Truscott, J. (1996). The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language Learning, 46.

Widdowson, H.G. (1985) Against dogma: A reply to Michael Swan,  ELT Journal, 39/ 3. Oxford University Press.

Accuracy and correcting mistakes (CUP) www.cambridge.org.br/upload/news/00000855.doc

 

 

Comprehensible input

See Input hypothesis

Affixation

This term refers to the addition of a morpheme at the beginning or end of a word (prefixes and suffixes). This additional morpheme changes the meaning of the word. Affixes can also change the part of speech of a word e.g. happy→ happiness, they can make opposites e.g. happy→ unhappy or they can have a grammatical function e.g. the regular past tense suffix-ed.

Example

A game I sometimes play with my students in class is to give them a word e.g. ‘real’, set them a time limit, and ask them to see how many new words they can make from that word by adding affixes, both prefixes and suffixes.

Further reading

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/affixes

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/new-words-english

 

Prefix

See Affixation

Suffix

See Affixation

Affordance/affordances

The learning potential of a text, a context or a situation which provides the learner with the opportunity acquire – or learn – new language. The term often occurs in its plural form. The classroom, too, can provide the learner with affordances for learning e.g. when learners gradually pick up and identify moments for use of classroom language such as ‘I don’t understand’, ‘I have a question’, ‘Please, can you help me’.

Example

"With the spread of English as a global language, a learner these days can be presented with many affordances to acquire English in everyday life. Similarly, in the classroom, children with English as an L1 can provide the others with many affordances for learning English in group work and general chit chat."

Further reading

Gibson, J.J. (1977). In R. Shaw and J. Bransford (ed.s). Perceiving, Acting and Knowing, Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Singleton, D. and Aronin, L. (2007). Multiple Language Learning in the Light of the Theory of Affordances. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1/1.

Van Lier, L. (2000). From input to affordance: Social-interactive learning from an ecological perspective. In Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/a-is-for-affordance/

 

 

Allophone

This is a phonological term which refers to a sound which can replace another sound in a word without changing its meaning, for example, in the word ‘bath’ the ‘a’ sound can be pronounced either as /æ/ or as /ɑː/ without the meaning being changed. So, in this word, these two sounds are allophones. The phoneme /ɜː/ in /bɜːθ/ is not an allophone in this instance as it changes the meaning of the word.

Example

When people learn foreign languages they sometimes get confused because phonemes which would not be allophones in their language are allophones in the target language or vice versa, for example, /b/ and /v/ are two distinct phonemes in English but they are sometimes allophones in Spanish.

Further reading

Jenkins, J. (2000). The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roach, P. (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

 

Definite article

See Articles

Indefinite article

See Articles

Zero article

See Articles

Progressive aspect

See Aspect

Continuous aspect

See Aspect

Perfect aspect

See Aspect

can-do statements

See CEFR

Analytic/holistic

Analytic and holistic assessment are two ways of evaluating the performance of learners in order to give grades. In analytic assessment, separate grades are awarded to different typical features of a performance, whereas in holistic assessment markers give a grade based on their evaluation of a learner’s overall performance.

Example

When I marked my students’ interviews, I did so analytically, giving them a separate mark for fluency, accuracy, discourse management and pronunciation. Later, I discovered that my colleague marked hers holistically, using descriptions of general performance at particular levels. I think I’ll try doing that next time, then see which seems better for me and my students.

Further reading

Bachman, L. and Palmer, A. (1997). Language Testing in Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hamp-Lyons, L. (ed.) (1991). Assessing Second -language Writing in Academic Contexts. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Hughes, A. (2003).Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Assessment and testing

These terms are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to the collection of data about and awarding of marks to learner performance. Sometimes, however, testing is used just to refer to evaluation involving tests, whereas assessment encompasses not only tests but also other means of assessment such as observation, portfolios, case studies, interviews etc.

Example

Some people argue that you get a fairer and more accurate picture of learner performance using the wide range of techniques available through assessment. They think that the results obtained from tests provide a less comprehensive picture of what the learner can do.

Further reading

Bachman, L. and Palmer, A. (1997). Language Testing in Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cummins, J. and Davison, C. (2007). International Handbook of English Language Teaching.New York, USA, :Springer.

Hughes, A. (2003).Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/testing-assessment

 

 

Discrete-item and Integrative tests

Discrete-item tests focus on eliciting and evaluating parts of language proficiency separately, e.g. grammar, lexis, pronunciation. Integrative tests aim to elicit and assess language use as a whole. Multiple choice grammar items are an example of discrete-item testing, whereas interviews are integrative tests.

Example

It is often easier to design and mark discrete-item tests because they focus on just one thing e.g. tenses. Integrative tests, which focus on assessing e.g. learners’ ability to speak or write are more complex to mark reliably.

Further reading

H.D. Brown (2004). Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices. Harlow: Pearson Longman.

Hughes, A. (2003).Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oller J.W. (1983). Issues in Language Testing Research. Rowley MA: Newbury House.

 

 

Elision

This is the process in which particular sounds are omitted in connected speech because they are followed by another similar sound. In English, elision often happens between plosive sounds and with the vowel sound schwa /ə/. Elision helps speakers to produce sounds more smoothly and efficiently.

Example

Many people pronounce ‘chocolate’ as /tʃɒklət/ eliding the schwa before /l/. ‘He went to the cinema’ can give an example of an elided plosive with ‘went to’ pronounced as ‘/wentu:/.

Further reading

Dalton, C. and Seidlhofer, B. (2004) Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hancock, M. (1995). Pronunciation Games. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Marks, J. (2012). Delta Teacher Development: Pronunciation Book. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/connected-speech-2

http://elt-resourceful.com/2012/10/24/helping-students-with-connected-speech/

 

 

Hedging

This refers to a feature of written and spoken discourse in which the writer/ speaker tones down the definiteness of what they are saying either as an expression of their unsureness or for interpersonal reasons. There are many linguistic items available to express hedging.

Example

Some people don’t like appearing very definite in their opinions so they use expressions like: it could be/ maybe/ there’s a possibility that/to a certain extent/ arguably to hedge their opinions i.e. to soften the strength of the opinion they are expressing.

Further reading

Bygate, M. (1987) Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hyland, K. (1994) Hedging in academic writing and EAF textbooks. English for Specific Purposes.13/3.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/tag/hedging/

http://oupeltglobalblog.com/tag/hedging/

 

 

 

Interlocutor

This is someone with whom a speaker talks and interacts. An interlocutor participates in a conversation or dialogue.

In speaking tests the interlocutor is the person with whom the candidate speaks.

Example

Interlocutors interact in different ways in different cultures. One of the things to learn when learning a foreign language is how to act as an interlocutor e.g. how far away from the speaker to stand, when and whether to interrupt. Otherwise you may not get your message across successfully.

Further reading

Cribb, M. (2009). Discourse and the Non-Native English Speaker. New York: Cambria.

Stenstrom, A. (1994). An Introduction to Spoken Interaction. Harlow: Longman.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: MacMillan.

Thornbury, S. (2005) How to Teach Speaking. Harlow: Pearson.

Tsui, A. (1994). Introducing Classroom Interaction. London: Penguin.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/interlocutor

 

 

Intrusive /r/ /w/ /j/

Intrusive /r/ /w/ and /j/ are sounds used in English to help with linking words in connected speech. They are inserted at word boundaries.

Example

Intrusive /r/-her efforts (/hɜ:refəts/), law and order (/lɔ:rəndɔ:də/)

Intrusive /w/ - you are (/ju:wɑ:/), go on /gʊəwɒn/

Intrusive /j/ - they are (/ðeɪjɑ:/), she is (/ʃi:jɪz/)

Further reading

Hancock, M. (1995). Pronunciation Games. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Marks, J. (2012). Delta Teacher Development: Pronunciation Book. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

 

 

Negotiating Meaning

This refers to the process readers, writers, speakers and interlocutors engage in in order to make sense of and clarify what is being said/ written. It can involve asking for clarification, repeating, paraphrasing, checking understanding.

Example

Information gap activities help learners to learn and practise negotiating meaning, as they often find themselves not fully understanding what their partner has said or not being able to express themselves clearly. As a result the listener may ask for clarification or question what was said, and the speaker may paraphrase or repeat to get their message across more successfully.

Further reading

Bygate, M. (1987). Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Philp, J., Oliver, R. , Mackey, A.  (2008). Second Language Acquisition and the Younger Learner. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Johnson, K. (1995). Understanding Communication in Second language Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Young, R. (1983). The negotiation of meaning in children's foreign language acquisition. ELT Journal 37/3.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/negotiation-meaning

 

 

Running dictation

In a running dictation the teacher divides the class into groups of e.g. 3-5 students, then places on the wall copies of a text. Members of each group then take it in turns to go (run) to the text and memorise a piece of it, then run back to their group and dictate it to them. Group members must write it down correctly. The activity continues until one group shouts ‘Stop’ after all the text has been dictated and written down. The winning group will have written down the text more quickly and more correctly than the others. Running dictation is believed to encourage speed reading, clear enunciation, careful listening and a focus on spelling and accuracy in writing.

Example

You may need to convince some learners of the value of running dictation. Some see it as just a game with no obvious learning purpose. Others love it, of course!

Further reading

Davis, P. & Rinvolucri, M. (1988). Dictation: New methods, new possibilities. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/running-dictation

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/ask-the-experts/methodology-questions/methodology-using-dictation-in-english-language-teaching/146383.article

 

 

Slot and filler

This term refers to a description of how elements of language can be organised and used to substitute for one another. These elements may be grammatical, functional or lexical.

The term is also used to refer to a technique for laying-out language on a page to prompt exercises or aid guided writing or speaking.

Example

This is an example of a slot and filler table for use in the classroom.

There are

three

kinds
types
forms
classes
categories

of

…………….

………..

fall

into

three

kinds
types
classes
categories

can be

divided
classified

(Language for Thinking, John Clegg)

Further reading

Krashen, S., & Terrell, T. (1983). The Natural Approach. Oxford: Pergamon.

Lewis, M. (1996). The Lexical Approach. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach. Boston, Mass.: Thomson Heinle.

Thornbury, S. (1997). Reformulation and reconstruction: tasks that promote ‘noticing’. ELT Journal 51/4.

Willis, J. and Willis, D. (1996). Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Oxford:Macmillan Heinemann English Language Teaching.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/lexical-approach-1-what-does-lexical-approach-look

Cook, V.J. (1989). The relevance of grammar in the applied linguistics of language teaching. Trinity College Dublin Occasional Papers, 22

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/vivian.c/Writings/Papers/TCD89.htm

 

 

Warmer

A warmer, or warm-up activity, is an activity which takes place at the beginning of a lesson and aims to ‘warm the learners up’ i.e. to get them focussed on and energised for a lesson in general or its specific content.

Further reading

Malderez, A., Bodsczky, C. (1999) Mentor Courses: A Resource Book for Trainer-Trainers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (1992). 5 minute Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/teenagers/skills/warmers/

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/warmer

 

 

Concordancer

A software programme that displays the words with which a word collocates.  The programme presents the words, usually listed alphabetically, in lines giving linguistic context with collocations to the left or the right of the word, as in this example:

Concordancers can be based on different sizes and kinds of texts. They allow researchers to study authentic language use.                           They can also be used by learners to see patterns, frequencies and possibilities of collocation in their own or others’ language output.

Example

"Once students get used to working with a concordancer they can find it really useful for spotting patterns and possibilities in                        language chunking."

Concordancers can be based on different sizes and kinds of texts. They allow researchers to study authentic language use.                             They can also be used by learners to see patterns, frequencies and possibilities of collocation in their own or others’ language output.

Further reading

Concordancers in ELT, Nick Peachey, https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/concordancers-elt

Cobb, T. (1997) The compleat lexical tutor http://www.lextutor.ca/

 

 

Integrative tests

See Discrete-item and integrative tests

Principled eclecticism

See Eclecticism

EFL/ESL

EFL stands for English as a Foreign Language. Generally speaking, it refers to learners learning English in an environment where English is not used, or to learners studying English on brief trips to an Anglophone country. ESL stands for English as a Second Language and has generally been used to refer to learners who have another mother tongue, learning English while living in an English-speaking environment. In the UK nowadays this tends to be called ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). ESOL or ESL classes are likely to include a focus on language and communication, but also on the cultural practices of the Anglophone country the students are living in. With globalisation and the increased movement of people and immigration, the distinction between EFL and ESL is becoming less clear.

Example

I teach French in French Guyana where the official language is French. Most of my students speak very little French, though. Their mother tongue might be Portuguese and/or an Indian language. In the street they often hear and speak French Creole. So, am I teaching EFL or ESL?

Further reading

Kachru, B. (1997) World Englishes and English-Using Communities. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. Cambridge University Press.

http://www.englishclub.com/tefl-training/efl-esl.htm

http://www.macmillanglobal.com/blog/author-blog/dispatch-from-the-uk-%E2%80%93-esol-efl-esl%E2%80%A6-what%E2%80%99s-the-difference

http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/07/12/how-esl-and-efl-classrooms-differ/

 

 

Eliciting

This is a teaching technique in which the teacher prompts learners in order to elicit or draw out from them specific answers.  It is a technique used especially to re-activate or revise language items or ideas, and/or to encourage learners to contribute to their own learning rather than being spoon-fed by the teacher. Some people criticise the use of elicitation techniques as they think that they lead to language being used simply for display (to show you know it), rather than to real communicative language use.

Example

"Teacher: What do you call someone who checks and records a firm’s money?

Student 1: A banker.

Teacher: No, they work in the firm and watch what money the firm spends and receives. An a………

Student 2:  An accountant.

Teacher: That’s right."

Further reading

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P. (1999). A course in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/eliciting

 

 

ESOL

See EFL/ESL

ESL

See EFL/ESL

Focus on form

This approach to teaching language was first defined by Michael Long as follows: ‘focus on form…overtly draws students’ attention to linguistic elements as they arise incidentally in lessons whose overriding focus is on meaning or communication’ (Long 1991) and ‘focus on form often consists of an occasional shift of attention to linguistic code features – by the teacher and/or one or more of the students – triggered by perceived problems with comprehension or production' (Long and Robertson in Doughty and Williams, 1998). Focus on form (See Form), in which form is focussed on in the classroom as the need arises in the context of communication, is sometimes contrasted with ‘focus on formS’ in which forms are the primary focus in the classroom.

Example

I observed a class yesterday that was having a discussion about ‘good newspapers’. In the middle of the discussion one of the students asked the teacher why you could say ‘papers’ (newspapers) if ‘paper’ is an uncountable noun. The teacher told him, then they all got back to the discussion. A few weeks ago I observed another class in which the teacher had been teaching countable and uncountable nouns. She gave the learners a short text containing both kinds of noun, then asked the learners to do a guided discovery activity to work out the difference between the two, then the students did exercises. In the first class there was an example of focus on form; the second class was an example of focus on formS.

Further reading

Doughty, C. and Williams, J. (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gass, Susan; Selinker, Larry (2008).Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. New York, NY: Routledge.

