Click on the word or phrase to go to that entry.
- ACQUISITION-LEARNING HYPOTHESIS:
- This theory describes the two ways that language is
internalized: "picked up" or acquired subconsciously like we develop our first
language and "studied" by formally learning the rules in which case language
becomes the object of study. Krashen says "acquisition is where the action
is!" Acquisition-based instruction drives the state-of-the-art curriculum for
second language teaching today.
- ADDITIVE BILINGUALISM:
- This is a process by which students develop both
fluency and proficiency in a second language while continuing to develop
proficiency in their first. The process involves adding a second language, not
replacing the first language with the second language (which is known as
- AFFECTIVE FILTER:
- This is an imaginary screen (filter) that blocks the
input if it is "up" and allows the input to get in if it is "down." The lower
the anxiety level, the lower the filter. Keep the anxiety level low--remember,
comfort is key in second language learning! Lower the filter by lowering the
anxiety, raising the self-esteem, and motivating the student to learn. Too
much anxiety can impede language acquisition. Stephen Krashen says keep it low
by focusing on communication (meaning and content) rather than language form
and grammatical accuracy.
- Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives
- AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD:
- This is a second language teaching methodology that focuses on practicing drills and memorizing dialogues. Often implemented in a language lab, this "drill and kill" method consists of repetition, positive reinforcement for correct repetition, and explicit error correction. It emphasizes practicing language patterns and perfect pronunciation. It is based on B.F. Skinner's behavioral psychology or conditioned response and structural linguistics. This is a discredited approach and stands in direct contrast to communicative language teaching.
- Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills is the kind of language used in face-to-face communication. It is language needed for social interaction. This is sometimes called playground language, everyday language, social language, or surface fluency. It is the language of everyday communicative contexts, e.g., "What did you eat for dinner?" The problem lies in the misconception of good control over the surface features of language being an indication of proficiency in all contexts, including school-based, academic language.
- BILINGUAL EDUCATION:
- This is an instructional approach in which two languages are used as a medium of instruction. English Learners are able to learn intellectually demanding, abstract subject matter in an immediately understandable and accessible manner. Concurrently, they are developing English language skills in an effort to achieve high levels of bilingualism and biliteracy. There are various kinds of transitional bilingual programs such as “quick-exit” and “late-exit” as well as maintenance bilingual programs such as dual or two-way immersion. According to current theory and research, only late-exit and immersion result in the development of high academic achievement for language minority students.
- BICULTURAL AMBIVALENCE:
- This is a construct posited by Jim Cummins which
reflects the intent of the LEP student to reject the culture of the first
language and have a sense of confusion about the second language and culture.
Quality bilingual programs result in positive cultural identity.
- The term Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency or CALP describes the kind of language
needed to learn new information, think in more abstract ways, and carry out
more "cognitively" demanding communicative tasks required by the core
curriculum. Referred to as school language, academic language, or the language
of academic decontextualized situations. This dimension of language is
transferable across languages.
- COMMUNITY LANGUAGE LEARNING APPROACH:
- This adult, second language teaching method is a
communicative approach for language teaching based on group counseling. It
includes a supportive environment in which the teacher acts as a counselor or
facilitator. There are no books, but it is truly student-centered as the
students decide what to talk about and the teacher translates their thoughts
into the target language. It is audio or video-taped so the students can later
analyze the tapes as the basis for literacy and further language development.
- COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT:
- Comprehensible input refers to a range of strategies that speakers and writers can use to assist comprehension by listeners and readers, especially ones who are second language learners. Input is made comprehensible for example by context, pictures, gestures, lexical choice, speech modification, and building on prior knowledge. Several SDAIE (specially designed academic instruction in English) methodologies, such as Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) and Project GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) include inventories of specific strategies that teachers learn to use to make instruction comprehensible to ELLs. Stephen Krashen claims we acquire language best when we understand messages or when the input we get is "comprehensible."
- CONTENT-BASED ELD:
- Instructional materials focused on academic content areas for English language learners.
- CONTEXT-EMBEDDED LANGUAGE:
- Language that is supported by contextual clues in the
environment such as objects, props, manipulatives, pictures, graphs, charts
and so forth help the second language learner make meaning from the spoken or
written world. Context-embedded language is also a result of students
interacting with each other to get interpersonal clues to further construct
meaning. A "here and now" context is a necessary ingredient if the input is
going to be comprehensible.
- CONTEXT-REDUCED LANGUAGE:
- This kind of language is decontextualized. There are few if any clues present to support the spoken or written words to help make the language comprehensible. Context-reduced language is often abstract and the context is usually known only to the author. Examples include many textbooks, academic lectures, and formal tests.
