Glossary from Q to Z



Realia: Objects and material from everyday life, esp. when used as teaching aids – which are brought in to carry out a specific communication-based activity. I.e.: a newspaper or objects to illustrate a new lexical field presented in class.
Rubrics or Band Scales: Criteria measuring the expectations and therefore score of a learner in a particular task or exam. These rubrics are based on level, language skill(s), and language system(s). This information is made available to students to gauge their expectations too and set their learning objectives.


Scaffolding: Technique providing prompts or clear stages in the speaking or writing activity.
Scanning or Skimming: Reading through a text, not word by word, but generally looking for specific information or trying to gather the main idea – to answer a question or summarise the entire text.
Self-assessment: Generally carried out through the collection of previous assignments and a discussion between the learner and the teacher, letting the learner express how he or she feels about their progress and their observations. This is often considered essential for academic success.
SpLD: Specific learning disability. This requires certain changes to be made to the classroom environment and the execution of activities (more use of visuals, adaptive technology, buddy system, difficulty level adaptation…). This is considered specialist TEFL.
Stem: (Grammar) The root or main part of a noun, adjective, or other word, to which inflections or formative elements are added.
Syllabus: Organisation of the material based on a feature or language system: generally either grammar or lexis.


Teacher-centred: This can be said of methods, techniques (or strategies), or activities which are guided and decided upon by the teacher.
TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Tense: Present, past, future: simple, perfect, continuous or progressive, perfect continuous or perfect progressive. I.e.: past perfect continuous of “to learn” in the 3rd person singular masculine: He had been learning.
TESOL: Teaching English as a Second or Other Language
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language.
TTT: Teacher Talking Time.


Understanding: Another word used for Comprehension.
Usage: The way in which a word or phrase is normally and correctly used. This is also an explanation for a certain number of grammar rules in English.


Verbal Forms or Verb Forms. There are four:

  • base form,
  • past (simple past),
  • past participle,
  • present participle.

I.e.: show, showed, shown, showing or watch, watched, watched, watching.


Word Class: A category of words of similar form or function; a part of speech. Word classes include:

  • noun,
  • pronoun,
  • adjective,
  • adverb,
  • verb,
  • preposition, and
  • conjunction.

X to Z

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