Long, M.H. (1991). Focus on form: a design feature in language teaching methodology. In K.de Bot, R. Ginsberg, and C. Kramsch (Ed.s), Foreign Language Research in Cross-cultural Perspective. Amsterdam: John Betjamins.

Sheen, R. (2002). Key concepts in ELT: Focus on ‘form’ v ‘Focus on Forms’. ELT Journal 48/1.

 

 

Syllable

See Strong/Stressed and Weak/Unstressed Syllables

Formative assessment

Making judgments about the success of learning while it is taking place rather than once it is over. The purpose of formative assessment is to help the teacher (or learners) decide what should be taught next, and possibly how, based on analysis of the needs of the learners as revealed by the assessment. Formative assessment is often informal, with the teacher listening to or looking at learners’ performance and possibly taking notes. Learners may be unaware that it is taking place.

Example

"Formative assessment really helps me see how well my learners, and individual learners in particular, have learnt something. To help me focus and remember I often use a checklist to monitor them while they are doing groupwork."

Further reading

Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Boyle, B. & Charles, M. (2013) Formative Assessment for Teaching and Learning) London: Sage

Cummins, J. and Davison, C. (2007). International Handbook of English Language Teaching, Part 1. New York: Springer.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/formative-assessment

 

 

Dictogloss

See Grammar dictation

Hypernym

A hypernym is another word for the more common term superordinate. It is a word which is the name of a category for other words e.g. Gadget is a hypernym for mobile phone, pen drive, mouse, tablet, hand-help device.

Example

Something I sometimes do with my class is ask them to go through their vocabulary records and find hypernyms (I don’t use that term with them!) for as many words as they can, or I give them some hypernyms and ask them to find words belonging to them. It seems to help them remember the words and consolidate their meaning.

Further reading

Berry, R. (2010). Terminology in English Language Teaching: Nature and Use. Bern: Peter Lang.

Cook, V. (2013). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. London: Routledge.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/hyponyms

 

 

IATEFL

This acronym stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. Its aims are to ‘to link, develop and support English Language Teaching professionals around the world’ (http://www.iatefl.org/). IATEFL’s main activities are organising an annual conference for teachers and local seminars, awarding grants and scholarships, publishing a newsletter and magazine, and putting on webinars.

Example

Teachers come from all over the world to attend the IATEFL annual conference. It gives them an opportunity to give a talk on an area of interest, or to listen to a wide range of speakers speaking on a wide range of ELT related subjects. It is also a great opportunity to meet teachers from different countries and to visit a well-stocked resources exhibition.

Further reading

http://www.iatefl.org/

Conference video: http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/

https://www.facebook.com/iateflonline

 

 

Input

The language in the learner’s  environment that the learner is exposed to through hearing or reading and which is available for intake in order to drive language learning.

Example

"When you go to a foreign country there is input everywhere: in street signs, newspapers, television, people talking, menus, leaflets etc etc."

Further reading

Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Krashen, S.D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

 

 

Input hypothesis

The input hypothesis is the idea, developed particularly by Stephen Krashen, that language is acquired by exposure to language that is of interest to the learner and that is made up of a level of lexis and grammar slightly above that of the learner’s. This is called comprehensible input.  Krashen has recently refined his idea of comprehensible input to say that ‘It may be the case that input needs to be not just interesting but compelling. Compelling means that the input is so interesting you forget that it is in another language’ (Krashen, S., 2011).

Example

When we go to a foreign country as a family we seem to learn different things even though we’re all in the same environment. My son, an enormous eater, seems to learn all the words for food, my husband, an avid football fan, notices and learns words to do with sport, and I tend to pick up social formulae. We all have the same input but we notice and acquire different things from it. This seems to me to be evidence of the input hypothesis and of the need for compelling input.

Further reading

Doughty, C. and Williams, J. (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lightbown, P. and Spada, N. (2013).  How Languages are Learned, 4th edition. Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Stephen Krashen in http://www.koreatesol.org/sites/default/files/pdf_publications/TECv15n3-11Autumn.pdf

 

 

Intake

The language that a learner meets in their environment and that they absorb. A distinction is made between input and intake. Input is the language available in the environment, intake is that part of the input that the learner (consciously or unconsciously) chooses to pay attention to and take in. Intake is the first stage in noticing language.

Example

"When he hears a foreign language his ears perk up and his eyes brighten-he seems to unconsciously or consciously pay attention to every bit of input that comes his way, busily turning input into intake."

Further reading

Gass, S. and Madden, C. (1985). Input in Second Language Acquisition. California: Newbury House. Kumaravadivelu, B. (1994). Intake factors and intake processes in adult language learning. Applied Language Learning 1994, 5/1.

Van Patten, B. (2002). From Input to Output. New York: McGraw Hill.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/input

 

 

L1, L2

An L1 is your mother tongue, the first language you learn in your home environment. L2 has various meanings. It can refer to any language learnt after learning L1.

It also refers to the language learnt after the L1 and that is used in the learner’s environment (e.g. learning Greek as a child while living in Greece, having first learnt English from your English-speaking parents).

A third meaning is for languages widely used in countries or regions but not recognised as official languages. For example, in Guyana, English is the official language but Guyanese Creole is an L2 widely used by many people.

Example

"Nowadays, with so many people being bilingual, it is not always simple to say which is their L1 and which is their L2."

Further reading

Cook, V.J., Long, J., & McDonough, S. (1979), First and Second Language Learning, in G.E. Perren (ed.)The Mother Tongue and Other Languages in Education, CILTR.

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kachru, B. (1992). World Englishes: approaches, issues and resources. Language Teaching, 25. Cambridge University Press.

Kachru, B. B. (1997). World Englishes and English-using communities. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 17.

 

 

Learner autonomy

This refers to the learner’s ability to take charge of and direct their own language learning without relying on the teacher. It is believed that if a learner is autonomous, they take responsibility for their own learning and that this is a good thing, as it allows them to learn independently (and hence more deeply) and to go on learning. Many teaching approaches, materials and courses contain a focus on strategies that help to make the learner more autonomous e.g. how to work with a dictionary, developing proofreading skills, deciding what to learn next. Some learners appreciate the freedom and responsibility autonomy gives them, while others may prefer the teacher to remain in charge. Learner autonomy is also referred to as self-directed learning.

Example

"He’s such an autonomous learner that he finds it hard to accept being told what and how to learn by a teacher in a classroom."

Further reading

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and Researching Autonomy in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman.

Benson, P. & Voller, P. (1996) Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning. Harlow: Longman.

Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. Harlow: Longman.

Holliday, A. (2005) The Struggle to Teach English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies for Language Teaching. New Haven, NH: Yale University Press.

Little, D., Ridley, J. & Ushioda, E. (Eds.). (2003). Learner Autonomy in Foreign Language Classrooms: Teacher, learner, curriculum and assessment. Dublin: Authentik.

Nunan, D. (1988). The Learner-centred Curriculum: A study in second language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (1996). The Self-directed Teacher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scharle, A & Szabo, A. (2000) Learner Autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, R. (2008). Key concepts in ELT: learner autonomy. E LT Journal 62/4. Oxford University Press.

 

 

Learning outcome

A learning outcome is a statement (often in a lesson plan or syllabus) of what a learner is expected to know or be able to do, and to what degree, at the end of a lesson or course as a result of successful learning of the focus of the lesson or course. Learner outcomes can be used to tell learners what they will be learning. They are also used to shape lesson activities and guide the content of assessment.

Example

"Thinking about learning outcomes when you are planning your lesson and writing a lesson plan really helps the teacher to see if what they intend to teach is at the right level for their learners."

Further reading

Burns, A. and Richards, J.(2012). Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. (2013). Curriculum approaches in language teaching: forward, central and backward design. RELC Journal 44/1.

https://www.itl.usyd.edu.au/assessmentresources/learning_outcomes.htm

http://www.bangor.ac.uk/adu/the_scheme/documents/Biggs.pdf

 

 

Method

A method is a recognised and acknowledged set of teaching techniques and procedures that put into practice a set of beliefs about teaching and learning. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with approach, while others reserve approach to refer to theories and principles of language teaching. Richards and Rodgers (2001) say of the two ‘a method is theoretically related to an approach, is organisationally determined by a design, and is practically realised in procedure’ (p .16). Some prominent methods in English language teaching include Total Physical Response, Task-Based Learning, Grammar Translation. A teaching method covers syllabus, materials and classroom activities.

Example

“Some teachers prefer to teach eclectically, taking techniques and activities from a variety of methods rather than rigidly sticking to one. This is often because they think that different learners learn language in different ways.”

Further reading

Celce-Murcia, Marianne, ed. 2001. Teaching English as a second or foreign language, 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Heinle and Heinle.

Lightbown, P. and Spada, S.  (2006). How languages are learned, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. London: Macmillan.

 

 

Notional syllabus

A syllabus that is organised according to the grammatical notions (concepts) that a learner might need to express (e.g. cause and effect, frequency, pastness, agency, duration, quantity) rather than according to structural or task progression. Notional syllabuses were particularly influential in the 1970s and were often linked with functional syllabuses, making for notional-functional syllabuses, in which the language needed to express particular functions was focussed on.

Example

"Because of its focus on abstract categories like pastness, uncertainty, comparison, it is quite hard to make a notional syllabus seem real, achievable and motivating to students."

Further reading

Abbs, B. and  Freebairn, I. (1979). Building Strategies. Harlow: Longman.

Howatt, A. P. R. and Widdowson, H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Van Ek, J.K. and Trim J. (1998) Threshold 1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wilkins, D.A. (1976). Notional Syllabuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

 

PARSNIP

This is an acronym for Politics, Alcohol, Religion, Sex, Narcotics, -Isms and Pork. It refers to the common practice amongst publishers and exam boards of excluding sensitive or taboo topics from the content of their products so as not to give offence and to facilitate the sale of these products.  Some people believe that this practice is one factor contributing to the lack of real meaning and relevance that is sometimes noted in ELT materials.

Example

When you get to know a class, you become aware of their sensitivities and interests. You’re then in a good position to judge how much or what parts of PARSNIP to adopt or ignore when choosing materials or topics to use in class.

Further reading

Gray, J. (2002). ‘The global coursebook in English language teaching’. In Block, D., and Cameron, D. (Eds.) Globalization and Language Teaching. London: Routledge.

Block, D. and Cameron, D. (2002) . Globalization and Language Teaching. London:Routledge.

Harwood, N. (2010).  English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Meddings. L. (2006). "Embrace the Parsnip" http://www.theguardian.com/education/2006/jan/20/tefl4

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/t-is-for-taboo/

 

 

Word class

See Parts of speech

Lexical modality

See Modality

Formulaic subjunctive

See Mandative subjunctive

Phoneme

This is the smallest unit of meaningful sound in a language. A phoneme can distinguish one word from another e.g. /bæd/ vs /bed/. In English Received Pronunciation (RP) there are forty-four phonemes, twenty-four are consonants and twenty are vowels.

Example

Learning the phonetic script and understanding the phonemic chart can really help you teach individual phonemes to students. Often there are just a few phonemes that students have trouble pronouncing - usually because they don’t exist in their L1.

Further reading

English Pronunciation in Use, Elementary/ Intermediate/ Advanced. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/

http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2011/12/23/english-pronunciation/

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/apps/sounds-right

 

 

 

Phonetics and phonemics

Phonetics is the study of all the speech sounds used in all human languages. The IPA chart (See IPA) represents these sounds. Unlike phonemics (also known as phonology - see Phonology), phonetics is not concerned with the sounds of individual languages. It studies the production, transmission and reception of speech sounds in all languages. Phonemics studies those sounds which are meaningful (i.e. which may distinguish between one word and another) within one language.

Example

We learn from phonetics that there is a sound called a glottal stop. But we learn from phonemics, not phonetics, that the glottal stop does not change meaning in standard English and that it is therefore not a phoneme in standard English, but an allophone (See Allophone) of /t/.

Further reading

Carr, Philip (2003).English Phonetics and Phonology: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.

Ladefoged, Peter. (1982).A Course in Phonetics (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

Phrasal verb

Phrasal verbs are items made up of a verb and one or more particles (adverbs or prepositions). You cannot always work out the meaning of phrasal verbs by looking at the individual words e.g. look after, hang in. In English some phrasal verbs are informal or neutral in register. They may have more formal equivalents often coming from Latin e.g. get off/alight, make up/compose, look at/regard.

Example

"Learners often think phrasal verbs are difficult to learn, but if they learn them as lexical items rather than as grammatical items they’re not so hard."

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McCarthy, M. and O’Dell, F. (2004-2007). English Phrasal Verbs in Use (Elementary/Intermediate/Advanced). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs/phrasal-verbs

 

 

Noun phrase

See Phrase

Prepositional phrase

See Phrase

Verb phrase

See Phrase

Plenary

This term is often used to refer to a meeting or conference in which all members are present. In English language teaching it is sometimes used instead of whole class to mean those moments in a lesson during which the teacher gets all students to focus on her/him so he/she can give the same input to everyone at the same time. This is sometimes called teacher-fronted plenary.

Example

"The danger of using too much plenary teaching is that it puts learners in a passive role of listeners only, while the teacher talks or inputs in some way."

Further reading

Andrews, S. (2007). Teacher language awareness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. Nunan, D. (1989) Understanding Language Classrooms: A Guide for Teacher-Initiated Action. Prentice Hall Publishers.

Schwab, G. (2011) From dialogue to multilogue: a different view on participation in the English foreign‐language classroom. Classroom Discourse Volume 2Issue 1.

Scrivener, J. (2012) Classroom management techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walsh, S. (2011) Exploring Classroom Discourse: Language in Action. Abingdon: Routledge.

http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/download/ng/file/group-4/n2433-esol-teaching-skills-taskbook-unit-1-b---student-interaction-and-teacher-roles.pdf

 
 

PPP

This acronym stands for Presentation-Practice-Production. PPP is an approach to language teaching that was very popular in the 1980s. The approach involves first the teacher presenting the form and meaning of new target language to students in a meaningful context (presentation), then giving learners the opportunity to do controlled practice of the target language (practice), then finally letting students use the target language in freer, less controlled activities (production). The rationale for PPP is that learners need an accuracy-focussed stage in which to practise the language in relatively error-free conditions before using it in less guided conditions. This is so as to give them the opportunity to build up good habits and avoid errors, a platform from which they can then engage in more fluency-based activities. The approach has been criticised for being too restrictive and rather artificial, but attempts have been made to respond to these criticisms by making its activities more meaningful and communicative. It currently survives in more subtle forms in many ELT classrooms and materials.

Example

"Some of my students really like PPP-type lessons – I think they like to be guided before jumping into using the language without support. Other students I have clearly find it limiting and a bit meaningless. It depends on their learning styles, so I try to vary the approaches I use across my lessons."

Further reading

Burns, A. and Richards, J. (2012) Pedagogy and Practice in Second Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Praise

This is when we express approval or admiration of something, for example, This meal is absolutely delicious. Well done, cook! Teachers are often encouraged to praise their students but there is quite a lot of debate about what is the most productive and effective type of praise.

