9 Glossary

The following terms appear in this OER text. Note that the number following each term denotes the learning module in which the term was first introduced.

Academic language (M2): Describes language that is specific to schooling, including classroom terminology, subject specific vocabulary, and language used in course materials, texts, assignments, and exams.

Accuracy (M3): Describes the correct use of a language system, with specific attention to grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

Affective Filter Hypothesis (M2): Refers to the effects of anxiety on learning due to increased emotion, which becomes a barrier to learning when students feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or fearful.

Alternative assessment (M7): Approaches to monitoring student learning that consider a learner’s specific circumstances, challenges, or language learning needs, resulting in an expansion of ways to assess student progress.

Approach (M1): A broad term used to describe a set of beliefs or assumptions about the nature of language learning.

Authentic materials (M6): Texts and other resources that target real-world purposes other than language learning, usually created by native speakers for native speakers.

Backward Design (M3): A process that examines the end goals (objectives, outcomes) for a subject or course, and uses these goals as the basis for curriculum design, lesson planning, and assessment.

Before-during-after reading strategies (M6): A series of strategies that support comprehension of reading material by a) eliciting prior knowledge and introducing key vocabulary before a text is read b) supporting vocabulary growth and comprehension during reading, and c) reinforcing vocabulary and learning material from the text after reading.

BICS (M2): An acronym for Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, the term used to describe conversational language, or the language used to carry out everyday tasks and routines.

Bloom’s Taxonomy (M4): A hierarchy created by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 (revised 2001) to present six stages of observable actions that tap higher levels of thinking and increased cognitive activity.

CALP (M2): An acronym for Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency, a term that encompasses academic language, or the language specific to schooling and subject-area learning.

CEFR/CFR (M3): Acronyms for Common (European) Framework of Reference that refer to a valid, reliable reference scale used to describe language abilities in four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

Circumlocution (M5): Talking around a topic using known vocabulary when more specific terms or phrases are unknown or not part of the speaker’s lexicon.

Code switching (M7): A term used to describe the ability to alternate between two or more languages in the context of oral communication.

Cognates: Words that are derived from a common root word and sound similar across two or more languages.

Common underlying proficiency or ‘CUP Theory’ (M2): A theory that illustrates how cognitive and literacy skills established in a first language (or mother tongue) are transferred to a new language or languages. Using the image of an iceberg, the invisible part of the iceberg represents the area of the brain that stores concepts, while the visible peaks represent two or more languages that share the same conceptual base.

Comprehensible input (M1): A strategy for language learning that involves the use of language that is slightly above the level of language that is understood by learners. Krashen described this small margin between the known and the new as i +1.

Content and Language Integrated Learning ‘CLIL’ (M4): A dual-focused approach in which an additional language is used for the learning and teaching of both content and language.

Content-based instruction ‘CBI’ (M4): An approach in which students learn the language in real-world contexts using subject matter that is important or relevant to their needs.

Content objectives (M4): Statements that indicate what a student is expected to know, understand, and be able to do at the end of each grade, unit, or specific course of study.

Conversational language (M2): The kind of informal, everyday language used to accomplish daily tasks and routines, and to chat with family and friends.

Culturally Responsive Teaching (M8): Promotes a proactive approach to honouring cultural diversity by incorporating a student’s background knowledge and prior home/community experiences into the curriculum as part of daily instruction.

Culture (M8): Patterns of behaviour (a way of life) among people who share similar worldviews, beliefs, talents, customs, and values.

Decoding skills (M6): Describes the ability to distinguish between letters, sounds, and letter patterns, enabling students to recognize familiar words and figure out words that are unfamiliar.

Dialogic teaching (M5): An approach to learning that encourages student contributions, promotes classroom talk, and stimulates students’ thinking through a high level of engagement in the learning process.

Differentiation (M7): Adjusting, adapting, or tailoring instruction to meet a learner’s individual needs.

Fluency (M3): Unrestricted, comprehensible flow of language without specific attention to language forms.

Fossilization (M7): A broad term used to describe recurring errors or incorrect patterns of speech, often the result of multiple incorrect repetitions that have become ingrained in the mind.

Gradual release of responsibility (M2): Another term for scaffolding, meaning that support is gradually removed as students demonstrate the skills or knowledge to proceed independently. It is also called the “I do – We do – You do” instructional strategy.

High-utility academic vocabulary (M6): Frequently occurring words used across a wide range of subject area topics for academic learning.

Initial assessment (M4): Involves a series of steps that help to determine a child’s language proficiency in the target language at the beginning of a language program

Inquiry-based learning (M8): A teaching strategy that offers students the opportunity to learn by exploring their own interests, asking questions, researching topics, and nurturing their natural curiosity.

Integrated Language and Content Instruction ‘ILCI’ (M3): Describes the process of learning a language while learning subject area content in the language. Similar terms are Content-based Instruction (CBI) and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL).

Interpretation (M1): Involves oral transfer of information from one language to another, ensuring that the intended meaning is conveyed to the listener.

Language continuum (M3): A cumulative chart that illustrates the developmental stages of language progress observed across languages and cultures.

Language distance (M7): The extent to which two languages are similar or different from each other.

Language objectives (M4): Statements that target the vocabulary required to comprehend subject matter and achieve content objectives.

Language reference scale (M3): An objective chart that describes observable language skills and abilities along a language continuum.

Learner profile or learner portfolio (M7): A collection of important information about the student, as well as samples of student work that illustrate progress with learning.

Message abundancy (M5): A term coined by Pauline Gibbons to describe multiple encounters with vocabulary in order to ensure full comprehension.

Method or methodology (M1): Describes a systematic plan for language teaching that reflects a selected approach.

Monolingual principle (M8): An approach that requires exclusive use of the target language in the classroom to minimize perceived interference from a students’ first language(s).

Output Hypothesis (M2): Based on language intake (as proposed in the Input Hypothesis), students must produce language (output) in order to demonstrate their full range of language abilities.

Personal audit (M8): A written or oral survey, checklist, or interview that allows an individual to explore their own strengths and shortcomings.

Productive language (M1): The language produced (output) through speaking and writing.

Proficiency (M3): Combination of language fluency and accuracy, resulting in the ability to use language competently for various purposes and in different circumstances.

Receptive language (M1): The language received and stored in the brain (input) through listening and reading.

Scaffolding (M1): Process of adding small bits of new information (input) to existing knowledge, guided by an individual who is a ‘More Knowledgeable Other’ (Vygotsky = MKO).

Selective listening (M5): A phrase that describes mental filtering of sounds and messages to focus attention on specific information that is relevant to you.

Silent period (M7): Describes the initial stage of language learning when students prefer to observe and absorb the new language rather than trying to speak.

Speech-language impairment ‘SLI’ (M7): Describes a communication disorder that adversely affects a child’s ability to succeed in school.

Strategies (M1): Actions, tasks, or activities that support language instruction in the classroom as part of a teaching methodology.

Stretched language (M5): A process in which a language learner incorporates new or somewhat familiar words into various situations in order to experiment with language and go beyond the comfort zone to build a broader vocabulary base.

Translanguaging (M7): The use of two or more languages from one’s personal repertoire to support communication, access information or facilitate understanding.

Translation (M1): Involves written transfer of information from one language to another.

Writing genres (M6): Various types of literary writing created within a culture by members of that culture for a social purpose.

Zone of Proximal Development ‘ZPD’ (M2): The space between what a student can do independently and what the student is not yet able to do independently, requiring help from a more knowledgeable other (MKO) to guide learning.