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Key concepts for CELTA

key

In common with most professions, English Language Teaching (aka ELT) has its share of terminology.  It isn't jargon, for the most part, because terms refer to key concepts.

On any CELTA course you are almost certain to come across most of the terms in this guide.  Referring to them now, and taking the little tests will prepare you well to focus on what is being said rather than being distracted by the terms in which it is said.

Many of the terms you will encounter form opposing pairs of ideas and that is how they are presented here.  All the terms in bold are ones you might meet on your course and should understand.
All these terms are the focus of guides on this site in one way or another.


talk

Area 1: language

Language structure vs. Language function
structure

Be careful:
The word 'function' is used in another way in English Language Teaching.
It can also refer to what a phrase is doing in a sentence.  For example, in:
    I want the blue pair

and
    I want it
the words the blue pair and it are performing the same grammatical function (as the object of the verb want).

Language skill vs. Language system
skill

Grammar vs. Structure
chart
These terms are sometimes, rather loosely, used to mean the same thing but there is a difference:

General English (GE) vs. English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
student

Use vs. Usage
use

Cohesion vs. Coherence
link

Formal vs. Informal language
formal
There is a cline here, not an on-off distinction.


teaching

Area 2: Teaching and Learning

Structural language teaching vs. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
teacing

Context vs. Co-text
context

There is a guide to context on this site.

Inductive vs. Deductive Learning
detective

Display question vs. Communicative or Real question
display

Behaviourism vs. Cognitivism
think

Controlled activities vs. Free activities
control
Again, there is a cline from very tightly controlled to completely free activities.

Accuracy vs. Fluency
accuracy

At various points in most lessons the focus will be on one or the other.

Learner led vs. Teacher led
follow

Learning vs. Acquisition
learning
This distinction is usually credited to a theorist called Krashen.

Try a test (or two).