Example

"My teacher always used to praise us, saying things like Very good or Well done, even to students who gave the wrong answer – I found it rather confusing."

Further reading

Chaudron, C. (1988) Second Language Classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gebhard, J. and Oprandy, R. (1999). Language Teaching Awareness.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://carolread.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/p-is-for-praise/

 

 

Descriptive

See Prescriptive

Product writing

See Process writing

Relative

See Pronoun

Interrogative

See Pronoun

Demonstrative

See Pronoun

Reflexive

See Pronoun

Possessive

See Pronoun

Quantifiers

See Pronoun

Reciprocal

See Pronoun

Simulation

See Role play

Lexical field

See Semantic field

Subordinate clause

See Clause

Short-/long-term memory

Our memory system is able to store memories for shorter or longer periods. Our short-term memory (also called working memory) is limited in capacity and only retains information for a short period of time, while our long-term memory is much larger and retains information for longer.

Example

"I have a wonderful short-term memory for things like the prices of items I bought yesterday, what my family were wearing yesterday and how long it took me to do things, but my long-term memory is poor – I have few recollections of my childhood."

Further reading

Bilborough, N. (2011).  Memory Activities for Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Basic Books.

Skehan, P. (1998). A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stevick, E. (1976). Memory, Meaning and Method. New York, NY: Newbury House Publishers.

 

 

Subskills

See Skills

Microskills

See Skills

Task

A task is a classroom activity that has a ‘real-world’ outcome e.g. a problem is solved, genuinely wanted information is exchanged. Tasks provide a purpose for the learning and use of language other than simply learning language items for their own sake (Rubdy 1998). Generally, a task is completed by using language freely to communicate in speech or writing. Some believe that tasks should not focus on practising any one specific piece of language, but rather be open-ended.

In the ELT literature the term task is sometimes used to refer to activity, sometimes to tasks with a specific language aim. There is considerable debate over what a task is, as there is over Task-Based Learning, in which tasks are the main drivers for learning.

Example

"He always liked to give his students tasks to do as he thought they appreciated the sense of achievement tasks produce and their relevance to getting things done outside the classroom."

Further reading

B. Kumaravadivelu (1991). Language-learning tasks: teacher intention and learner interpretation. ELT J 45 (2): 98-107.

Nunan, D. (1989) Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010) Longman dictionary of language and applied linguistics. Harlow: Pearson.

Rubdy, R. (1998). Key concepts in ELT.  ELTJ 52/3 http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/eltj/keyconcepts.html

Willis, D. and Willis, J.( 2007). Doing Task-based Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.willis-elt.co.uk/taskbased.html

 

 

Task-Based Learning

A way of learning and a method of syllabus or course design which is based on learners completing tasks. There is much debate over what constitutes Task-Based Learning, and particularly over what role a focus on language should play, if any. Some e.g. N.S. Prabhu, maintain that there should be no focus on language in Task-Based Learning i.e. that language should be learnt purely through exposure, acquisition and use. Others prefer to see some language input or focus on form, either at the pre-task stage or post-task or both.

Example

"Our classes were task-based – we did one task followed by another e.g. comparing, problem-solving, classifying, sorting, surveying. I enjoyed them as we always used language to do something real."

Further reading

Foster, P. (1999). Key concepts in ELT.  ELTJ 53/1 http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/eltj/keyconcepts.html

Hawkes, M.L. (2012). Using task repetition to direct learner attention and focus on form. ELT J  66 (3): 327-336.

Littlewood, W. (2004). The task-based approach: some questions and suggestions. ELTJ 58/4.Oxford University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Samuda. V. and Bygate, M. (2008) Tasks in Second Language Learning, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Skehan, P. (1996). A framework for the implementation of task-based instruction. Applied Linguistics, 17/1, 38-62.

Willis, J. (1996) A framework for task-based learning. Harlow: Longman.

 

 

Intransitive

See Transitive / Intransitive

Use / Usage

These terms are used in linguistics in contrast to one another to describe ways in which a person knows language. In usage a person knows about language or items in language abstractly as a component in a language system. In use, a person knows how to use language for communication. This distinction which focuses on the difference between knowing about language (usage) and knowing how to use language (use) was critical in the development of language teaching, away from grammar translation and towards a communicative approach. Henry Widdowson introduced and developed this distinction in 1978.

Example

Some people used to criticize grammar translation, saying that it was too usage-oriented. Nowadays some people criticise communicative language teaching saying it is too use- oriented.

Further reading

Carter, R. and Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Widdowson, H.G. (1978). Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Howatt, A. P. R. and Widdowson, H.G. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/language-usage

 

 

Backwash

See Washback

Washback

This is a term (in the US more commonly referred to as Backwash) used in testing and assessment to describe the effect on the classroom of tests that the learners will take. Washback may affect e.g. the syllabus, methodology, interaction patterns, attitudes to learning etc., and can be positive or negative.

Example

In some countries education authorities deliberately introduce new elements into tests so that they will be used in the classroom. In other words they are relying on the washback effect of a test to bring about change in the classroom. Examples of this might be the introduction of speaking tests or the use of tasks in speaking tests. Washback is sometimes known as ‘Backwash’ and is contrasted with ‘Impact’.

Further Reading

Bachman, L and Palmer, A (1996) Language Testing in Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hamp-Lyons, L (1997) Washback, impact and validity: ethical concerns, Language Testing,14/3.

Hughes, A. (1989) Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Messick, S. (1996). Validity and washback in language testing. Language Testing 13/4.

Taylor, L. (2005) Key Concepts in ELT: Washback and Impact. ELT Journal 59/2.

 

 

Vocal tract

This is how The Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines vocal tract: ‘the air passages which are above the VOCAL CHORDS and which are involved in the production of speech sounds. The vocal tract can be divided into the nasal cavity…. and the oral cavity’ (Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics, p.629).

Example

In this diagram we can see the vocal tract:                                                 

                                                        Vocal chords

 

                                                         

Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. ( 2010). Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Harlow: Pearson.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology. Glossary: http://www.cambridge.org/servlet/file/EPP_PED_Glossary.pdf?ITEM_ENT_ID=2491706&ITEM_VERSION=1&COLLSPEC_ENT_ID=7

 

 

Schwa

This is an English vowel sound, represented in the phonemic script as /ə/. It is the most common vowel in spoken English as many other vowels are shortened to schwa in connected speech (See Connected Speech). Schwa plays an important role in maintaining regular rhythm in spoken English.

Example

Do you think there would be 5, 6 or 7 schwa sounds in this sentence if it was spoken?

What do you reckon happened when they arrived at the station?

I think the answer could be 5, 6 or 7 depending on how quickly the speaker spoke. This is where the schwas could occur:

/wɒt du ju rekən hæpənd wen θeɪjəraɪvdæt θə steɪʃən/

/wɒdʒə rekən hæpənd wen θeɪjəraɪvdæt θə steɪʃən/

/wɒt du ju rekən hæpənd wen θeɪjəraɪvdət θə steɪʃən/

/wɒdʒə rekən hæpənd wen θeɪjəraɪvdət θə steɪʃən/

Further reading

Dalton, C. and Seidlhofer, B. (2004). Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kelly, G. (2000). How To Teach Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teaching-schwa

http://www.photransedit.com/online/text2phonetics.aspx

 

 

Strong/Stressed and Weak/Unstressed Syllables

A syllable is a unit of speech which in English consists of a vowel sound or of a vowel sound and one or more consonants. A syllable can be divided into three parts: onset, nucleus and coda/final. Word stress operates on the different syllables in a word. In terms of pronunciation, syllables can be stressed, weakly stressed or unstressed. A stressed syllable carries the main or secondary stress in a word and is pronounced with greater loudness and length and higher pitch. A weakly stressed syllable has little sound prominence and an unstressed syllable receives no prominence. The amount of stress given to a word and the syllables within it depends on how important it is in conveying essential information.

Example

Here are some words showing typical English syllable patterns:

a (indefinite article) – a syllable consisting just of a vowel sound

am – a syllable consisting of a vowel + a consonant sound

jam – a syllable consisting of consonant + vowel + consonant sounds

tram – a syllable consisting of consonant + consonant + vowel + consonant sounds

And here are some words showing different degrees of stress on different syllables:

|on|ly – main stress on ‘on’ and weak stress on ‘ly’

|phone – one main stress

|station – main stress on ‘sta’ with weak or no stress on ‘tion’

|Un|nec|es|sari|ly – main stress on 'sar', weak stress on 'un', 'nec', 'ess', 'ly'; weak or no stress on 'ri'

Further reading

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Stirling, J. (2011). Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners. Lulu.com

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://elt.oup.com/elt/students/olg/pdf/olg_stress.pdf?cc=us&selLanguage=en

http://www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html

http://www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html

http://www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/word-stress

 

 

Question Tag/Tag Question

A question tag is a clause usually containing an inverted subject and an auxiliary or modal verb, and inserted at the end of a statement. It turns the statement into a question or a request for confirmation, depending on its intonation, with a rising tone indicating a question and a falling tone signalling a request for confirmation. A question formed by adding a question tag to the end of a statement is called a tag question.

Example

Here are some tag questions that use different question tags:

He left last night, didn’t he?

She can’t swim, can she?

Nobody understands, do they?

You’ll bring it tomorrow, won’t you?

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

 

 

Pitch

Pitch is usually defined as “the rate of vibration of the vocal folds”, which is responsible for sounds being produced at higher or lower frequencies, or higher or lower pitch. Pitch can vary across a word or a whole utterance. Varying our pitch in conventionally agreed ways makes it possible for meaning to be expressed through intonation. For example, in English, in Wh- questions the pitch of the voice starts higher then falls.

Example

In English we change the direction of the pitch of our voices on the most important syllable in a word or tone unit. We can see this from the contour line in this example:

                                   

   

Take the train, not the bus – it’s much quicker.

Further reading

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology. Glossary: http://www.cambridge.org/servlet/file/EPP_PED_Glossary.pdf?ITEM_ENT_ID=2491706&ITEM_VERSION=1&COLLSPEC_ENT_ID=7

 

Linguistic landscape

The linguistic landscape, sometimes known as 'environmental print', is the text and accompanying images which can be seen in (usually) urban environments on the streets, shops, vehicles, and people (e.g. t-shirt slogans; tattoos). It is a rich source of contemporary language use, and can have a multitude of functional purposes, e.g. to advertise, to warn, to entertain, to inform. Several studies (e.g. Sayer, 2010; Chern & Dooley, 2013), have related the use of English in non-English-speaking environments to cultural and socio-economic factors. Drawing students' attention to how language(s) can be used in the linguistic landscape can promote 'noticing' and lead to discussion and debate.

Example

"I always ask my students to take photos of the linguistic landscape which surrounds them as they walk to and from the language school."

Further reading

Check out the NILE Norwich Linguistic Landscape blog (coming soon)

Chern, C. & Dooley, K. (2013). Learn English by walking down the street. ELTJ 68 / 2 pp. 113-123

Gorter, D. (ed). (2006). Linguistic Landscape. A New Approach to Multilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters

Lopriori, L. (2011). Buzzword of the day: Linguistic Landscapes. TESOL Italy Newsletter Vol XXI, No. 5, p.3

Sayer, P. (2010). Using the linguistic landscape as a pedagogical resource. ELTJ 64 / 2 pp. 143-154

 

 

Hyponym

Hyponym is a term used to describe a lexical relationship between words. Hyponyms are the words that are examples of a particular category, for example, pens, pencils, paper, sellotape are all hyponyms of the category, stationery. Hyponyms form a large part of lexical sets.

Example

At beginner and elementary level we often teach hyponyms of everyday categories such as members of the family, types of shop, items of clothing, days of the week, types of food, colours, types of leisure activities. At the end of last term I divided my class into groups and gave them each an area of vocabulary, a superordinate. They then drew mind maps, posters or other drawings with all the hyponyms they could think of for their area. They drew some great things, for example, people in national dress from different countries of the world to illustrate different items of clothing.

Further reading

McCarthy, M. (1990). Vocabulary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nation, I.S.P.(2001).Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, Cambridge University Press.

Nation, I., (2000). Learning vocabulary in lexical sets: dangers and guidelines. TESOL Journal/9.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Yule, G. (2014). The Study of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/hyponyms

 

 

 

 

Guided discovery

Guided discovery is an approach to teaching language in which learners are presented with examples of language (e.g. adjectives starting with the prefixes in- or un- or ir-) and prompted or asked leading questions in order to work out what the rule of use is, or what grammatical patterning underlies the examples. Guided discovery is said to encourage learners to become more autonomous and to be based on the way language is learnt naturally outside the classroom.

Example

"Teacher: Look at these examples on the board, then complete the rule about how to form the present perfect."

 

The present perfect

I have been to China.

He has travelled all over the world.

They have bought tickets for a boat trip to Cyprus.

The form of the present perfect:

Subject + ………………… + …………………

 

Further reading

Ellis, R. (2002) Methodological options in grammar teaching materials. In Hinkel, E., & Fotos, S. (eds.) New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms.  Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. and Watkins, P. (2007) The CELTA Course. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/guided-discovery

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/tag/guided-discovery/

 

 

Foot (stress / rhythm)

A foot is a rhythmic unit that forms part of a tone unit. It consists of one or more syllables, one of which is stronger than the other (weak) syllables. In natural English speech there is a tendency for the foot to begin with a strong syllable, i.e. it is stressed. (Thus in terms of its rhythmic structure English is sometimes described as a left-dominant language.) So within a foot we can distinguish between strong and weak syllables, and across feet within a word, between syllables that carry primary or secondary stress, or are weak (unstressed).

Example

If they have studied poetry, students might be familiar with the concept of feet in regular metrical  patterns, like Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter, for example:

If mu¦ sic be¦ the food ¦ of love, ¦ play on

The foot functions in a similar way in natural speech, but with much more variation in the number of syllables per foot:

If you be ¦ lieve that ¦ mu sic is the ¦ food of ¦ love, then ¦ go on playing

Further reading

http://clas.mq.edu.au/speech/phonetics/phonology/syllable/syll_foot.html

 

 

Chunk

Chunks are longer stretches of language that frequently occur together. They include collocations, phrasal verbs, social formulae, sentence frames, idioms and discourse markers. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with collocation.

Example

"When students learn fixed expressions such as despite the fact that, in my opinion, to summarise or by the way as chunks, they often find them easier to remember."

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach. Brighton: Language Teaching Publications.

Lindstromberg, S. and Boers, F. (2008). Teaching Chunks of Language. London: Helbling Languages.

Schmidt, N. (2000). Key concepts in ELT: chunks. ELT Journal 54/4. Oxford University Press.

Ur, P. (1999). A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.scottthornbury.com/articles.html 

 

Componential analysis

This term refers to a way of classifying vocabulary. The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines it as follows:

An approach to the study of meaning which analyses a word into a set of meaning components or semantic features. For example, the meaning of the English word boy may be shown as:

<+human> <+male> <- adult>

(Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics)

Example

Sometimes you see exercises, like this one, in ELT materials based on componential analysis:

  

 

lazily

purposefully

cautiously

with difficulty

forcefully

in a military context

in the countryside

in the city / at the seaside

stroll

+

 

 

 

 

 

+

 

stagger

 

 

 

+

 

 

 

 

tiptoe

 

 

+

 

 

 

 

 

amble

+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stomp

 

+?