- CONTEXTUAL INTERACTION MODEL (THEORY):
- This is the rationale for schooling language minority
students today. This theoretical framework for bilingual education is an
empirically based model, which guides us in forming a sound instructional
program for language minority students. This model rests on five principles
and describes how community background and student input factors interact with
instructional treatments to contribute to the three desired goals: learn
English, learn, and develop a positive self-image in a multicultural society.
- CUP stands for the Common Underlying Proficiency
model of bilingualism posited by Jim Cummins. It proposes that bilingual individuals, although they have two language codes at their disposal, only have one common set of proficiencies that involve more cognitively demanding tasks (such as literacy, content learning, abstract thinking and problem-solving). Cummins uses the metaphor of a dual iceberg to illustrate the model. The two visible peaks of the dual iceberg represent the bilingual individual’s two languages, whereas the majority of the iceberg under the surface, the CUP, is common to the dual tops. The CUP model is the basis of the hypothesis called the linguistic interdependence hypothesis.
- This term describes the careful guidance by the
teacher to get students to focus on the process of how they accomplished a
learning task. In the "beyond" part of the Into/Through/Beyond lesson,
students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and to analyze their own
metacognitve processes for completing a task. The purpose of debriefing is to
help students develop greater learner autonomy.
- DUAL LANGUAGE:
- Programs that serve both language minority and language majority students concurrently.
- English as a Foreign Language
- This term is rooted in the notion of critical pedagogy. It refers to a re-organization of roles, responsibilities, and power within the classroom in order to encourage increased student participation, self-direction, and feeling of ownership of one’s own learning. Empowerment is exemplified in an attitude such as, "If I try, I can!" Teachers, through their interactions with students, can empower language minority students.
- English for Speakers of Other Languages
- FIRST/SECOND LANGUAGE (Ll - L2):
- The first language (L1) of a child is the mother tongue or the native language. It is the language learned first and usually the home language. The second language, the L2, is the
target language or the language learned after the first language is acquired.
It may eventually become the student's dominant language, especially if it is
the only language he/she is schooled in.
- Fluent English Proficient
- Spoken or written with ease.
- FOCUS ON TASK:
- A critical ingredient for communicative language
learning according to Michael Long is the need for students to focus on an
interesting and meaningful task. Other key elements for task-based instruction
include comprehensible input, context, prior knowledge, and negotiation of
- When an error becomes a habit of speech for an EL and the speaker does not get corrective feedback.
- GRAMMAR-TRANSLATION APPROACH:
- This traditional second/foreign language approach
teaches the second language through the first language. The emphasis is on
learning the language by mastering the grammatical forms of the second
language through vocabulary study, practice exercises, and translation
- This instructional program has its genesis in Canada
with the French immersion programs for "majority language" students. Students
are taught in (through) their second language and acquire a "minority
language" at no expense to their first language. The goal of these programs is
to develop proficient bilingualism. The U.S. replication of this model is
found in "two-way or dual immersion" programs in which half of the class of
English speakers add a minority or second language and the LEP students
continue to develop full primary language proficiency while acquiring English
proficiency as well.
- INTO, THROUGH, BEYOND:
- This lesson plan format is particularly effective for
LEP students because the lessons build on students' prior knowledge, cultural
backgrounds, experiences, insights, and perceptions. It also enables students
to apply the new knowledge to their own lives and to think in divergent ways
about their new learnings.
- INPUT HYPOTHESIS:
- This hypothesis claims we acquire language when we understand it. Stephen Krashen states we acquire language when we understand what is said or read, not how it is said or read. Therefore, speech is seen as a result of language acquisition, not its cause. Thus, when students talk, it is testimony to language acquisition having already occurred. Methods such as Total Physical Response and the Natural Approach, which do not force production and emphasize comprehension over speech production, are rooted in this hypothesis.
- LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY TESTS:
- A language proficiency test measures student ability in a language that they are learning relation to an established measurement scale. The term is usually used in contrast to achievement tests. Achievement tests measure student achievement in relation to a specific learning program. Language proficiency tests, in contrast, measure student ability in relation to a definition of proficiency independently of how the student has learned or acquired the language. Theorists and practitioners differ in terms of how language proficiency is defined, and as a result, different organizations and different tests classify and report proficiency differently. Some tests report proficiency in three categories, others may define four, five, six, or more levels. A comprehensive language proficiency test should include evaluation of both oral and written skills, and both comprehension and production skills.
