Second Language Learning and Language Teaching Website
Vivian Cook 

Key Teaching Techniques

dialogue: usually a short constructed piece of conversation used as a model of language and to introduce new words or structures, sometimes presented from a recording, sometimes in writing

drill (pattern practice): a form of mechanical practice in which words or phrases are substituted within a frame and practiced till they become automatic

exploitation activity: freer activities that follow up the formally structured part of the lesson in the audio-lingual method by allowing the students to use what has been learnt in their own speech

focus on form (FonF): discussion of grammar and vocabulary in TBL arising from meaningful language in the classroom

focus on form (FonS): discussion of grammar in the classroom for its own sake

gap activities: these set up an artificial knowledge gap between the students which they have to solve by communicating with each other

grammar explanation: giving students explicit guidance about grammatical rules or other aspect of language

guided roleplay: students play out a situation in the classroom playing roles usually set by the teacher with information supplied to them        

information gap exercise: an exercise that gives different students different pieces of information which they have to exchange

substitution table: a language teaching technique where students create sentences by choosing words from successive columns of a table

task: ‘A task is an activity which requires learners to use language, with emphasis on meaning, to attain a goal’ (Bygate, Skehan and Swain, 2001)

texts: chunks of language used by teaching, whether authentic (i.e. produced outside the classroom for communicative purposes, ranging from literature to graffiti

translation: a technique that involves the students and teachers translating words, sentences or texts, in order to learn the language, i.e. different from codeswitching or from professional translation.