 

 

+

 

 

 

stride 

 

+

 

 

+

 

 

 

saunter

+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

promenade

+

 

 

 

 

 

 

+

tramp

 

 

 

 

+

 

 

 

march

 

+

 

 

+

+

 

 

parade

 

+

 

 

+

+

 

 

pace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ramble

+

 

 

 

 

 

+

 

hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

+

 

traipse

 

 

 

 

+

 

 

 

 

Further reading

Channel, J. (1981). Applying Semantic Theory to Vocabulary Teaching. ELT Journal /35.

Gairnes, R. and Redman, S. (1986). Working with Words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goddard, C. (2011). Semantic Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Rudzka, B.,.Channell, J.,  Putseys Y. and. Ostyn P. (1981). The Words You Need. Oxford:MacMillan.

Rudzka, B.,.Channell, J.,  Putseys Y. and. Ostyn P. (1985). More Words You Need. Oxford:MacMillan.

 

 

Connected speech

This refers to the production of speech as a continuous stream rather than as a sequence of separate sounds. In connected speech, individual sounds may be different from their citation pronunciation, as they are affected by processes such as assimilation, elision, liaison (linking) and shortening.

Example

It’s often quite easy to understand words in isolation, but when they’re part of connected speech they can be much more difficult to recognise. A classic example of this is ‘What do you…?’, which becomes /wɒdʒə/ in connected speech.

Further reading

Celce Murcia, M. Brinton, D., Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation: A Reference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dalton, C. and Seidlhofer, B. (2004) Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/connected-speech-2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/features/connected.shtml

Learning English – I would like to buy a hamburger. Retrieved from

 

 

Environmental Print

See Linguistic Landscape

 

 

Word cloud

A word cloud is a jumble of words from a text produced by computer by calculating the words’ frequency in the text. Teachers can make their own word clouds by entering texts into a word cloud programme. Word clouds can be used in class to, for example, aid vocabulary learning, revise texts, warm up to reading, listening or discussion lessons, generate ideas for writing lessons etc.

Example

Here is a word cloud created from the above definition of ‘Word Cloud’:

Further reading

http://www.wordle.net/

https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/#http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jasondavies.com%2Fwordtree%2Fcat-in-the-hat.txt

http://nikpeachey.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/using-word-clouds-in-efl-esl.html

https://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/2010/02/10/using-word-clouds-in-class-a-lesson-plan/

http://lessonstream.org/2011/01/10/the-blob-on-the-bridge/

 

 

Adverbial phrase

See Adverb

Adverb; Adverbial phrase

An adverb is a word which usually qualifies the verb in a sentence showing how, when, where, to what degree, how often, or with what viewpoint etc the event, action or process in the verb is carried out. An adverbial phrase is a set of words fulfilling the same purpose.

Example

Here are examples of different types of adverbs and adverbial phrases:

Of manner: carefully, in a new way

Of time: yesterday, the day after tomorrow

Of place: there, over the back

Of degree: fully, to a certain extent

Of frequency: weekly, every three weeks

Of attitude: honestly, in my opinion

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/adverbials/adverbs-manner

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/adverbials

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-tests/adverbs

 

Bloom's Taxonomy

This is a classification of affective and cognitive skills that is used to provide learning objectives. It was published by a committee of educators in the USA in 1956. Benjamin Bloom was the chair of this committee. The taxonomy of cognitive skills in particular has been very influential in curriculum and examination design. It was revised in 2000.

Example

Bloom’s taxonomy identifies cognitive skills and divides them into two categories, as follows:

Higher order thinking skills (HOTS): creating, evaluating, analysing

Lower order thinking skills (LOTS): applying, understanding, remembering

Further reading

Airasian, P. W.; Cruikshank, K. A.; Mayer, R. E.;Pintrich, P. R.; Raths, J.; Wittrock, M. C. (2000) in Anderson, Lorin W.;Krathwohl, D. R., eds. A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. Columbus, Ohio: Allyn and Bacon.

Bloom, B. S. et al. (1956) ‘Taxonomy of educational objectives’, Handbook I: Cognitive  domain, New York: Longman.

Coyle, D., Hood P., Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL Content and Language Integrated Learning.            Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Unrau, N. J. (1997). Thoughtful teachers, thoughtful learners. Scarborough, Ontario, Pippin    Publishing.

http://www.cambridge.org/elt/blog/2014/04/teaching-critical-thinking-using-blooms-taxonomy/

http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2010/09/27/applying-blooms-taxonomy-in-the-classroom/

 

 

Citation form/dictionary form

A citation form is the form of a word that is found as a headword in a dictionary. A citation form represents other forms of the same word. Citation forms are pronounced as full forms. These may sound different when said in connected speech.

Example

Take is the citation form for takes, taking, taken, took

Further reading

Carter, R., & McCarthy, M. (1994). Grammar and the spoken language. Applied Linguistics, 16/2.

Nation, Paul & Waring, Robin (1997). Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists. In

Schmitt, Norbert & McCarthy (eds) Vocabulary: description, acquisition and pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

CLIL

CLIL (content and language integrated learning) refers to an educational practice in primary, secondary and tertiary contexts where subject teaching and learning take place in a non-native language. The acronym CLIL was first used in 1994 and by 2006 it was recognized as ‘an innovative methodological approach of far broader scope than language teaching.’ (Eurydice 2006: 7) Content was placed before language in the acronym because subject content determines the choice of language used to teach subject matter as well as the language which learners use in order to communicate their knowledge and ideas about curricular content. What differentiates CLIL from ELT and approaches such as content-based instruction is ‘the planned pedagogic integration of contextualised content, cognition, communication and culture into teaching and learning practice.’ (Coyle 2002 in Coyle et.al. 2010: 6) There are different types of CLIL practice depending on the country, region or sometimes the school where it is being implemented.

Example

Subject and language teachers often work together to deliver CLIL classes to support the two core strands of CLIL, content and language.

Further reading

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Coyle, D., Hood, P. and Marsh, D. (2010) CLIL Content and Language Integrated Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Eurydice (2006) Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) at School in Europe

European Commission

http://www.indire.it/lucabas/lkmw_file/eurydice/CLIL_EN.pdf

http://www.goethe.de/ges/spa/dos/ifs/ceu/en2751287.htm

 

 

Conjunction

A conjunction is a class of word which joins words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs. There are two types of conjunction: coordinating and subordinating. The former join equal components whereas the latter join a main and a dependent component. Conjunctions, unlike conjuncts, are part of the sentence they appear in.

Example

Here is an example of a coordinating conjunction in a sentence: I went to the shops and bought something to eat. And, but, and or are common coordinating conjunctions.

Here is an example of a subordinating conjunction in a sentence: After I had gone to the shops I bought something to eat. There are many examples of subordinating conjunctions e.g. after, before, when, although, because, as a result of, due to.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Course of study

This term is used in two different ways. It refers to a set of lessons or workshops making up a whole. In this sense it is synonymous with ‘course’.

It is also used to refer to a programme of study into which different courses are integrated.

Example

In this example course is used in both its meanings, which makes the example potentially a little confusing!

The course I took in Italian at university was made up of lots of different courses e.g. medieval literature, philology, etymology, 19th century history.

Further reading

No further reading is provided for this general word.

 

 

Direct method

A method of language teaching popular until the early 1950s. The method advocated the use of only the target language in the classroom, and the use of student-teacher dialogue supported by visuals such as gestures or photos.

Example

When I learnt Russian my teacher used the Direct Method. She would do things round the classroom or talk about objects or pictures she showed us, describing her actions or the pictures and then asking us questions about them. In some ways it was quite similar to the way in which a parent teaches a child language.

Further reading

Howatt, A.P.R. and Widdowson, H. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Ridgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/direct-method

 

 

Ellipsis

Ellipsis refers to leaving out words from sentences where the meaning is sufficiently clear from the situation or the language already used. Usually ellipsis does not lead to a loss of meaning, though students may need training in recognising it and the cohesion it gives to discourse.

Example

There is ellipsis in this sentence Bob often goes on holiday to the sea, and Tom too.  does or goes there has been left out after ‘Tom’  because the speaker thinks it’s not necessary to say these elements.

Further reading

Albery, D. (2012) The TKT Course KAL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/ellipsis

 

 

Estuary English

This refers to an accent of English, first noticed and named by David Rosewarne, an EFL teacher, that is found particularly in the South East of Great Britain. It has some similarities with the sounds of Cockney, and has been identified as far north as Yorkshire and as far west as the Welsh border!

Example

It could be useful for teachers to get their students to listen to examples of Estuary English as it’s so commonly heard in many parts of England.

Further reading

Coggle, P. (1993).Do you speak Estuary? The new Standard English – How to spot it and speak it. London: Bloomsbury.

Crystal, D. (1995) Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Rosewarne, David (1984). ''Estuary English''. Times Educational Supplement, 19 (October 1984)". Phon.ucl.ac.uk. 1999-05-21.

1994 Estuary English: tomorrow's RP? English Today 37/10.

http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/estuary/home.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1728_uptodate/page20.shtml

 

 

Exponent

This term refers to the words used to express different functions of language. Exponents are one way to begin looking at functional approaches to language teaching.

Example

Here are just some examples of the exponents of suggesting:

What about …..?

How about…..?
What if we …..?
Why don’t we…..?

We could……

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Halliday, M.A.K. 1975.Learning How to Mean. London: Edward Arnold.

Ur, P. (1996) A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wilkins, D.A. (1976) Notional Syllabuses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/support/methodology/teaching-approaches/teaching-approaches-functional-approaches-in-efl/-esl/146492.article

 

 

Exposure

This refers to the beneficial effect of being surrounded by spoken and/or written language. A child growing up in a monolingual environment normally has a large amount of exposure to their native language. Many language learning experts believe that learners must be exposed to adequate amounts of language used naturally and in context for acquisition to take place.

Example

She lived in Russia for a long time but actually learnt very little Russian, as she spent most of her time with people from her own country, so she had very little exposure to Russian.

Further reading

Doughty, C. (2001). Cognitive Underpinnings of Focus on Form. In P. Robinson. (ed.),

Cognition and Second Language Instruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Doughty, C. & J. Williams (eds) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language

Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (ed.) (2001).Form-Focused Instruction and Second Language Learning. Malden, MA:

Blackwell.

Gass, S. (1997) Input, interaction and the second language learner. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence

Erlbaum.

Krashen, S. (1985).The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. Harlow: Longman.

Skehan, P. (1998).A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University

Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/exposure

 

 

Finite verb/non-finite verb

A finite verb is the part(s) of a verb that in English shows time, number or person. A non-finite verb shows none of these. An independent sentence or main clause must contain a finite verb.

Example

Here are some examples of both kinds of verb:

Finite

Non-finite

She takes

They take

We took

To take

Taking

Having taken

 

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Flow

A state in which someone is totally involved in, focussed on and motivated by what they are doing. This state is considered to be an optimum one for learning, and said to be encouraged by meaningful challenges this notion was popularised by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Example

Sometimes, usually when you’re doing something you enjoy, you manage to focus just on that, nothing else distracts you and you feel completely absorbed in what you’re doing. It’s a very rewarding and satisfying feeling that is sometimes called ‘flow’.

Further reading

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1998) Finding Flow. New York: Basic Books.

Egbert, J. 2003. A study of Flow Theory in the foreign language classroom’. The Modern

Language Journal, 87/4.

van Lier, L. 1996.Interaction in the Language Curriculum: Awareness, Autonomy &

Authenticity.Harlow: Longman.

http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/f-is-for-flow/

 

 

Fossilization

This refers to those parts of learners’ language which are used incorrectly but which do not seem responsive to correction or open to improvement. Many learner errors correct themselves automatically over time, but some seem resistant to change. These latter are called fossilized errors.

Example

Many advanced learners will be very fluent and accurate but have some recurrent errors which refuse to disappear. This phenomenon is known as fossilization.

Further reading

Candlin, C. and Mercer, N. (2001). English Language Teaching in its Social Context. Abingdon, Oxon.: Psychology Press.

Doughty ,C.J. and Long, M.H. (2008). The Handbook of Second Language. Hoboken, N.J.:

John Wiley & Sons.

Han, Z. (2004) Fossilization in Adult Second Language Acquisition. Bristol, UK: Multilingual

Matters.

Thornbury, S. The de-fossilization diaries:  http://scottthornburyblog.com/2013/08/18/the-de-fozzilization-diaries/

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/fossilization

 

 

Genre

A genre refers to texts (spoken or written) that share the same conventions e.g. structure, vocabulary, register, grammar. Students often need to be aware of the characteristics of particular genres in order to produce them well.

Example

Genres can be very different from one another. In speaking, for example, lectures and conversation are two quite different genres with different structures and registers. And in writing the genre of emails is quite different from that of essays.

Further reading

Allison, D. (1999) Key Concepts in ELT: Genre. ELT Journal, 53/2.

Larsen-Freeman, D. & Cameron, L. (2008) Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics, Oxford:

Oxford University Press.

Martin, J. (1989) Factual Writing: Exploring and challenging social reality (2nd ed.), Oxford:

Oxford University Press.

McCarthy, M. and Carter, R. (1994) Language as Discourse: Perspectives for Language

Teaching, London: Longman.

Paltridge, B. (2001). Genre and the Language Learning Classroom. Ann Arbor: University of

Michigan Press.

Swales, J.M. (1990)Genre Analysis: English in academic and research settings, Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence: Introducing Discourse Analysis. Oxford:

Macmillan.

https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/tag/genre/

 

 

Inductive v deductive

These terms are used to refer to ways of learning. Inductive learning takes place by the learner extracting or working out rules from examples or data whereas deductive learning works by learning rules then applying them to examples or data.

Example

The grammar translation method made heavy use of a deductive way of learning, presenting learners with rules and then asking them to use them to complete exercises.  The communicative approach relies much more on an inductive approach in which second language learners hear or read language around them, in much the same way as first language learners do, then unconsciously devise rules about how different aspects of language work.

Further reading

Doughty, C. & J. Williams (eds) (1998). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language

Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gollin, J. (1998). Key Concepts in ELT: Deductive vs Inductive Language Learning. ELT Journal, 52/1.

Howatt, A.P.R. and Widdowson, H. (2004). A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford:

Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Learner-centredness

This term is used with two different meanings. One meaning refers to classroom interaction in which the focus is on the students as opposed to the teacher, and which involves heavy use of pair and group work.

The second meaning refers to involving learners in decisions about their own learning. These can include decisions about curriculum content, ways of learning and ways of assessing.

Example

When I learnt a foreign language at school the teacher was in command of and at the centre of everything – interaction, choice of what and how to learn and also how to assess. In some foreign language learning these days there is much more learner-centredness – sometimes learners make decisions about the curriculum and assessment, and often there is an emphasis on student participation in the classroom, with the teacher taking on mainly a monitoring role while the learners take over the role of language user and inputter.

