One of the most useful learning and revising tools I have used.

I have found these dictionaries to be one of the most useful learning and revising tools as they force me to clarify my own definitions of the myriad of terms and definitions we are faced with in both EFL/ESL and linguistics.

Basically you keep your own dictionary under two main headings:

This would include all TEFLese words, especially those given about 150 different definitions by 150 different authors.
Considering we are in the profession of making language clearer to others, it has always amazed me that our profession's terminology should remain so obscure and often disputed.
My tip here is to continue redefining your own understanding of the terminology as you come across it.
Remember we need to use our terminology consistently and by keeping this section continually updated, you will find we do just that.

In almost every pedagogical discussion (not to mention in Diploma or Masters exam questions), we need to tie our theories into our practical experience.
This can be remarkably difficult, and even more so if we are under exam pressure and suffering from nerves.
These dictionaries are a technique which has worked for a lot of candidates.

In this section you simply list all the activities you have done in class under various headings (e.g. video activities, discussion activities, etc).
If you are taking the DELTA, it is useful to start with the titles of the input sessions.

You would be surprised how a quick read through these lists on the morning of the exams can trigger a flood of ideas when you could otherwise be sat frozen.

What Terminology Do You Use?
Critics of terminology generally argue that it is over-complex and simply a way of avoiding 'calling a spade a spade'.
Most fields of human activity from football to astrophysics have their own peculiar jargon, often incomprehensible to outsiders. Even the everyday language of the language school staffroom would seem strange, even impenetrable, to someone unfamiliar with its jargon.
What would the lay person make of these snippets of 'teacherese'?

I think I'll do a jigsaw listening with my elementary class this afternoon.
Juan's still having problems with the 3rd conditional.
Where's that infinitive vs gerund exercise you used yesterday?
Why is it that I can never make a substitution drill work?
My students really seem to enjoy jumbled readings.
Have you got a good exercise for practising tags?

Probably not very much.
Yet how many teachers would regard some of the expressions in the above utterances as examples of terminology?
But where else other than in the context of language teaching could one use the expressions jigsaw listening or substitution drill?
What is noticeable is the frequently encountered reaction by some teachers that terminology is something unnecessary, superfluous to their practical classroom needs. In rejecting terminology, some teachers are implicitly rejecting the claim of linguistic science to form the theoretical basis of language teaching.
But, can we really get by without the basic terminology of linguistic description?

In the broad categories of grammar, phonology, discourse, vocabulary and classroom practice, write down words that you commonly use
(a) with your learners
(b) in the staffroom.

In the classroom
In the staffroom
Classroom Practice    

This page is based on an exercise in Inside Teaching, Bowen & Marks - Heinemann 1997