The IPT family of tests includes oral language proficiency instruments in English and Spanish, for students in Pre-K through grade 12. It also includes reading and writing proficiency instruments in English and Spanish for students in grades 2-12. The results from the IPT family of tests are reported as one of three designation categories (Non-, Limited, and Fluent/Competent) and as one of five proficiency levels (Beginner, Early Intermediate, Intermediate, Early Advanced, Advanced).
- Level I
- STAGE 1/Pre-Production:
This stage of language acquisition is also called the
silent period. The student is a listener and responses are non-verbal such as
performing actions, gesturing, nodding, shaking head, touching, pointing, and
drawing. Students are not expected to talk at this stage. TPR is effective as
a teaching strategy for this stage.
- STAGE 2/Early Production:
This stage of language acquisition resembles
"telegraphese" because the student will respond with key words only. Even
though the student exhibits disconnected speech, it is valuable to expand on
those utterances and model language naturally. Teaching strategies consist of
extending listening skills and asking questions that will elicit yes/no,
choice, one or two-word responses, or even sentence completion.
- Level II
- STAGE 3/Speech Emergence:
At this stage, the student begins to generate
complete sentences. Grammatical errors should be overlooked, but the student
should continue to hear lots of meaningful input in order to develop and
extend vocabulary. Opportunities for students to interact and negotiate for
meaning are critical for language acquisition at this stage.
- Level III
- STAGE 4/Intermediate Fluency:
Although the Natural Approach does not identify this
stage per se, most practitioners view this stage as naturally following stage
III when students begin to produce more complex discourse and think both
critically and creatively in English. Errors will be fewer and instruction in
grammar is now appropriate if done in a meaningful context. This stage bridges
fluency and proficiency.
- LIMITED BILINGUALISM:
- This is a level of bilingualism in which students
acquire basic everyday conversational skills in both languages but do not
attain native-like proficiency in either.
- LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT (LEP):
- This is the label commonly used to describe students
who have a native language other than English and who are in the process of
acquiring English as a second language. More recently the term "English
Learners" has been promoted in California by the State Department's Office of
- LINGUISTIC INTERDEPENDENCE HYPOTHESIS:
- This hypothesis made by Jim Cummins is represented as a "dual-iceberg" and posits that every language contains surface features; however, underlying those surface manifestations of language are proficiencies that are common across languages. The dimension of language used in more cognitively demanding tasks that involve more complex language is CALP, which is transferable across languages.
- MONITOR HYPOTHESIS:
- This hypothesis explains the relationship between
acquisition and learning, claiming that acquisition leads to fluency and
accuracy while learning results in the development of an internal editor or
"monitor" that self-corrects as one uses language. When an individual "learns"
a language, he/she knows the rules, but the monitor impedes the flow of
language because the speaker is too busy thinking of how to say what they want
to say--the result is silence!
- NATURAL APPROACH:
- This second language "acquisition-based" method focuses on authentic communication as its primary goal. It is characterized as a low-anxiety approach because the focus is on meaning rather than form. Speech is not forced with this method, but is allowed to emerge naturally. The natural approach is the application of "Mama's" method to second language teaching. It is guided by the following principles: comprehension precedes production; production emerges in stages; curriculum consists of communicative goals; and activities that are task-based strive to lower student anxiety. The Natural Approach was embraced by ESL/ELD practitioners and curriculum through the 80’s and 90’s until a more balanced approach, combining explicit instruction with meaningful language, emerged at the turn of the millennium to the present.
- NATURAL ORDER HYPOTHESIS:
- This hypothesis claims that second language learners acquire the grammatical features of a second language in a predictable order. However, we cannot teach to that order because our L2 learners will acquire those features when they
are "ready to get them." Embedded in the input, according to Stephen Krashen,
are all of the grammar forms the second language learner needs. Therefore,
theory and research tell us not to bother teaching to the order.
- PARTIAL BILINGUALISM:
- This is a level of bilingualism in which the student
attains social and academic skills in one language, but achieves only fluency
or conversational language skills in the other.
- The art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.
- This technique used in mainstream and bilingual
classrooms previews the lesson for the LEP students to give them advanced
prior knowledge about the forthcoming lesson to be presented to the whole
class. This "preview" will lower the anxiety and give the second language
learner a context for the future lesson.
- PRIOR KNOWLEDGE:
- A significant indicator of academic success for
language minority students is to build on the background experiences they
already have. The ability of a student to make sense out of the input received
in a second language is largely due to the experiences and knowledge they have
acquired through the first language.