Further reading

Holliday, A. (2005). The Struggle to Teach English as an International Language. New York:

Oxford University Press.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching from method to post-method.

London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Nunan, D. (1988). The Learner-Centred Curriculum: A Study in Second Language Teaching.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

(2012). Learner-Centered English Language Education: The Selected Works of David

Nunan. Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge.

Nunan, D., & Lamb, C. (2001). Managing the learning process. In D. R. Hall & A. Hewings

(Eds.), Innovation in English language teaching (pp. 27-45). London: Routledge.

Williams, M., & Burden, R. L. (1997). Psychology for Language Teacher: A social

constructivist approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Lexical approach

In a lexical approach to language teaching, learning lexis is a principle goal, thus influencing syllabus design and classroom activities. Lexis in the lexical approach includes not just single words but collocations and chunks, and lexico-grammatical aspects of lexis as well as purely semantic.

Example

One way of implementing the lexical approach in the classroom is to work with spoken or written texts and use various techniques to make students aware of the collocations and chunks the texts contain.

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach, Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Lewis, Michael (1996). Implications of a lexical view of language. In Challenge and Change in Language Teaching, Jane Willis and Dave Willis (eds.). Oxford: Heinemann.

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the Lexical Approach: Putting Theory Into Practice. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Lewis, M. (2000). Language in the lexical approach. In Teaching Collocation: Further

Developments In The Lexical Approach, Michael Lewis (ed.), 126-154. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Schmitt, N. (2000). Key Concepts in ELT: Lexical Chunks. ELT Journal 54/4.
Thornbury, Scott (1997). Reformulation and reconstruction: tasks that promote 'noticing'. ELT Journal 51/4.             

(1998). The Lexical Approach: a journey without maps? Modern English Teacher 7(4).

(2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Willis, D. (1990).The Lexical Syllabus: A New Approach To Language Learning. London:

Collins ELT.
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/26/leixical-approach-revolution

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/lexical-approach-1-what-does-lexical-approach-look

 

 

Lexical priming

The idea behind lexical priming is that as we learn words, we begin to associate them with certain contexts of language in use, so that later, when we meet these contexts again, they are likely to trigger the word, i.e. particular contexts prime us to use particular words.

Example

What word would you put into this gap? These days politicians are no longer highly……….

Respected, paid, employable, moral, polished, amused, skilled, regarded and other words are all possible completions for the blank but lexical priming suggests that we would choose one of the first two words as the likely completion.

Further reading

Hoey, M. (2000). A World Beyond Collocation: New Perspectives on Vocabulary Teaching. In

Lewis, M. (Ed.). Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach. Hove: Thomson-Heinle.

Hoey, M. (2005). Lexical Priming: A New Theory of Words and Language. London: Routledge.

Hoey, M. (2009). A Review of “Lexical priming: a new theory of words and language.

Language Awareness 18/1.

Pace-Sigg, M. (2013). Lexical Priming in Spoken English Usage. Basingstoke, Hampshire:

Palgrave, MacMillan.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09658410802147378#.VCU19_ldUpk

 

Lingua Franca

A lingua franca is a language which is not the first language of the speakers in an interaction, and that is used by them to enable communication between them. Pidgins and creoles often act as lingua francas, and nowadays English often does, too.

Example

When Jimmy went to Morocco, he sometimes ended up speaking with people in Dutch, though his language was English and theirs was Arabic or Berber. He’d learnt Dutch while living in Holland as had his Moroccan friends. Dutch became their lingua franca.

Further reading

Jenkins, Jennifer. 2007. English as a Lingua Franca: Attitudes and Identity. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Kachru, B. (ed.). 1992. The Other Tongue (Second edition). Urbana and Chicago: University

Of Illinois Press.

McArthur, T. 1998. The English Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McKay, S. 2002. Teaching English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University

Phillipson, Robert (1992), Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Seidlhofer, B. (2005) Key concepts in ELT: English as a Lingua Franca. ELT Journal 59/4.

http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/59/4/339.full.pdf+html

 

 

Main clause and subordinate clause

A main clause is one that contains a finite verb (See Finite Verb) and is able to be used independently i.e. by itself because it makes sense by itself.

A subordinate clause is a clause of time, result, reason, concession, etc which qualifies a main clause and cannot stand by itself (in writing) as its meaning is incomplete.

Example

In this sentence the part in bold is the main clause and the parts in italics are subordinate clauses.

Even though she thought the book was very expensive she decided to buy it so that she could study it easily at home

Further reading

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/subordinate-clause

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence

 

 

 

Modal verb

A modal verb is a verb which expresses an attitude or wishes about the meaning in the main verb, or a statement of its likelihood or possibility. The modal verbs in English are: may, might, can, could, must, should, will, would. These modal verbs have distinctive forms, too: not taking ‘s’ in the 3rd person singular of the present simple, not having an infinitive or a participle, and forming the question form of the present and past simple through inversion of the subject and verb, and the negative simply by adding ‘not’.

Example

The underlined verbs in this sentence are modal verbs:

We had to move country even though it seemed the future would be difficult. But we couldn’t stay where we were. Now we can’t go back home but we may be able to at some point in the future.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

 

 

Patterns of interaction

This term refers to the patterns of who interacts with who in a classroom. The main patterns are: student(s) to teacher, teacher to student(s), student(s) to student(s), student alone. A teacher can choose which is the most appropriate pattern to use in order to achieve the learning aims of different activities.

Example

I started the class with a teacher to students interaction pattern as I gave all the students some information. The students then did some pair work followed by some individual work, and then the lesson ended with them doing some group work. So across the lesson we used four different kinds of interaction pattern.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2012). Essential Teacher Knowledge. Harlow: Pearson Education.

McDonough, J. and Shaw. C. (2003) Materials and Methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press.

Seedhouse, P. (1995). Classroom interaction: possibilities and impossibilities. ELT Journal

50/1.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tsui, A.B.M.(1995). Introducing Classroom Interaction. London: Penguin.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/interaction-patterns

 

 

Substitution

This term refers to a grammatical process through which lexical items or grammatical structures are replaced in texts by other lexis or structures in order to increase the cohesion of the text, or avoid repetition.

Example

The words in bold in these sentences are all examples of substitution:

Ben saw Kate last night. She was on the same train as he was. (lexical substitution)

Some say that the earth will be destroyed by global warming. I find this so difficult to take on board. (grammatical substitution).

James lost his job and so did I. (grammatical substitution).

The minister’s press secretary always worries about reporters but it seems the minister rarely does. (grammatical substitution).

Further reading

Albery, D. (2012). The TKT Course: KAL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence – Introducing Discourse Analysis. Oxford:  Macmillan 2005.

(2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/cohesion

 

 

Substitution drill

A substitution drill is one in which students replace one word in a sentence by another word/ other words of the same part of speech. The substitute word is given to the students as a prompt by the teacher. Substitution drills formed an important part of the audio-lingual method. They provide controlled practice and it was thought they gave learners the opportunity to learn new language by repetition.

Example

Here is an example of a substitution drill:

Teacher: Can you repeat after me ‘The girl is walking’.

Students: The girl is walking.

Teacher: singing

Students: The girl is singing

Teacher: doing her homework

Students: The girl is doing her homework

etc

Further reading

Baker, J. and Westrup, H. (2003). Essential Speaking Skills. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/substitution-drill

http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/drills.htm

 

 

 

.

Syllabus

This term is used in two different ways in English language teaching. Sometimes it refers just to a list of the items/areas which students are meant to learn and the teacher to teach over a course of study e.g. particular language skills or subskills, particular lexis or topics, particular tasks or grammatical structures. This list is presented in the order in which the items/areas are intended to be taught and is usually incorporated into an official school or ministry document and often forms the basis of course books.

The term is sometimes also used synonymously with ‘curriculum’ (See curriculum), where it includes not just the items/areas to be learnt but also learning outcomes, general educational objectives, assessment aims and methods and teaching approaches.

Example

The map of the book at the beginning of a coursebook contains the syllabus for that coursebook.

Further reading

Christison, M and Murray, D. (2014). What English Language Teachers Need to Know,

Volume 3.  New York and London: Routledge.

Knapp, K., Seidlhofer, B. H. G. Widdowson, H.G.. (ed.s), 2009. Handbook of Foreign

Language Communication and Learning. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Nunan, D. (1988). Syllabus Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

CEFR 2001 http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/syllabus-writing

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/syllabus

 

 

Anaphoric and cataphoric reference

These are two terms used to describe words which refer to other words in a sentence or text. Anaphoric reference refers to words that have occurred previously, while cataphoric reference refers to words that come later. Pronouns, determiners and demonstrative adjectives often fulfil these functions, which contribute to the cohesion of discourse.

Example

Try to work out what each reference word refers to in this text. Is the reference anaphoric or cataphoric?

Michael gave Anne a new book for her birthday. She was very pleased with it but forgot to thank him. That upset him. ‘This is what I’ll do’, he decided: ‘I’ll never give her a present again’.

Key: Green = anaphoric, red = cataphoric.

Further reading

Cook, G. (1989). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2005). Beyond the Sentence. Oxford: MacMillan.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Townsend Hall, B. (1997). Key Concepts in ELT: Anaphora. ELT Journal 51/4.

 

 

Auxiliary verb

An auxiliary verb is a verb that helps another verb. It helps it to form e.g. progressive aspect, the passive voice, a past participle, negative, interrogative or emphatic forms. In English the auxiliary verbs are do, be, and have.

Example

‘Have’ as an auxiliary

Having finished his work, he went out for lunch

Has she written that email?

He had never understood

‘Be’ as an auxiliary

It’s been cooked somewhere else

It was made yesterday

She is waiting

‘Do’ as an auxiliary

I do believe you, honestly

How do you do?

When did he get here?

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, 2ndedition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/auxiliary-verb

https://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil/posts/518704661475552

 

 

Behaviourism

A school of psychology very popular in the Western world in the middle of the 20th century. It claims that learning occurs through the establishment of fixed responses to given external stimuli, and that to establish these responses or behaviours, they need to be constantly repeated and reinforced. Behaviourism had a strong influence on language teaching in the audio-lingual method. It lost credibility when it was understood that language was too varied to be learnt simply by reinforcement and repetition, and that repetition was not enough to ensure all learning.

Example

Drilling, the avoidance of mistakes and of using the L1 in class are influences from behaviourism that can still be seen in English language teaching.

Further reading

Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English language teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

Howatt, A.P.R. with Widdowson H.G. (2004). A history of English language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Williams, M. and Burden, R. (1997) Psychology for Language Teachers: A Social Constructivist Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

Likert scale

A Likert /ˈlɪkɜt/scale (devised in 1932 by organisational psychologist Rensis Likert) and also known as a ‘summative scale’, is a bipolar psychometric scale used in qualitative research to record responses along a range which captures intensity of feeling about attitudes to a given issue. It is regarded as a balanced method of data collection as it features an equal number of positive and negative responses, usually separated by a neutral response in mid-position. However, some researchers prefer to produce a ‘forced choice’ by omitting the middle option. Generally, five possible responses are set along a horizontal line (although some practitioners use as many as seven, or even nine, which gives more scope to respondents who like to avoid extremes!)

A typical five-item response line is:

Strongly disagree  -  Disagree  -  Neither agree nor disagree  -  Agree  -  Strongly agree

As well as levels of agreement, Likert scales can also be used to record other variable responses:

frequency

Very frequently  -  Frequently  -  Occasionally  -  Rarely  -  Never

 

importance

Very important  -  important  -  moderately important  -  of little importance  -  Unimportant

likelihood

Almost always true  -  Usually true  -  Occasionally trues  -  Usually not true  -  Almost never true

 

Strictly speaking, a Likert scale is the sum of responses to a number of statements (‘Likert items’) and refers to the range of potential scores. So, in a 5-point range like the one below, if scores of are distributed in a range of 1-5, the Likert scale is 5-25:

Strongly disagree                   1

Disagree                               2

Neither agree nor disagree       3

Agree                                    4

Strongly agree                        5

 

To report on a Likert scale, the values for each separate option should be summed and a score created for each respondent. Scores can then be used to create a chart showing the distribution of opinion across the target population. Scores are very often plotted and reported using diverging stacked bar charts (see Robbins & Heiberger 2011). For results to be meaningful, all the items selected should belong to a similar category, so that the summed score produces a reliable measurement of the particular behaviour or attitude being investigated.

The advantage of Likert scales is that they provide quantitative data about personal attitudes whilst allowing for degrees of opinion (or no opinion). Possible drawbacks are ‘central tendency bias’, where respondents avoid the extremes, ‘acquiescence bias’, where they simply agree with the statement presented, and ‘social desirability bias’, where they give the response that they think represents them in the most positive light. Another potential disadvantage is that few options are on offer, and respondents may not easily be able to align themselves with any of them.  There may also be a problem within sets of items, whereby respondents are influenced by their own answers to earlier questions, either remaining consistent out of habit, or deliberately breaking the pattern. These issues can be resolved at the design stage by means of carefully designed and sequenced questions.

[Alan Pulverness]

Example 

"Example Likert Scale" by Nicholas Smith http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Example_Likert_Scale.svg#mediaviewer/File:Example_Likert_Scale.svg

Further reading

Bertram, D. “Likert scales…are the meaning of life” http://poincare.matf.bg.ac.rs/~kristina/topic-dane-likert.pdf

Bryman, A. 2012. Social Research Methods.  4th ed Oxford: Oxford University Press

Denscombe, M. 2014 The Good Research Guide: For Small Scale Research Projects 2014Maidenhead: Open University Press

Likert, R. 1932. “A Technique for the Measurement of Attitudes” Archives of Psychology, No.140.

Robbins, N. B. & M. R. Heiberger. 2011. “Plotting Likert and Other Rating Scales” https://www.amstat.org/sections/SRMS/Proceedings/y2011/Files/300784_64164.pdf

Uebersax, J.S. “Likert scales: dispelling the confusion”  http://www.john-uebersax.com/stat/likert.htm

Micro-teaching

Micro-teaching (also known as peer teaching), which originated at Stanford University in the 1960s, is a practice now widely used in general, as well as ELT, teacher training contexts worldwide. Micro-teaching practices vary in some respects, but essentially the procedure consists of teachers trying out short lesson sequences for an audience of their peers, some of whom adopt the roles of learners. These lesson sequences may be video-recorded, and the teachers receive oral feedback from peers and / or a supervisor, and written feedback from the supervisor.  In some versions of micro-teaching, teachers are given the opportunity to address the issues highlighted in the feedback stage by re-teaching the same lesson sequence.

[Alan Pulverness]

Example

“I’m finding that, on my present course, the sessions in which we ‘workshop’ lessons as a group in a micro-teaching format, with the trainees teaching their colleagues and me intervening as they do so, are both less stressful for the trainees and (I think) more productive in terms of their developmental outcomes.”  from An A-Z of ELT, Scott Thornbury’s blog https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/p-is-for-practicum/

 

Further reading

Bailey, K.M. 2006. Language Teacher Supervision: A case-based approach.Cambridge:   Cambridge University Press.

