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  • A referring tone is an intonation pattern which shows that the speaker is referring to something everybody already knows. A referring tone falls and rises, or just rises. It can be compared to a proclaiming tone, which shows that the speaker is...
  • Referential questions are questions you ask someone because you don't know the answer. In an ELT classroom, this can mean questions teachers ask learners and learners ask each other. Referential questions can be compared to display questions, for...
  • A rating scale is a scale against which a learner's performance is rated, producing a quantifiable result. The rater is usually trained in applying the scale before they rate real samples of language.ExampleThe IELTS exam is an example of an exam...
  • Quantifiers are words put before nouns to show how many there are.Example‘A few', ‘some', ‘seven' and ‘all' are quantifiers.In the classroomPelmanism games are a good way to practise quantifiers, as is using the realia of the classroom itself, for...
  • Prosodic features are features that appear when we put sounds together in connected speech. It is as important to teach learners prosodic features as successful communication depends as much on intonation, stress and rhythm as on the correct...
  • Project work is work which focuses on completing a task. Project work normally involves a lot of resources - time, people and materials - and learners practise a range of skills and language systems.ExampleA group of teenage learners work on a...
  • A proficiency test measures a learner's level of language. It can be compared with an achievement test, which evaluates a learner's understanding of specific material, a diagnostic test, which identify areas to work on, and a prognostic test, which...
  • A product-oriented syllabus focuses on things learnt at the end of the learning process (outcomes) rather than the process itself. It can be compared with a process-oriented syllabus, which focuses on the processes of learning. Many people have...
  • A proclaiming tone is an intonation pattern that either rises and then falls, or just falls. A proclaiming tone shows that the speaker is giving new information. It can be compared to a referring tone, which shows that the speaker is referring to...
  • A process-oriented syllabus focuses on the skills and processes involved in learning language. It can be compared with a product-oriented syllabus, which focuses on completed acts of communication, the outputs.ExampleA process-writing syllabus would...
  • Prior knowledge is the knowledge the learner already has before they meet new information. A learner's understanding of a text can be improved by activating their prior knowledge before dealing with the text, and developing this habit is good...
  • A portfolio is a collection of work prepared, maintained and developed by a learner. Portfolios can contain information about the learner and about their learning experiences, and examples of their work.ExampleThe Council of Europe uses Language...
  • A preposition is a word that connects a noun, pronoun or noun phrase to other parts of a clause.Example‘I insist on it' and ‘We went from here to there in 10 days'.In the classroomDependent prepositions - prepositions which always go with certain...
  • Phatic communication is verbal or non-verbal communication that has a social function, such as to start a conversation, greet someone, or say goodbye, rather than an informative function. Learners sometimes find it difficult to recognise phatic...
  • In ELT Pelmanism refers to any activity that learners have to complete by memorising objects. Pelmanism can help learners who have a strong visual/spatial intelligence as the activity exploits physical objects.ExampleThe teacher has a collection of...
  • A pedagogic grammar is a description of how to use the grammar of a language to communicate, for people wanting to learn the target language. It can be compared with a reference grammar, which just describes the grammar of the language. Pedagogic...
  • A learner's passive vocabulary is the words that they understand but don't use yet. This can be compared with active vocabulary, which are words that learners understand and use in speaking or writing. The active and passive vocabulary of a learner...
  • Paraphrasing is finding another way to say something when you don't know how to say it. Paraphrasing is not only an essential skill for all speakers but also key to learners developing communicative ability beyond their existing knowledge of...
  • Pair work is learners working together in pairs. One of the main motivations to encourage pair work in the English language classroom is to increase the opportunities for learners to use English in the class.ExampleThe learners are answering...
  • Pace refers to the speed of the class. It is a subjective judgement, connected with how it feels for the learner to go through the sequence of activities in a class.ExampleSome activities inevitably affect the pace of a class, for example, a whole...
  • On-the-spot correction is when a teacher corrects a learner's mistake as soon as they make it.ExampleThe learner is telling the teacher about a hobby and says, ‘I am going every weekend'. The teacher immediately elicits or says ‘I go every weekend'....
  • An observation checklist is a list of things that an observer is going to look at when observing a class. This list may have been prepared by the observer or the teacher or both. Observation checklists not only give an observer a structure and...
  • An objective test is a test that has right or wrong answers and so can be marked objectively. It can be compared with a subjective test, which is evaluated by giving an opinion, usually based on agreed criteria. Objective tests are popular because...
  • An open pair is a pair of learners working together with the rest of the group observing. They can be compared to closed pairs, where all the learners work in pairs that do not monitor each other.ExampleThe learners are working on developing...
  • A noun clause is a clause that is used in the same way as a noun or a pronoun.ExampleI know what he was doing there.In the classroomA way for learners to identify a noun clause is for them to change the noun clause for ‘it', ‘he' or ‘she' and see if...
  • When learners "notice" new language, they pay special attention to its form, use and meaning. Noticing is regarded as an important part of the process of learning new language, especially in acquisition-driven accounts of language learning, when...
  • Non-verbal communication is communication that does not involve a verbal element.ExampleNon-verbal communication includes gestures such as waving or tapping your fingers, eye movements such as winking and rolling, and body movements such as...
  • Non-gradable adjectives are adjectives that cannot be expressed in degrees and so cannot be graded. They can be compared with gradable adjectives, which have different degrees and so can be graded.Example‘Enormous', ‘impossible' and ‘ridiculous' are...
  • Neuro-linguistic Programming is based on a model of communication and psychotherapy. In ELT this model has implications for learning, as it says that we all have different learning and perceptual preferences, and in order to learn well we need to...
  • Negotiation of meaning is a process that speakers go through to reach a clear understanding of each other.ExampleAsking for clarification, rephrasing, and confirming what you think you have understood are all strategies for the negotiation of...

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