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  • De-lexicalised verbs are verbs that have little meaning alone but that can be joined together with many other words, so generating a wide variety of new meanings. These have also been called 'empty' verbs.Example'Get' is a common example of this. '...
  • A deductive approach to teaching language starts by giving learners rules, then examples, then practice. It is a teacher-centred approach to presenting new content. This is compared with an inductive approach, which starts with examples and asks...
  • A diagnostic is an activity that a teacher carries out with learners in order to identify problem areas they may have. This data is then used to plan further activities.ExampleBefore teaching phrasal verbs to a class, the teacher asks the learners...
  • Dogme is an approach to teaching that argues that teaching should focus on the learner and not be driven by the resources available, including course books. It is a recent movement in ELT, started by a group of teachers who are against 'resource...
  • De-contextualised language is a term that describes language that is presented as an isolated item rather than with a meaningful and real context. This means that the teacher and learners focus on the target language only, often through an example...
  • Discourse markers are words and phrases used in speaking and writing to 'signpost' discourse. Discourse markers do this by showing turns, joining ideas together, showing attitude, and generally controlling communication. Some people regard discourse...
  • Delayed correction techniques are corrections a teacher uses some time after a learner has made an error. This is usually done to avoid interrupting fluency practice, although there are other reasons also. Delayed correction contrasts with...
  • Discourse is one of the four systems of language, the others being vocabulary, grammar and phonology. Discourse has various definitions but one way of thinking about it is as any piece of extended language, written or spoken, that has unity and...
  • A diphthong is a one-syllable sound that is made up of two vowels. In Received Pronunciation English there are eight diphthong sounds.ExampleThe sound /ei/ in play and made is a diphthong made up of two vowel sounds, /e/ and /i/.In the...
  • A drill is a classroom technique used to practise new language. It involves the teacher modelling a word or a sentence and the learners repeating it. There are different kinds of drilling, such as choral drill, which involves the whole class, and...
  • E-learning is the delivery of a learning programme by electronic means; it includes web-based learning, virtual classrooms, digital collaboration and delivery of content through internet. It can be combined with face-to-face learning with a teacher...
  • There are many kinds of Englishes spoken around the world, both as a first and second language and the term 'Englishes' suggests this. One view holds that these are equally correct and valid. This lessens the importance of a 'standard' English, and...
  • Extrinsic motivation is a motivation to learn caused by external pressures such as work, because a parent has sent a learner to class, or the need to gain a qualification in the language. It contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which is an internal...
  • Embedding refers to the process of inserting one sentence into another sentence. It includes putting questions into affirmative sentences, with a subsequent change in word order (embedded questions).Example'I wonder if you could tell me what time it...
  • Empathy is the ability to imagine another person's thoughts, beliefs and feelings. In an ELT context, it normally refers to the ability to understand how a learner is feeling. It can be compared with sympathy, feeling sorry for how they are feeling....
  • Elision is the omission of sounds, syllables or words in speech. This is done to make the language easier to say, and faster.Example'I don't know' /I duno/ , /kamra/ for camera, and 'fish 'n' chips' are all examples of elision.In the...
  • Emoticons, a form of paralanguage, are symbols made up of characters available on a keyboard. They normally represent emotions, such as happiness or anger. Emoticons are also available on chat sites as small symbols, normally faces.Example: ) is...
  • Exposure refers to the contact that the learner has with the language that they are trying to learn, either generally or with specific language points. Referring to the language in general, it often refers to contact outside the classroom.ExampleA...
  • Empowerment refers to giving learners the power to make their own decisions about learning rather than the teacher having all the control. This opportunity to make decisions is part of what can make a learner more independent, or autonomous.ExampleA...
  • Exploitation is the way a teacher or learner uses resources to meet their learning aims.ExampleA teacher can exploit a native speaker by asking them to come into the class and talk to learners, asking learners to prepare interview questions...
  • Elicitation is a technique by which the teacher gets the learners to give information rather than giving it to them.ExampleA teacher elicits the rules for the structure of the first conditional by asking learners to look at some examples, then...
  • Functions refer to what items of language actually do in a real context, as opposed to what they might mean literally. These include suggesting, criticising, refusing, agreeing and disagreeing, enquiring, talking about the past, and giving advice....
  • Fluency refers to how well a learner communicates meaning rather than how many mistakes they make in grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary. Fluency is often compared with accuracy, which is concerned with the type, amount and seriousness of mistakes...
  • Flashcards are pictures or photographs mounted on small cards. They are used as a visual resource in language teaching.ExampleA teacher can use flashcards showing different faces in a lesson on describing how people look.In the classroomIn the above...
  • False friends are words that look or sound the same as words in the learner's first language but in fact are not so, causing the learner to make a mistake. They can be compared with cognates, which are words that are the same in different languages...
  • Facilitation is a term used to describe a possible role of the teacher. Facilitation is providing the necessary resources, information and support in order for learners to complete a task, rather than teaching.ExampleA teacher facilitates a...
  • Gist is the general meaning or purpose of a text, either written or spoken. Reading a text for gist is known as skimming.ExampleBefore answering detailed comprehension questions on a short story, learners read it quickly for gist, and then match the...
  • Glosses are summaries of the meanings of words, usually found as notes in the margin or between the lines of a text. Glosses can be interpretations, explanations or translations.ExampleLearners work together on a project to provide a gloss for a...
  • A gap-fill is a practice exercise in which learners have to replace words missing from a text. These words are chosen and removed in order to practise a specific language point. Gap-fill exercises contrast with cloze texts, where words are removed...
  • Genre is a term used to classify types of spoken or written discourse. These are normally classified by content, language, purpose and form.ExampleLearners analyse an example of a formal letter of complaint, looking at structure, set phrases,...

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