- PROFICIENT BILINGUALISM:
- The goal for schooling language minority students is
the development of the full range of proficiency in both languages. Research
confirms that the level of bilingualism in which students attain full
proficiency in both languages is positively correlated with high academic
- Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English is
a programmatic requirement for all LEP students. It is a process or a way of
organizing the learning environment to allow students who are in the process
of developing English proficiency to access grade-level content while
simultaneously developing academic English language skills. It is not an
alternative to primary language instruction, but a complement to it. The
caveat in this approach is that a student gets out of it what he/she brings to
the lesson in terms of prior knowledge about the grade level topics.
- Structured English Immersion
- SHELTERED INSTRUCTION:
- Sheltered instruction is a term that describes an approach to teaching mainstream content to second language learners who are at Stage III or IV of language acquisition or have intermediate levels of proficiency in English, and have some literacy skills in either English or their primary language. Sheltered instruction focuses on grade-level curricula, uses English as the medium of instruction, and employs many techniques (e.g., contextual clues, scaffolding, cooperative learning, advance organizers) to help second language students access the core curriculum. Some educators became concerned that what was being called sheltered instruction was more like content-based ESL, where the focus is more on language than content. In response to this concern, they introduced a new term, SDAIE, which stands for Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English, to reinforce and reassert the emphasis on grade-level instruction for second language students. In both SDAIE and sheltered instruction, the content is not watered down, and students access demanding academic concepts through contextual clues and multisensory techniques. Until there is a general consensus on the most acceptable term to describe the core principles of SDAIE and sheltered instruction, it may make sense for educators to focus on the quality of the materials that claim either label.
There are six key questions to consider in evaluating whether sheltered or SDAIE materials are appropriate for your second language students:
If the answers to all these questions are "yes," chances are that the educational materials, regardless of the label, are suitable for LEP students learning grade-level curriculum.
- Is the content rigorous and commensurate with mainstream, grade-level texts?
- Is the language of the text linguistically challenging, using rich and varied vocabulary and syntax?
- Does the instruction employ contextual clues (e.g., visuals, realia) and multisensory techniques (e.g., audio-visual, hands-on materials) to make the content comprehensible?
- Does the content build on students' prior knowledge and experiences and advance their literacy skills?
- Does the content promote higher order cognitive skills (e.g., problem solving, synthesizing, evaluating)?
- Is there a range of ongoing assessment tools and
checks to evaluate student progress?
Ballard & Tighe offers what teachers call the best sheltered/SDAIE social studies programs available: Explore America, Explore the Ancient World, Explore World History, and Explore the United States.
- SILENT WAY:
- This is a second language teaching approach developed
in the mideastern part of the world. This method utilizes colored charts and
Cuisiniere rods to develop language. Although it is student-centered, it is
nevertheless a grammar-oriented method.
- This teaching method was developed in Bulgaria and
uses relaxation techniques such as yoga exercises, classical music, soft
lighting, and dramatization to help promote learning and enhance retention. It
emphasizes the significance of the "affective" in learning.
- The traditional view of the bilingual brain is conceptualized as a Separate Underlying Proficiency or
the "two balloon theory" that argues that languages, L1 and L2, are separate
and independent from one another. This would imply that there is little if any
transfer from one language to another. Hence, investing time in developing
primary language will only retard or delay English acquisition. There is not a
thread of evidence to support this claim.
- TASK-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING (TBLT):
- This is a method developed by Michael Long to promote
student-centered instruction and increase student talk in the ELD classroom.
His notion of "informational equality" (where each student has a critical
piece of the information that must be shared to complete a task) ensures the
positive interdependence and negotiation for meaning that are crucial to
language acquisition. This approach gives new definition to Sheltered
Instruction (SDAIE), which is task-based content teaching.
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or Teachers of English Speakers of Other Languages
- THRESHOLD HYPOTHESIS:
- Recently, this hypothesis proposed by Jim Cummins is
called the additive bilingualism enrichment principle. It explains the
relationship between bilingualism and cognition, supporting the notion that
individuals with high levels of proficiency in both language experience
cognitive advantages in terms of linguistic and cognitive flexibility while
low levels of proficiency in both languages result in cognitive deficits. This
hypothesis further describes the three types of bilinguals (Proficient,
Partial, and Limited) and two distinct processes of bilingualism as additive
bilingualism and subtractive bilingualism.
- TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE:
- Generally labeled TPR, this approach was pioneered by James Asher and involves the skillful
use of the command system of language by the teacher to develop receptive language.
Students respond physically rather than verbally and speech emerges naturally as students
begin to give those commands to other students. This empirically sound method has 30
years of research to support its effectiveness as a low-stress, high retention second
For more information, see "TPR and Education: A Conversation with Dr. James J. Asher" in IDEAS for Excellence: The Online Publication for English Language Educators.