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General Glossary



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accuracy: The ability to produce grammatically correct language (contrast with fluency).

activity: A short task which is part of a lesson. Often used interchangeably with task.

approach: Teaching which is based on adherence to a particular theory about language or language

learning.

appropriacy/ appropriateness: The most suitable choice of language for the situation, the relationship between speakers, the topic, etc. authentic materials: Spoken or written texts from real-life sources, originally intended for native speakers.

autonomy: Decision making based on self-government.

body language: Non-verbal communication (also known as paralinguistic); how messages are conveyed with the body (e.g. through eye contact, facial expression, gestures).

brainstorm: A group activity in which learners come up with ideas themselves on a topic without teacher intervention

buzz groups: An activity in which groups of students have a brief discussion to generate ideas, answer specific questions, etc. (similar to brainstorm).

classroom management: The way a teacher organizes her classroom and learners (e.g. physical arrangement of room, when to stop and start activities).

cloze: A technique commonly used in testing whereby every nth (7th or 8th) word is deleted from a text and replaced by gaps. Learners then fill in the gaps.

cognitive: pertaining to knowledge, information and intellectual skills.

concrete operation: A Piagetian stage in which children are able to think about abstract concepts as long as they have concrete objects to manipulate or visualize.

communicative language teaching: A teaching method in which the goal is for learners to be at communicate using L2 both in the classroom and in real life. It generally encourages more learner talk for real communicative purposes and a more facilitative role for the teacher

elicitation: A technique in which the teacher draws information from learners through question answer, (also to elicit), error: Imperfect production caused by genuine lack of knowledge about the language. (Contrast with mistake.)

evaluation: The judgment of something, such as a learner's performance, a class, a task, a book.

extensive reading: Reading a long text, such as a book, or reading a variety of texts, generally for pleasure, for overall understanding and not for detailed understanding.

facilitator: A person (usually the teacher) who helps learners find their own answers rather than providing them with the 'right' answers.

 

feedback: Information that is given to learners by their teacher on their spoken or written performance, or to trainees or teachers about their teaching. It can also refer to learners reporting back to the class on what they have been researching or discussing.

formal operations: The final Piagetian stage, beginning about age 11 and lasting into early childhood. Abstract thinking it’s its hallmark.

flashcards: Small pieces of card with pictures or words on them, used as teaching aids.

fluency: The ability to produce language easily without too many hesitations, with the focus on communication of the message rather than grammatical accuracy (contrast with acc\ form: The actual words (written) or sounds (spoken) used to express something in language, as opposed to meaning or use. Often synonymous with structure.

free practice: The stage of a lesson in which the teacher does not intervene or attempt to control learner production. Practice can vary in the extent to which it is free (contrast with

controlled practice:. Free practice is sometimes called production.

function: The communicative purpose of a structure on a particular occasion - what the speaker is trying to do through language (e.g. inviting, suggesting). genre: The type of text e.g. a magazine, a letter, a note.

gist: The main idea or message of a text, either spoken or written.

global questions: Comprehension questions requiring general understanding of the passage as a whole.

group dynamics: The way a group of people interacts with one another. group work: Independent work carried out simultaneously by groups of three or more learners on a task or tasks.

inference: A guess about something which is not explicitly stated in a text - 'reading between the lines, (also to infer)

information gap: An activity in which a learner knows something that another learner does not know, so has to communicate to 'close the gap'. Information gap activities are common in communicative language teaching.

information transfer activity: An activity where a learner has to move information from one place to another (e.g. complete a table according to information given on a map).

input: Language which learners experience in a lesson from which they can learn. It can also refer to

 

information, or a mini-lecture, given by a trainer to trainees.

integrated skills: All or some of the language skills together (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Integrated skills activities bring together different language skills (e.g. learners discuss a reading passage, thus listening, speaking and reading).

intensive reading: Careful reading to obtain detailed understanding of a text (contrast with extensive reading).

interaction: Patterns of communication (verbal and non-verbal) between people.

intrinsic motivation: An inner drive to take some actions.

jigsaw reading: An activity which involves the splitting of a text into different parts or the use of different texts on the same topic. The parts are given to different learners to read. They must communicate with each other in order to find out the whole message or different views on the topic.