Brown, G. 1975. Micro-teaching: A programme of teaching skills. London: Methuen.

Geddes, M. & H. Raz. 1979. “Pupil-Teacher Interaction”. In Holden, S. [Ed] Teacher Training. London: Modern English Publications.

Gower, R., D. Phillips & S. Walters. 1998. Teaching Practice Handbook. Oxford: Heinemann.

Moore, A. 1979. “Microteaching without video”. In Holden, S. [Ed] Teacher Training. London: Modern English Publications.

Richards, J. 1998. Beyond Training. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, J. 1998. Language Teacher Education. London: Arnold.

Tanner, R. & C. Green. 1998.Tasks for Teacher Education: a reflective approach. Harlow: Longman.

Wallace, M.J. 1979. “Microteaching: Skills and strategies”. In Holden, S. [Ed] Teacher Training. London: Modern English Publications.

Needs analysis

 

 

Needs analysis is primarily a process of investigating the specific linguistic needs of learners in order to design or adapt a course specifically for them. Needs analysis can also be used to find out other information about your learners including motivation, preferences, and learner styles which can help design or tailor the course to the profile of the learner. Data collection can be done through formal and informal interviews, questionnaires and questions will often relate what kind of things the learner will ultimately do with the language which can help formulate learning objectives

Example 

I used the results of my needs analysis to create my speaking and listening course from scratch

Further reading 

Harding K (2007) English for specific purposes; Oxford 

Jordan R.R (1997) English for academic purposes; Cambridge University Press 

Evans T and St John M (1998) Developments in English for Specific Purposes; Cambridge University Press 

 

 

 

Pedagogical theory (n.)

This can be summed up as the philosophical, sociological and psychological considerations that provide teachers with a sound basis for their classroom activities.

Well, Sue is OK in the classroom but I don’t think we can make her Head of Department as she has no real understanding of the thinking behind our policies and syllabus.  

Professionalism/professional/professional skills (n/adj./n.)

The concept of there being particular strategies and approaches that help teachers to improve their own work and also to develop their department, school or the whole profession. Some definitions of these terms also include skills that are not teaching skills but which could help teachers do their job better, for example interpersonal skills or computer skills, while others add generally desirable employee characteristics such as reliability, honesty, conscientiousness and a suitably smart appearance.

John is the most professional teacher I have ever met. So can you timetable him to be teaching in that room opposite the Head’s office when the inspectors come next week? ‘Cos they’re bound to pop into that room. 

Plenary (n./adj.)

Part of the lesson in which the whole class works together, led by the teacher.

After the group work the teacher brought the whole class together for plenary feedback.

 

Sentence stem lecture or reading (n.)

A way of encouraging participants to listen or read carefully and of checking their retention of input. In this technique participants are required to complete sentence beginnings (stems) with selected parts of the input contents. 

Mariella was a skilled lecturer who often gave her students a sentence stem lecture to ensure they stayed awake throughout the hour.   

Buzz lecture or reading/buzzing (n/n.)

A way of encouraging participants to listen or read carefully and of checking their retention of input. In this technique the lecture or reading is paused from time to time and participants talk in twos or threes to summarise to each other what the lecturer has just said or the section of the article that they have just read. 

The students seemed to enjoy buzzing as it was much more active and fun than having to remain quiet throughout the lecture.

 

Pyramid (n.)

A classroom interaction pattern in which learners work in twos on a task and then come together with another pair to compare and reach a consensus on their results. Each group of four then joins another group of four and the group of eight must negotiate to produce a result that represents both groups of four. Finally, the products or outcomes of the work are shared in plenary.

Robert wanted them to come to a decision about the class outing while practising their English and decided that he would set up a pyramid task to achieve both aims. 

Pinboard plenary (n.)

An activity type that allows task results to be shared amongst the whole class in visual form. Each working pair or group puts their points on to a small card, one card for each point. The cards are then stuck up on a pinboard and read aloud. The whole class decides which points are similar and those cards are moved so that they are close to each other. Points can also be evaluated in plenary.  

Sandra decided to get her trainee teachers to work in pairs and write what they knew about giving good instructions as a series of tips on small cards. Then all the small cards would be put up in a pinboard plenary.

 

Review circles (n.)

An activity type in which the class stands in two concentric circles of equal numbers of learners. The inner circle face outwards and the outer circle face inwards so that each learner is facing one of their colleagues. The teacher or teacher trainer remains outside the circles and gives the class a topic or word to discuss or define with their partner. At a signal the inner circle members move one place to the right so that everybody has a new partner. The teacher decides if they will discuss or define the same topic or word, or a new one.

Tim frequently gets his classes to revise the vocabulary from the last lesson by means of a 10-minute review circles activity.

 

Supervisor (n.)

A name often found in the literature of lesson observation for a person who knows how to analyse teaching and learning, and who works in a professional way with a teacher, observing a lesson or lessons, and giving feedback to the teacher. The goal of the supervision process is to help the teacher reflect fruitfully on their teaching in order to modify or improve it.   

A teaching practice supervisor is supposed to be able to observe and assess student teachers objectively. 

Schema/schemata (n. sing/pl)

The organisation of experience and/or knowledge into conceptual frameworks in the mind or brain. Schemata allow the brain to reference and integrate new knowledge or situations through making connections with what is already known.

Different readers bring different schemata to a text and these are also often culture-specific.

 

Summative assessment (n.)

Teacher assessment that is carried out at the end of, or after, a training course. Its purpose is to see how much the teachers have learned from the course.  

Sue decided to test the teachers on their knowledge of lesson planning by getting them to fill in the forms they had studied in the course for their next lessons, and she would grade them. She thought that would provide appropriate summative assessment. 

Summative evaluation (n.)

Evaluation of a training course at the end of, or after, the course. Its purpose is to find out how effective and/or successful the course was.  

The ministry conducted exhaustive summative evaluation of the new teacher training course using a variety of instruments, some on the last course day, and others by email to the participants three months after the course.

Alveolar

This is a phonological term referring to the place in the mouth where some sounds are produced. The alveolar ridge is the ridge behind the teeth. The sounds produced when the tongue makes contact with the ridge are called alveolar. In English the alveolar sounds are /t/, /d/, /s/, /z/, /n/, /l/.

Alveolar

Example

I’ve always found that it helps students to be aware of where in the mouth sounds are formed. When students have problems with any of the alveolar sounds I show them a labelled diagram of the mouth then get them to touch the ridge with their tongue as they try to say the problem sound. Then I tell them to practise at home in front of the bathroom mirror!

Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Marks, J. (2012) The Pronunciation Book. Peaslake, Surrey: Delta

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/pronunciation

 

 

Assessment criteria

These are levels or qualities of performance that markers use consciously or unconsciously to grade learners’ performance. To prevent assessment criteria being used randomly or unreliably and to guide markers, assessment criteria are very often written out in the form of analytic or holistic (See analytic/holistic) band descriptors or checklists.

Example

If you look at https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/ielts_task_1_writing_band_descriptors.pdf you will see examples of assessment criteria for writing (Task Response, Coherence and Cohesion, Lexical Resource, Grammatical Range and Accuracy). These have been fleshed out to provide band descriptors for nine levels of language proficiency for IELTS writing.

Further reading

Dictionary of Language Testing (1999). Studies in Language Testing 7.Cambridge: University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

Hughes, A. (2003).Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/criterion-referenced-test

 

 

Assessment for learning

This kind of assessment is often contrasted with assessment of learning. It aims at promoting and encouraging learning rather than just evaluating or assessing it, seeing assessment as a means of identifying  what learning needs to be focussed on next. It often takes the form of formative assessment during lessons and encourages learner autonomy as a way of achieving its purposes.

Example

"Sometimes I video students doing group work, then we evaluate their performance using a checklist. Then together we decide what we need to focus on in the next lessons to help them move forward. This is assessment for learning – they like it and so do I."

Further reading

Stoynoff, S. (2012). Looking backward and forward at classroom-based language assessment. ELT Journal 66/4.

CfBT Assessment for Learning: effects and impact https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED546817.pdf

Black, P. & William, D. (2001). Inside the Black Box: Raising standards through classroom assessment https://www.rdc.udel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/InsideBlackBox.pdf

Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B & William, D. (2004). Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for learning in the classroom https://jaymctighe.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Working-Inside-the-Black-Box.pdf

 

 

Assimilation

This is a term from phonetics. It refers to a process that occurs in connected speech to enable the sounds in speech to flow more smoothly. In assimilation one sound is influenced by a nearby sound and becomes like it in some way.

Example

Fun birthday - fʌm bəːθdeɪ (the /n/ in ‘fun’ is assimilated towards the /b/ in ‘birthday’)

Sandwich - /samwidʒ/ (the /n/ is assimilated towards the /d/)

Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology. Glossary: https://www.peterroach.net/glossary.html

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/assimilation

 

 

CEFR

This stands for the Common European Frame of Reference. It was compiled by the Council of Europe and contains a series of descriptors of learners’ language performance at six different levels of proficiency, A1-C2, across the different language skills. The descriptors are expressed as ‘can-do’ statements. They can be used to set goals for learning or teaching and also to assess students’ proficiency.

Example

A lot of course books these days use the CEFR to define the level of the learners they are intended for and to design their syllabus around.

Further reading

Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Heyworth, F. (2006). Key concepts in ELT: The Common European Framework. ELTJournal 60/2.

https://www.eaquals.org/our-expertise/cefr/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages

https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/cefr/

 

 

Compound words

Compound words are combinations of words which together form one part of speech and have one meaning. They are written as one word, hyphenated or as separate words. Compound words can be different parts of speech e.g. nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives.

Example

Some people don’t realise that groups of words like in spite of and without are compound words.

 Further reading

Kenworthy, J. (1987). Teaching English Pronunciation. Harlow: Longman.

Lieber, R. & Štekauer P. eds. (2009).The Oxford Handbook of Compounding, eds. Oxford:

Oxford University Press.

Plag, I. (2003) Word-formation in English, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, D. (1990). Compound Word Stress. ELT Journal 45/1.

Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology. Glossary: https://www.peterroach.net/glossary.html

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

 

 

Realia

Objects from outside the classroom that the teacher or learners bring into the classroom in order to illustrate meaning or prompt communication or learning. They include anything portable such as household items, clothing, things related to travel (tickets, brochures, credit cards, leaflets), toys, photos, newspapers. Nowadays in some teaching contexts realia are often replaced by PowerPoint images and visuals on interactive white boards.

Example

"Primary school students are often very motivated by working with realia. They love doing things like counting different fruits or putting models of different kinds of animals into different baskets as a way of categorising them."

Further reading

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/teaching-tips/realia

http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Mumford-Relia.html

http://www.usingenglish.com/weblog/archives/000228.html 

 

 

Rhythm

The regular beat at which a language is spoken, and which in English is achieved through the use of stress and weak or no stress.

Example

Try saying these sentences, following the stress marks* given

(ˈ = primary stress; ˌ = secondary stress)

This should help you feel their rhythm:

|Breakfast

He had |breakfast

The |news |paper

He |read the |news |paper

|After he had |breakfast he |read the |news |paper

Further reading

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. and Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Couper-Kuhlen, E. (1993). English Speech Rhythm:Form and Function in Everyday Verbal Interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/rhythm

Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology. Glossary: https://www.peterroach.net/glossary.html

Role play

This is an activity in which learners take on roles (characters) and act them out in a situation. It is used to practise language, often as a free practice activity. It is also used to help students to explore ideas and issues. A role play is different from a simulation. In a simulation, learners are put in a situation in which there is some problem to resolve. They are not given specific roles.

In role plays, learners are often given role cards to guide what they need to say, do or discuss. An example of a role play would be putting students into groups of four with one of them each as head teacher, parent, local shopkeeper or student representative, and then to hold a group discussion in their roles on design plans for rebuilding the school. Role plays can also be used to prompt writing, reading and listening, for example, when learners are given different roles in which to receive and react to information from a text.

Example

"Some of my students really enjoy doing role plays – they like the freedom that comes with pretending to be someone else, but others just get shy and embarrassed, so I have to think carefully about how often I do role plays and whether they can be done as pair work rather than in front of lots of other students."

Further reading

Crookall, D. & Oxford, R.L. (Eds.) (1990).  Simulation, Gaming, and Language Learning. New York: Newbury House.

Ladousse, G. P. (1987). Role Play. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Skehan, P. (1998b). Task based instruction. In Grahe, W. (Ed.), Annual review of applied linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ur, P.  (1999).  A Course in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Tompkins-RolePlaying.html

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/elt-guide-2-simulations

 

 

Scaffolding

Scaffolding refers to techniques the teacher can use to support learners in their learning of new language or skills. The techniques include breaking tasks down into small steps, providing demonstrations, providing visuals to support texts and talk, providing learners with dictionaries, guiding learners with teacher talk. The term 'scaffolding' was put forward by Bruner and colleagues (1976), who developed the idea after reading Vygotsky ("What learners can do today with support, they can do alone tomorrow" (Bentley, 2010, p.69)).  Scaffolding is also used to refer to the support speakers give one another to keep their communication going e.g. making eye contact, nodding, asking relevant questions.

Example

"Driving instructors usually gradually scale down the amount of scaffolding they give learner drivers. At first they may use a second steering wheel, tell them when and how to change gear etc, then bit by bit they tell them and show them less and less till they are ‘on their own’."

Further reading

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Foley, J. (1993). Key concepts in ELT in ELT: scaffolding ELT Journal 48/ 1. Oxford University Press.

Gibbons, P. (2008). Challenging pedagogies: More than just good practice?’ in NALDIC Quarterly

vol. 6 no. 2. https://www.naldic.org.uk/Resources/NALDIC/Professional%20Development/Documents/NQ6.2.3.pdf

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. Oxford: Macmillan.

Wood, D. Bruner, J.S. & Ross, G. (1976) The role of tutoring and problem solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17/2, pp. 89-100.

Scaffolding children’s learning: https://www.carolread.com/download/scaffolding-childrens-learning-through-story-and-drama-cats-autumn-2008/

Self-assessment

This is when the learner assesses their own performance, the strategies they have employed to do something or their attitudes.  Self-assessment is often a part of formative assessment and is used to enable the learner to become more autonomous in their learning. Self-assessment is often guided by checklists to help learners know what criteria to use for their evaluation.

Example

"Students don’t always like doing self-assessment at the beginning., but in my experience they get used to it bit by bit and come to see the value of it."

Further reading

Harris, M. (1997). Self-assessment of language learning in formal settings. ELT Journal 51/1. Oxford University Press.

Scharle, Á., and A. Szabó. 2000. Learner Autonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tudor, I. 1996. Learner-Centredness as Language Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

British Council. Peer and Self Assessment https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/peer-self-assessment

 

Sentence stems

A sentence stem is a term used in the design of tests or classroom practice materials to indicate the first part of a sentence which students are then given to complete. The stem scaffolds the student’s ideas and language production in writing or speaking.

