I came across this funny list of EFL terminology and definitions via a link on TEFLtastic. I thought it is well worth putting up here (in the hopes of making sure it stays alive).
Simon Barne, DOS, Indonesia
Teflese is the jargon spoken by all DOSes, DELTA-holders, TEFL trainers and even ordinary teachers.
This is a simple glossary. I have not included terms like inductive learning or procedural syllabus, as it would be far too boring and also I have no idea what they mean.
Terribly old-fashioned concept, in which students worry their pretty little heads about boring grammar, etc. Not nearly as important as fluency.
An article or poem that the teacher raves on about and the students can’t understand.
Basic four-week TEFL qualification. Impossible to fail unless you’re really thick.
Prevalent EFL orthodoxy, in which students chat, play games, have fun and produce lamentable English.
Satirical composition that the school owner rewrites whenever the fancy takes him.
Little ludicrous bits of wood which your more demented colleagues may use for a range of pointless demonstrations in class. Worth borrowing if your lesson is being observed.
Advanced qualification for misguided sad gits who want to make a “career” out of teaching English.
Director Of Studies. Pronounced “doss”, an informal British word that means: “an easy task giving the opportunity for idling”.
Useful tool for humiliating uppity students.
This is the difficult art of using suitable cues, pictures and increasingly desperate gestures in order to allow students to contribute language they don’t actually know and thus feel included and motivated. This indispensable teaching technique is particularly effective with beginners. See also explaining.
As anyone with a DELTA can tell you, not the same as mistakes (which see).
This is not a TEFL term and its use will, quite rightly, get you thrown off Diploma courses. See also eliciting.
By the teacher: telling the students that their pathetic mangling of the English language was brilliant, excellent, a great improvement, etc., but there are one or two teensy-weensy little areas that might need extra practice.
By students: reporting back from a Find Someone Who with enthralling revelations such as “We found that Ari and Ria have never been water skiing; Wawan, Dani and Sri think Titanic is a good film; and all the class want to go home.”
Something meant to fill an unavoidable gap in the planned part of the lesson. Typically a filler lasts 90 minutes.
The ability to produce gibberish at speed. Far more important than accuracy.
Things like agreeing, suggesting, offering and insulting. DOSes like them and they’re a lot easier to teach than grammar. For example,”Do you like hospital food?” is the second person interrogative form of the present simple of the transitive verb “like” with the uncountable noun “food” as an object. In functional terms, it is either asking someone their opinion or warning them to shut their gob.
The G word. Once taught only by unimaginative fascists, but now possibly coming back into vogue.
Pointing out a mistake immediately, instead of meaning to do so later and forgetting all about it.
Singing like an idiot and encouraging students to do the same. This is known to work especially well with Japanese and Taiwanese students.
Activities where students have differing and incomplete information, which they need to pool. For example, one has a map that shows only a garage, a hospital and a post office, while the other has a map that shows only a library, a school and a restaurant. This information gap is meant to reflect a real-life reason for communication. As in real life, students efficiently bridge the gap by showing each other their maps.
First language interference. The reason you give for your students speaking such dreadful English.
Something you need to write out at length on a lesson plan.
An over-ambitious document that you give your DOS before an observed lesson.
Pointless activity that uses up loads of time and keeps DOSes happy.
In linguistics, quite distinct from errors (q.v.).
Pointless ritual you are meant to do when starting a new class, especially a company class. The students haven’t a clue what they need – and will usually answer, “Grammar. And speaking. Oh, and writing.” But it looks good and keeps your DOShappy.
Vogue word in EFL theory. In EFL practice, what teachers can’t help doing when (say) Irma comes into class wearing an extremely tight school uniform.
Very dangerous thing to do. Point this out to your DOS when he asks why you did not cover some crucial point in an observed lesson.
Activities where students gossip animatedly in their native language and the teacher can’t work out what anyone is saying.
Getting mouthy South American students with abysmal pronunciation to “correct” the errors of their grammatically perfect Japanese partners, giving you the welcome opportunity of putting your feet up for a few minutes. An invaluable tool.
Those squiggles on the wall chart that neither students nor teachers understand.
Presentation, Practice, Production. Old-fashioned methodology, where you teach the students something like “be going to” for future plans, then they practise simple sentences (controlled practice), then they start using it all the time (free practice). The only problem with PPP is that it doesn’t work.
Lesson preparation. Fresh off the CELTA this takes about 2 hours; after six months of teaching, 10 minutes; after 2 years of teaching, 0 minutes.
Pronunciation, a seemingly inherited ability unaffected by years of English lessons and/or residence in an English-speaking country.
Things you can lug into the classroom to impress your DOS. For instance, if you are teaching the names of parts of a bicycle, you wheel in your old bike. Only done by teachers fresh off the CELTA.
recent research suggests
Key phrase used in English teaching journals to justify the writer’s latest barmy idea. (The research is never cited.)
Good time-consuming skive.
The lance-corporal of the TEFL platoon. Earns fractionally more money in return for numerous thankless tasks like doing placement interviews, relabelling cassettes, laminating games, attending extra meetings and nodding sympathetically while teachers whine about the timetable.
Barmy methodology, where the teacher rarely opens his mouth. Potentially useful ploy if you haven’t a clue what to say.
Student Talking Time. Allowing your students to rabbit on interminably in excruciating pidgin English is a very good thing and should be encouraged.
Good phrase to use when you’re trying to explain why you were out of your classroom having a fag, chatting up the front desk staff, etc.
Ill-lit cupboard with a few ancient books that nobody borrows, some dog-eared magazines with the pictures missing, and possibly a computer used by the school caretakers to look at pornography.
Barmy methodology, where students lounge about listening to baroque music. Possibly worth trying, if you happen to like baroque music.
Brilliant skive. You and the students just piss about, writing a brochure or drawing pictures or building a website, and you never have to teach them grammar or anything. They just magically absorb English. Highly recommended, if you can get away with it.
This is when, in ignorance or drunkenness, you tell the class something like, “Use will for plans and be going to for spontaneous decisions.” It instantly becomes the one grammatical commandment they will never ever forget.
Bizarre American exam, in which candidates listen to robots intoning things such as, “Wow, I sure hope my meticulously assembled entomology collection has not gotten misplaced by the faculty janitors.” A deep-voiced robot then asks, “What does the woman mean?”
Total Physical Response
Barmy methodology, where the students act out instructions from the teacher. Still in vogue, so worth droning on about if you want to look keen.
Despicable practice abhorred by keen teachers and craved by all students.
Teacher Talking Time. What the students think they’ve paid for, but DOSes don’t like. This is very naughty and is to be avoided at all costs, except, of course, when giving instructions in a very slow, patronizing way with unnatural rising intonation and vigorous hand movements.
Vulcan mind meld
As practised by Mr Spock on Star Trek. Not actually part of current EFL methodology, but probably the only way you’ll ever get your students to learn English.
Ordeals arranged by sadistic DOSes to sabotage the teachers’ mornings off.
A structure taught for no very good reason at a low level. Useful if you want to say conversation-stopping things like, “If you heat water to 100°, it boils.”