jumbled paragraphs: An activity in which the paragraphs in a text are mixed up and learners must put them in the right order. This can also be done with sentences.

journal: A written diary.

key questions: The questions that the teacher uses to draw attention to them meaning or use of the structure, or the main ideas of a text. LI:The first language; mother tongue. L2: The target language; the foreign language (often but not always the second language) being learned. LI

interference: The effect of the mother tongue on a learner's production of the L2, causing errors.

language acquisition: 'Picking up' a language, not learning it consciously but by being exposed to it in natural situations (e.g. as a child learns its first language). Often contrasted with language

learning which involves a conscious knowledge of the language (e.g. learning grammatical rules).

 

language skills: There are four principal skills - listening, speaking, reading, writing. The skills also involve grammar and vocabulary.

learner-centered teaching: Learning situations where information and ideas are brought to the class by learners and used as learning material, and which are concerned with the interests, needs, learning styles, feelings, lives and/or values of learners.

learning stations = activity centers

learning style: The way a particular learner learns something; their preferred style of working.

lexis: Another term for vocabulary. A lexical item is a piece of vocabulary to be taught - not only the meaning of single words but also phrases, idioms, etc. lexical set: A group of related words, a word family (e.g. all the words for pieces of furniture = lexical set)

lockstep: The traditional system of class management where the teacher is in control of every interaction, where only one interaction takes place at a time and where everyone is kept together at the same pace.

meaning: The conventional or literal meaning of a particular form (e.g. that past tense form means past time). Traditional grammar books explain form and meaning. More contemporary grammar books also explain use of a structure.

meaningful drill: A drill which cannot be performed correctly without an understanding of the meaning of what is said.

mechanical drill: A drill which requires learners to produce correct examples of the language without needing to think about the meaning of the sentences.

metalanguage: Language used for talking about language, e.g. the use of grammatical terms (noun, verb, etc) or linguistic terms (e.g. paralinguistics)

method: A language teaching method is a set of techniques and procedures e.g. The Grammar-Translation method, Total Physical Response.

micro-teaching: A teaching situation which has been reduced in some way (e.g. the teacher's task is simplified, the lesson is very short, the number of learners is small). It is often used on training courses to concentrate on one particular aspect of a trainee's teaching and can involve real students or fellow trainees acting as students.

mind map: A diagram which supposedly represents the brain or the mind: topics or words associated with a topic are spread round the main topic or heading on a page.

mistake: A slip of the tongue which the learner can self-correct when challenged because it is not caused by lack of knowledge. A mistake is sometimes referred to as a performance error.(Contrast with error.)

mixed-ability class: A class in which the learners are of different language proficiency levels.

 

monitoring: What a teacher does while learners are doing an activity - walking round the class, listening to learners, and perhaps making notes on their performance to give feedback on later.

observation: Gathering information by watching a class in order to describe what is happening.

pair-work: Pairs of students working simultaneously on a task or tasks.

plenary: Whole class activity, often at the feedback stage.

personalisation: When learners communicate about themselves or their own lives (also personalized task).

peer teaching: children teach other children.

presentation: A stage in the lesson when a language item is introduced for the first time.

pre-teach: To prepare learners for an activity by introducing new language before starting the topic.

problem-solving activity: An activity where learners have to solve a problem (e.g. choose the best applicant for a job from several descriptions of applicants).

productive skills: Speaking and writing - learners are required to produce the language. (Contrast with receptive skills.)

project: A kind of activity which usually involves an extended amount of independent work either by an individual student or group of students.

receptive skills: Listening and reading - learners are receiving language and processing it, without producing it. (Contrast with productive skills.)

role play: A communicative activity in which learners talk to each other in different character roles.

rote learning: learn by memorization alone with little regard underlying meaning.

scanning: Reading quickly to find specific information from a text.

simulation: A group activity which imitates (simulates) real life situations. Learners play themselves skimming: Reading quickly for the main ideas of a text.

task: Another term for a short classroom activity.

task-based learning: A description of learning which involves the performance of a specified task or tasks.

teaching space: The area that a teacher uses in the classroom while teaching.

transition: The way a teacher makes a link between two separate parts of a lesson.

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