Another use of the term is to describe chunks that act as discourse markers to introduce what will be said next. Some examples are ‘I would just like to say…..’, ‘What I’d like to discuss now is ……..’, ‘In this paragraph I will……’. The stems need completing to make sentences.

Sentence stems form the basis of language frames in CLIL, where they are sometimes called sentence starters.

Example

When I’m teaching essay writing to my intermediate or advanced classes I often give them sentence stems to help them structure their writing and adopt the right style. I usually include chunks like: In this essay I will discuss, moving on to my next point…., to sum up, I would like to conclude by …….

Further reading

Lewis, M. (1997) Implementing the Lexical Approach. Stamford: Cengage.

http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/sentence-stems

http://www.onestopenglish.com/clil/methodology/articles/article-planning-clil-lessons/500472.article

 

 

SIG

This acronym stands for Special Interest Group. These groups, often set up by participants, are formal or informal and interact to focus on a mutual interest. There are many SIG groups for teachers of EFL. They allow teachers to pursue their interests and engage in continuous professional development.

Example

IATEFL (See IATEFL) has a list of SIGs here: https://www.iatefl.org/special-interest-groups/sig-list

 

Further reading

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/research-special-interest-group

http://jalt.org/ted/

http://www.iatefl.org/special-interest-groups/sig-list

http://www.ieera.org/SIGS.htm

http://www.tesol.org/connect/interest-sections

http://www.koreatesol.org/sigs

http://www.braztesol.org.br/site/view.asp?p=4

 

Visual literacy

Visual literacy is the ability to interpret and make sense of information presented in graphic or pictorial form e.g. through diagrams, charts, images. Visual literacy can act as an aim in a language course or a means through which language is learnt. Visual literacy is also important is CLIL where visual organisers play an important part in scaffolding learning.

Example

In a world in which we are surrounded by images, teachers often think it is important to include work on visual literacy in their classroom to help learners interpret and evaluate these images.

Further reading

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Golstein, B. (2008). Working with Images. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/jamie-keddie-visual-literacy-elt

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/jamie-keddie-visual-literacy-elt-0

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/04/homeless-man-nypd-cop-boots

http://www.bengoldstein.es/?portfolio_item=the-power-of-image-developing-a-visual-literacy-in-the-language-classroom

 

 

Word family

This word is used in two different ways. It can refer to words which all derive from the same base word e.g. produce, productive, production, product. Many test items are designed round changing a word in a word family to another in the same family.

It also refers to words that share a form in pronunciation, such as the words in many nursery rhymes.

Example

Here is an example of a test item focussing on changes to base words in word families:

Word family elt.oup

 

https://elt.oup.com/student/result/engupp/b_vocabulary/unit01/1a?cc=us&selLanguage=en

Here is an example of a nursery rhyme based on words with shared pronunciations:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Further reading

https://www.google.com/search?q=word+family&sa=G&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ei=TkheU_6TO4KiO4DGgPgO&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=899

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rhymes/wordfamilies/

https://elt.oup.com/student/result/engupp/b_vocabulary/unit01/1a?cc=us&selLanguage=en

Bauer, L. and Nation, P. (1993). Word Families. International Journal of Lexicography 6/4: https://www.pdffiller.com/jsfiller-desk16/?projectId=333956463&expId=5487&expBranch=2#c9a5d00684dd7c93147fd63eaaa3e449

Nation, P. and Waring, R. Vocabulary Size, Text Coverage and Word Lists in in Schmitt; N.and  McCarthy, M. , (1997). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 

http://www.fltr.ucl.ac.be/fltr/germ/etan/bibs/vocab/cup.html

 

 

Error/Mistake/Slip

These words – error and mistake in particular – are often used interchangeably. When given distinct meanings, a slip refers to the kind of mistake we can all (including proficient speakers) make due to pressure of time, anxiety etc. i.e. this is not a mistake due to lack of proficiency but due to the temporary effect on the speaker of particular circumstances .

An error refers to a systematic mistake made by a language learner that is due to lack of mastery of that part of the language system [see also interlanguage]. Mistake is a non-technical word that refers to both a slip and an error.

Example

"He’s a proficient English speaker – there are no errors in his language, but when he gave that talk the other night he was so nervous that he made loads of slips."

Further reading

Ellis, R. and Barkhuizen, G.P.  (2005). Analysing Learner Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Corder, S. P. (1967). The significance of learners' errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics 5.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/linguacom/feedback-error-correction-%E2%80%93-it-your-job

 

 

Target language

This term is used in two different ways. One use is to identify the language, e.g. Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, English etc that a learner is trying to learn.

Another use is to refer to the particular item(s) of language that a teacher selects for learners to learn in a particular lesson and which the activities and materials in a lesson aim to teach.

Example

Some target language for a lesson for elementary learners might be:

the irregular past tenses went, took, came, sold, bought, saw, said, found in affirmative, negative and interrogative forms

or

exponents for suggesting: why don’t we../ how about +gerund/ we could…./ what about + gerund

or

vocabulary from the lexical set of clothes: jeans, top, shoes, sandals, sweat-shirt, jacket, scarf, coat.

Further reading

Bolton, K. and Kachru, B. (2006). World Englishes, Critical Concepts in Linguistics, Volume 5.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

http://www.willis-elt.co.uk/taskbased.html

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/target-language

https://www.cambridge.org/elt/resources/appliedlinguistics/reading/WorldEnglishes_Sample_Ch3.pdf

 

 

 

 

Thesaurus

A thesaurus is a reference book of words organised according to their similarity of meaning or belonging to the same lexical set. The purpose of a thesaurus is to help us find the word that best expresses what we want to say. A thesaurus can provide a very rich resource for drawing a mind map. This is why there are several visual thesaurus computer programmes.

Example

Click here to see an example from a thesaurus for the word ‘Money’.

Further reading

Davidson, G. (2002). Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. London: Penguin.

Information about Roget's Thesaurus on Wikipedia

http://graphwords.com/

Visual mind maps: http://www.visuwords.com/

 

 

Tones and tone groups

A tone group is a word or group of words belonging together in sense and across which one tone operates. A tone group is sometimes known as a tone unit or as an intonation contour.

A tone is a movement in pitch across a tone group and which indicates meaning. In English there are four main tones: rise, fall, fall-rise and rise-fall. A tone has different parts which occur in a fixed sequence: head →nucleus →tail

Example

Can you say these tone groups following the tones given in the intonation contours?

     

Tomorrow

 

      

Last night

 

        

Only last night

 

            

Just a few minutes ago

 

Further reading

Brazil, D., Couthard, M. and Johns, C. (1980). Discourse Intonation and Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman.

De Lacy, P. (Ed.) (2012). The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gussenhoven, C. (2004). The Phonology of Tone and Intonation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

Wells, J.C. (2006) English Intonation: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Roach, P. English Phonetics and Phonology.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/intonation

 

 

Transformation drill

A transformation drill is one in which the teacher provides the students with a base sentence to repeat, then gives them a prompt to incorporate into the sentence. Using the prompt requires learners to change the grammar of the initial sentence. Transformation drills were thought to help students learn new structures by providing controlled practice of a target structure and understanding of the linguistic context in which it operates.

Example

Here is an example of a transformation drill:

Teacher: Repeat this sentence after me: They bought an apple

Students: They bought an apple

Teacher: eat

Students: They ate an apple

Teacher: sell

Students: They sold an apple

Teacher: lose

Students: They lost an apple

etc

Further reading

Baker, J. and Westrup, H. (2003). Essential Speaking Skills. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Scrivener, J. (2011). Learning Teaching, 3rd edition. London: Macmillan.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/drilling-1

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/drilling-2

 

 

Transitive / Intransitive

These are grammatical terms used about verbs to indicate whether or not they can take an object when used in the active voice.

Transitive verbs can take an object, and some can take more than one e.g. call, give. They can also be used in the passive.

An intransitive verb cannot take an object, nor can it be used in the passive.

In English some verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively e.g. to enter, to run, to win.

Example

In the following sentence, the transitive verbs are in bold and the intransitive ones are underlined. She got up early, put on her slippers and dressing gown, then went downstairs to the dining room where breakfast had already been placed on the table.

Further reading

Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics (2010). Harlow: Pearson.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv244.shtml

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/clause-structure-and-verb-patterns

 

 

Turn

A turn is a term used to describe each contribution a speaker makes to a conversation or other spoken genre. A turn is bounded by the contributions of other speakers i.e. a turn begins when one speaker begins to talk and ends when another speaker takes over. In terms of grammar and meaning a turn may or may not be complete and may consist of one or many utterances (See Utterance). The rules for turn taking can vary between languages and cultures. Students may need to be made aware of those that operate in the language they are learning. Intonation and body language play an important part in marking turns.

Example

Scientists have discovered that some kinds of monkeys include turns in their communications, waiting for one another to respond before communicating again themselves.

Further reading

Bygate, M. (1987). Speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Houck, N.R. and Tatsuki, D.H. (eds.) (2011). Pragmatics: Teaching Natural Conversation. Virginia: TESOL.

Wong, J. and Waring, H. (2010). Conversation Analysis and Second Language Pedagogy. New York: Routledge.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24566083

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/turn-taking

 

 

 

Intonation and intonation contour

Intonation is the movement we introduce into our voices in order to convey meaning. We move our voices up or down or some combination of the two over a tone unit, with our intonation forming an intonation pattern or intonation contour over that unit. We use intonation to indicate attitude, grammatical functions or the organisation of discourse.

Example

Try saying these three sentences in the way indicated in brackets and following the intonation contour given in the lines. Notice how the intonation is different in each sentence and how your voice moves across each contour.

                           

He gave you the ticket (said as a statement)

                       

He gave you the ticket (said as a question)

                      

He gave you the ticket (said to show surprise)

 

                               

Further reading

Brazil, D. (1997). The Communicative Value of Intonation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. and Goodwin, J. (1996). Teaching Pronunciation. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Dalton, C. and Seidlhofer, B. (2004) Pronunciation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M.A.K., and Greaves, W.S., (2008). Intonation in the Grammar of English.  London:Equinox.

Hirst, D.J. & Di Cristo, A. (eds) 1998. Intonation Systems. A Survey of Twenty Languages. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

Wells, J.C. (2006) English Intonation: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://intonationpatterns.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/summary-by-vivian-cook/

 

 

 

 

Learner training

Learner training involves teaching learners how to carry out the strategies that enable them to become better learners, and often more autonomous learners. Examples of these strategies are: writing down new words on vocabulary cards, taking advantage of all opportunities to use the target language, repeating new words to yourself, listening out for specific grammatical features.

Example

"I once had a student who needed no learner training - she already kept beautifully organised files, noted down new words, asked questions when she didn’t understand, listened to all available radio and TV programmes, had an English study buddy etc etc. She was remarkable and made very rapid progress."

Further reading

Ellis, G. and Sinclair, B. (1989). Learning to Learn English. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Griffiths, G. (2007). Language learning strategies: students' and teachers' perceptions. ELT Journal 61/2. Oxford University Press.

O’Malley, J. and Chamot, A.(1990).  Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://www.cambridge.org/elt/ces/methodology/learningstrategies.htm

 

 

 

Emergent language

This is language which is a fruit of the learning process rather than taught language. It occurs as learners, in an effort to express themselves, experiment with language they haven't as yet fully mastered. Many experts suggest that teachers would do better to support learners’ emergent language rather than presenting them with language they have not yet shown a need for.

Example

Dogme is an approach to teaching that recommends teachers work with learners’ emerging language by providing opportunities for use and giving feedback, rather than working with a pre-set syllabus.

Further reading

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003). Teaching Language: From Grammar to Grammaring. Boston:Heinle & Heinle.

Meddings, L. and Thornbury, S. (2009). Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching. Guildford: Delta Publishing.

Thornbury, S. (2005) Uncovering Grammar. Oxford: MacMillan.

https://languagemoments.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/dealing-with-emerging-language/ 

https://michaeljedwards.weebly.com/blog/the-emergent-classroom-and-english-language-development

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/not-unit-5

 

Evaluation

This is the process of assessing the value of something by collecting data. Evaluation often leads to decision-making. Evaluation can be of teaching, learning, curricula, methods, exam impact, materials or other areas related to teaching and learning.

Example

When evaluating materials it is useful to collect not just teachers’ opinions but those of learners, too.

Further reading

Alderson, C. and Clapham, C. (1995).Language Test Construction and Evaluation. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.

Cunningsworth, A. (1984). Evaluating and Selecting ELT Materials. Heineman.

Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your Coursebook. Macmillan Heineman.

Kiely, R. N. &Rea-Dickins, P. M.(2005). Programme Evaluation in Language Education. Oxford: Palgrave Macmillan.

McDonough, J. and Shaw, C. (1993). Materials and Methods in ELT. Oxford: Blackwell.

Murphy. D (2000). Key Concepts in ELT: Evaluation. ELT Journal 54/2.

Sheldon, L. (1988). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials.  ELT Journal 37/3.

Weir, C. and Roberts, J. (1994). Evaluation in ELT. NJ: Wiley

Williams, M and Burden, R. (1993) The role of evaluation in ELT project design. ELT Journal 48/1.

https://www.cambridge.org/elt/ces/methodology/evaluation.htm

 

 

 

Feedback

This term has two meanings in ELT. It refers to the responses that we, as listeners, give to a speaker e.g. eye contact, exclamations, interruptions, in order to encourage or discourage them from continuing.

Feedback also refers to the comments a teacher or other students make in class on a learner’s / learners’ performance. This feedback can be positive or negative.

Example

"I found him quite difficult to talk to because he never reacted to what you said – he kept his eyes down, never nodded, showed surprise or anything – you just got no feedback from him."

Further reading

Rinvolucri, M. (1994) Key concepts in ELT: feedback. ELT Journal 48/3. Oxford University Press.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006) An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://www.cambridge.org/elt/ces/methodology/feedback.htm

http://www.stevedarn.com/?Writings::GME%3A_Student_Feedback_on_Tasks_and_Activities

 

 

Grammar dictation

The terms grammar dictation and dictogloss are used interchangeably to refer to a technique for developing students’ grammatical competence.  The technique involves dictating a text to students at normal speed while students copy down what they can of what they hear, leaving gaps for the parts they have not been able to write down for whatever reason. Then the students in pairs or groups compare what they have written and  try and complete their version of the text. The teacher may choose to then repeat this process. At the end students are given a copy of the original text to compare with their text and discuss the differences. The thinking behind grammar dictation is that it encourages students to think about both meaning and grammar, and make grammatical choices based on working out intended meanings.

Example

In my experience students are always discouraged when you do grammar dictation for the first time. They find it hard. But over time, they come to like it and appreciate how much they learn from it.

Further reading

Wainryb, R. (1990). Grammar Dictation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://www.onestopenglish.com/skills/vocabulary/phrasal-verbs/phrasal-verbs-teaching-phrasal-verbs-using-an-oral-text-and-personalizing-new-phrasal-verbs-tips-and-activities/144984.article

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/dictogloss

 

 

Lemma

A lemma is the dictionary or citation form of a word. Spoke, speaking, spoken, speaks are all forms of the lemma speak, for example

Example

When students start using a dictionary they sometimes can’t find the word they want because they don’t realise they need to look for the citation form of the word, its lemma. They need training in helping them to do this.

