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Site: Online TEFL Course Login | International TEFL Academy
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Glossary: ITA Online - Glossary


An activity where students are urged to solve some problem using language. This activity is open-ended; there is no set way to accomplish their goal.

Task-Based Learning

Teaching/learning a language by using language to accomplish open-ended tasks. Learners are given an objective to accomplish but are left with some freedom in determining how to complete the objective.

Teacher Observation

Authentic assessment that involves observing the progress (or lack thereof) of language acquisition in the classroom. Notes are commonly taken by the teacher during observations to discuss what was seen and heard during classroom activities. This pertinent data can be presented during student or parent conferences.


Methods, activities, and techniques where the teacher decides what and how something is to be learned.


A specific tactic used to carry out a chosen teaching method.


Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Typically geared toward learning the language for specific purposes such as business and is learned by students living in non-English-speaking countries.


Teaching English as a Second Language. Typically geared toward learning the language for everyday purposes and is learned by students living in English-speaking countries.


Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Refers to the field of professionals who teach English in a country where English is the primary language.


Test of English as a Foreign Language. An English proficiency test for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in U.S. universities.


Language learning that starts with an understanding of language before proceeding to break down complex concepts into the most basic parts of language.


Total Physical Response. A teaching technique whereby a learner responds to language input with body motions: “Stand up,” “Sit down,” “Put the pen on the table.” This technique was devised by James Asher.


Total Physical Response Storytelling. Similar to TPR, TPRS is a technique that gives opportunity for comprehensible input in the classroom by using body motions and gestures. Through storytelling, TPRS provides more context than TPR and also allows for grammar to be taught on a limited scale. 


Teacher Talking Time. The amount of time a teacher spends talking to his or her students. In order for a student to learn better, the teacher should limit how much time they talk in order to allow students to increase their amount of Student Talking Time.