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  Home > TEFL Clinic > Teaching Knowledge > Glossary

Teachers and Learners Language

Teachers’ and learners language in the classroom: You should be familiar with common terms such as ask, tell, reply

Ask for clarification: To ask for an explanation of what a speaker means, e.g. What I mean is…. What do you mean?

Clarify: To make clear what you mean.

Convey meaning: To express or communicate meaning. Teachers focus on conveying meaning when they present new language.

Facial expression: A teacher can show how they feel through their face, e.g. smiling, showing surprise.

Hesitate: To pause before or while doing or saying something. Students often hesitate if they are trying to find the correct words to say, because they are nervous, or need more time to think.

Model noun + verb: A clear example of the target language for students to write down and save as a record. If a teacher is focusing on the target language of a lesson, they usually choose a model sentence, which they write on the board. The teacher often models the language as well, by saying it clearly before drilling the students.

Narrate: To tell a story or talk about something that has happened. Teachers often narrate stories to young learners.

Praise: To tell someone they have done well, e.g. Thats excellent. Well done!

Prompt: To help learners think of ideas or to remember a word or phrase by giving them a part of it or by giving another kind of clue. See word prompt.

Response noun, respond verb: A reply or reaction to communication such as a laugh, a smile, saying something. Teachers and students may respond to each other in writing, speech or in the form of a facial expression.

Word prompt: When a teacher suggests a word that the student hasnt remembered, e.g.

    Student: I want to in an office
    Teacher: Work?
    Student: Yes, I want to work in an office.
    A teacher can also use a word prompt to correct a student, e.g.
    Student: He dont like that.
    Teacher Grammar?
    Student: Sorry – he doesnt like that.

See prompt.

Learners mistakes and correction strategies

Correction code: A series of symbols a teacher may use to mark students writing so that they can correct mistakes by themselves, e.g. P = punctuation mistake, T = tense mistake.

Echo correct: When a student makes a mistake, the teacher repeats the mistake with rising intonation so that students can correct themselves, e.g.

    Student: He dont like it.
    Teacher: Dont?
    Student: He doesnt like it.

Over-application of the rule: When a student uses a grammatical rule too much, making an incorrect word or structure by following a regular pattern, e.g. a student says There were three girls (correct plural form) and two mans. (incorrect plural form)

Over-generalisation: see over-application of the rule.

Reformulation noun, reformulate verb: When a teacher corrects what a student has said by repeating the sentence correctly, but without drawing the students attention to their mistake. This is usually the way parents ‘correct their young childrens language mistakes.

Repetition: To say something again, often for practice. This is often done in drills.

Self-correction: When students are able to correct language mistakes they have made when asked without help from the teacher or other students.

Time line: A diagram that shows learners the relationship between tense and time. It is often used in language teaching to present the use of a new tense or to correct learners when they use tenses wrongly, e.g.

Past --------------Now--------------- Future

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