Further reading

Knowles, G. and Don, Z. M. (2004). The Notion of a Lemma: Headwords, Roots and Lexical Sets in International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 9/1.

Macaro, E. (2003). Teaching and Learning a Second Language. New York:Continuum.

N. Schmitt, and M. McCarthy, eds. (1997). Vocabulary: Description, Acquisition and Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-lemma-1691108 

 

Mediation

A process in which a participant in an interaction is not concerned with expressing their own views, opinions etc., but accepts the role of facilitator, helping to facilitate the communication between interlocutors who are having difficulties, for whatever reason, in communicating with one another. In ELT, mediation can refer to aiding communication between learners, to learners helping other learners to communicate, to focussing on the role of mediation involved in certain jobs (e.g. relaying messages) or to the teacher adapting imported cultural teaching techniques and methods to the culture of the learners.  In 2001, the Common European Framework of Languages included mediation as a component of communicative competence.

Example

"When I went on a training course in the UK, there were things about everyday living there that were different from what we do back home. Our teacher was always willing to answer questions about cultural differences we’d noticed. She acted as a bridge between us and the culture, mediating between the two."

Further reading

Cook, V. in Odlin, T. (ed.) (1994). Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, G. (1996). How culturally appropriate is the communicative approach? ELT Journal 50/3.

https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/m-is-for-mediation/

http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Framework_en.pdf

 

 

Metacognitive strategies

These are the learning and thinking strategies we use in order to choose which lower level strategies to use to achieve something. A visual learner might, for example, decide that they would learn much better from looking at a diagram about a process rather than by reading the accompanying text about the process. In this example, looking at the diagram is a comprehension strategy, whereas choosing to look at the diagram is a metacognitive strategy, i.e. thinking about the best way to learn. The main metacognitive strategies are planning, prioritising, setting goals, and self-management.

Example

When teachers teach metacognitive strategies they need to be aware that learners have different learning styles, so what is the best strategy for one student to learn may not be best for another.

Further reading

Cohen, A. D. (1998).Strategies in Learning and Using a Second Language. Harlow, England:Longman.

Hismanoglu, M. (2000) Language Learning Strategies in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. http://iteslj.org/Articles/Hismanoglu-Strategies.html

Oxford, R. L. (1990).Language Learning Strategies: What every teacher should know. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Oxford, R. (2003). Language Learning Styles and Strategies: An Overview.

http://hyxy.nankai.edu.cn/jingpinke/buchongyuedu/learning%20strategies%20by%20Oxford.pdf

Swan, M. (2008).Talking sense about learning strategies. RELC Journal,39 (2). 

 

 

Morphology

This is the study of the use of morphemes (See Morpheme)  to form words. Morphology shows us how different kinds of morphemes combine or operate singly to form words.

Example

Here are a few things we learn from morphology:

-          words can contain just one morpheme e.g. dictate, book, compare, persuade

-          words can contain more than one morpheme e.g. dictation, books, comparison, persuaded

-          morphemes may or may not be able to stand alone e.g. these morphemes can stand alone: on, net, can; these morphemes can’t stand alone : im-, -tion, -ed

Further reading

Carstairs McCarthy, A. (2001) An Introduction to English Morphology: Words and Their Structure. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (1988). Vocabulary and Language Teaching. London and New York: Longman.

Nation, I.S.P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

https://busyteacher.org/9530-my-brother-is-very-success-teaching-morphology.html

http://blog.britishcouncil.org/2013/05/31/three-myths-about-english-spelling/

’ology 80s retrieved from

 

 

Objective

This term has two main meanings in ELT, one related to assessment and the other to lesson planning. In relation to assessment it refers to types of assessment for which there is only one correct answer and for which the assessor doesn’t therefore need to use their judgment to decide on the value of the answer. Examples of objective test formats are True/ False, multiple choice, matching, gap-fill.

In relation to lesson planning, an objective is a specification of what a teacher intends the learners to have learnt, or be able to do better, by the end of the lesson. It is sometimes used interchangeably with learning outcome in this meaning.

Example

"The advantage of objective tests is that each item is short and clearly targeted, but their disadvantage is that they don’t really test use of the language." 

Further reading

Davies, A. Brown, A. et al. (1999). Dictionary of Language Testing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. (2013) Curriculum approaches in language teaching: forward, central and  backward design. RELC Journal, 44/1.

Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://eltnotebook.blogspot.com/2006/11/setting-objectives-part-one.html

http://eltnotebook.blogspot.com/2006/11/setting-objectives-part-two.html

 

 

Phonology

This term has various meanings. The Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics defines it as follows:

1     another term for PHONEMICS

2     (for some linguists) a cover term for both PHONETICS and PHONEMICS

3      The establishment and description of the distinctive sound units of a language (PHONEMES) by means of DISTINCTIVE FEATURES

(The Longman Dictionary of Teaching and Applied Linguistics, p.435)

Example

As a teacher of English I found it very useful to study phonology. It helped me to understand what sounds there are in English and where and how they are pronounced. This helped me develop ideas for how to help my learners with their pronunciation.

Further reading

Carr, Philip (2003).English Phonetics and Phonology: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.

Ladefoged, Peter. (1982) A Course in Phonetics (2nd ed.). London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Richards, J. and Schmidt, R. (2010). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 4th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Roach, Peter (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology, 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://linkingphonetics.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/cambridge_p_roach_english_phonetics_and_phonology_nopw.pdf

Underhill, A. (2005) Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://www.phon.ox.ac.uk/jcoleman/PHONOLOGY1.htm

 

 

Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of a learner’s work submitted as a whole and sometimes organised with an index, agreed assignment components and reflection sheets. In ELT, portfolios can contain written work such as essays, emails, reports or video and audio recordings, project work and PowerPoint slides. Portfolios are mainly used for assessment. They are also sometimes used in teacher development. A teacher portfolio might contain a CV, some lesson plans, a statement of beliefs about teaching, an action plan, reflections.

Example

"An advantage of portfolios is that they allow the learner to express themselves more fully and the teacher to get a fuller idea of a learner’s performance than tests can reveal.  A disadvantage is that they can take a long time to mark."

Further reading

European Language Portfolio http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/portfolios-elt

http://www.primarylanguages.org.uk/resources/assessment_and_recording/european_languages_portfolio.aspx

http://www.cup.cam.ac.uk/gb/elt/catalogue/subject/project/custom/item7108816/Kid's-Box-for-Spanish-Speakers-Language-Portfolios/?site_locale=en_GB&currentSubjectID=2562984

 

 

Portfolio assessment

Portfolio assessment involves the assessment of a portfolio of work submitted by a learner. The portfolio may contain compulsory components or be decided on by the learner. The components may include both oral and written work as well as reflections on that work. Assessment criteria are usually used to guide the marking of portfolios so as to stop the marking becoming too subjective.

Example

"For my Spanish course we had to submit a portfolio – I put in it all the reports I’d written as well as corrected versions of them, videos I’d shot as part of my project, and all my project work – questionnaires, tables of findings, photos I’d taken, recordings of interviews. I felt it gave a really rounded view of what my Spanish is like."

Further reading

Hamp-Lyons, L. and Condon, W. (2000). Assessing the Portfolio. New York:  Hampton Press.

Hughes, A. (2003). Testing for Language Teachers, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O’Malley, J. M. and Valdez Pierce, L. (1996). Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical approaches for teachers. Boston, MASS.: Addison-Wesley.

https://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1769/Assessment-PORTFOLIO-ASSESSMENT.html

 

 

Pronoun

A pronoun is a word that is used instead of a noun to represent that noun. In English, pronouns are a word class/ part of speech and there are several kinds: subject (e.g. he, they), object (e.g. him, us), relative (e.g. that, which), reflexive (e.g. ourselves, itself), indefinite (e.g. no one, none), possessive (e.g. our, their), interrogative (e.g. which, what), demonstrative (e.g. this, those), reciprocal (each other, one another), quantifiers (e.g. all, one).

Example

Students often don’t realise how important pronouns are to understanding spoken or written language or to expressing themselves clearly, particularly in writing. Pronouns are really important in establishing the cohesion of a text.

Further reading

Carter, R. and McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parrott, M. (2010). Grammar for English Language Teachers, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (1997).About Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/topic/pronouns

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/pronouns

 

 

Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)

Thinking skills are often divided into higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and lower order thinking skills (LOTS). Higher order thinking skills include analysing, evaluating and creating. HOTS  involve greater manipulation of information than LOTS do. The division of thinking skills into HOTS and LOTS was made initially in the late 1940s by a committee of educators in Boston, Mass. chaired by Benjamin Bloom and colleagues. This taxonomy (known as Bloom’s Taxonomy) has been revised several times.

Example

"Teachers are sometimes criticised for asking too many low level LOTS questions in their classes and not asking enough HOTS questions which really challenge learners to think about the information they are given rather than just absorbing it passively."

Further reading

Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M. C. (2000). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Biggs, J. B. and Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the Quality of Learning: the SOLO taxonomy. New York, Academic Press.

Bloom B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Dale, L. and Tanner, R. (2012). CLIL Activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/sakilandeswari/higher-order-thinking-skills-hots

 

 

Hot/cold correction

Hot correction is when the teacher (or a peer) corrects the learner during an activity. Cold correction is when the teacher presents the learners with their mistakes for correction after an activity has taken place.

Example

We are often told to avoid hot correction as it interrupts learners’ fluency. But I think that a teacher can interrupt subtly by using gestures or facial expressions. Students can often relate to this kind of hot correction better than to the more detached presentation of their errors in cold correction at the end of an activity.

Further reading

Bartram, M. and Walton, R. (1991) Correction. Stamford, CT: Cengage.

Li, S. (2014). Key Concepts in ELT: Oral Corrective Feedback. ELT Journal 68 (2): 196-198

Lightbown and Spada (2006). How languages are learned, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Seidlhofer, B. (2011) Understanding English as a Lingua Franca: A Complete Introduction to the Theoretical Nature and Practical Implications of English used as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/error-correction-1

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/error-correction-2

 

 

Consonant

A consonant is a speech sound made when the air we breathe out is in some way blocked by an articulator (See Articulator). There are 24 consonant sounds in English, produced in eight different places in the mouth, as can be seen on the Phonemic Chart (See Phonemic Chart).

Example

I never think of / ŋ/ as being a consonant. It sounds more like a vowel. But in fact when you say it you can feel your glottis moving in and blocking the outcoming air.

Further reading

Roach, P. (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thornbury, S. (2006). An A-Z of ELT. Oxford: Macmillan.

Underhill, A. (2005). Sound Foundations. Oxford: MacMillan.

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/apps/sounds-right

https://esol.britishcouncil.org/content/learners/skills/pronunciation

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/pron/

 

 

Corpus/corpora

Corpora are collections of spoken and/ or written language that are stored and processed electronically. Corpora are used in corpus linguistics to find patterns in language use e.g. the collocations of words, grammatical structures in spoken language, word frequencies, types of error. Corpora in ELT can contain a range of different types of texts or be based on particular genres e.g. ESP texts, or on proficient speaker or learner English.  Examples of English language corpora are the British National Corpus (BNA), Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), Cambridge English Corpus (CEC), the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays (Locness).

Example

"The corpus shows this word collocates more frequently with slightly than with a little."

Further reading

International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, John Benjamin Publishing.

Carter, Ronald & McCarthy, Michael (1995): Grammar and the spoken language. Applied Linguistics 16:2, 141-158.

Cheng, W., Warren, M. & Xu X.F. (2003). The language learner as language researcher: putting corpus linguistics on the timetable. System 31:2, 173-186.

Granger, S.; Hung, J. & Petch-Tyson, S. (eds) (2002). Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

O’Keefe, A.,  McCarthy, M., Carter, R.  (2007.) From Corpus to classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, J. ed. (2004) How to Use Corpora in Language Teaching, John Benjamins Publishing.

 

 

Curriculum

This term is used to refer to syllabus (See syllabus), learning objectives, methods of assessment, teaching methods and materials.

The term is also sometimes used synonymously with syllabus.

Example

Writing a curriculum for a particular learning situation involves understanding a lot about the context in which the teaching and learning will take place.

Further reading

Christison, M and Murray, D. (2014). What English Language Teachers Need to Know,

Volume 3.  New York and London: Routledge.

Graves, K. (1996). Teachers as Course Developers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nation, I.S.P. and  Macalister, J.(2010). Language Curriculum Design. Oxford: Routledge.

Nunan D. 1994. The Learner-Centered Curriculum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan D. 1996. Syllabus Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Richards, J. (2013). Curriculum Approaches in Language Teaching: Forward, Central, and

Backward Design. RELC Journal 44/1

Richards, J. (2001).  Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

http://www.professorjackrichards.com/wp-content/uploads/Curriculum-Approaches-in Language-Teaching.pdf.

Tomlinson B. (2012). Language Curriculum Design. ELT Journal 66/2.

White, R. (1998). The ELT Curriculum: Design, Innovation and Management. Hoboken, NJ.:Wiley.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/admin/english-language-teaching-curriculum-evaluation-shafaghi-aliaki-hosseini-aghaei

 

Differentiation

When teachers recognise the different needs of their learners and try to meet them by catering for different abilities, interests or learning styles. This is done through use of a range of different tasks, inputs and outputs. Differentiation has a big influence on lesson planning and the choice of materials and tasks.

Example

"It has become more important for teachers to bring differentiation into their classrooms as they have increasingly acknowledged the range of abilities, interests and backgrounds of learners."

Further reading

Bentley, K. (2010). The TKT Course CLIL Module. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Prodromou, L. (1992) Mixed Ability Classes. Oxford: Macmillan

Scrivener, J. (2012). Classroom Management Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tice, J. (1997) The Mixed Ability Class. London:Richmond Publishing.

https://elt-resourceful.com/2012/02/17/ideas-for-providing-differentiation-that-dont-involve-writing-different-materials-and-a-different-plan-for-each-student-in-the-class-2/

 

Eclecticism

An approach to teaching and learning which does not adhere to any one recognised approach but selects from different approaches and methods according to teacher preference and also to the belief that different learners learn in different ways and different contexts, and that therefore no one approach or method is sufficient to cater for a range of learners. Eclecticism is sometimes criticised as being too random and having no guiding principles. This criticism has given rise to Principled eclecticism which attempts to keep the flexibility of eclecticism while including in it principles of teaching and learning.

Example

"Some teachers appreciate the freedom and flexibility that eclecticism allows them in their teaching, while others prefer the clear teaching guidelines that using one particular approach or method can provide."

Further reading

Kumaravadivelu, (2012). Towards a post-method pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly Volume 35, Issue 4, pages 537–560.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and principles in language teaching, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

http://tesl-ej.org/ej20/a1.html

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/knowledge-database/eclectic-approach

https://blog.tjtaylor.net/method-principled-eclecticism/

 

 


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