TEFL Glossary

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target language (TL)

1.  The actual language you are teaching in a specific lesson (e.g., a particular tense used in a particular way, or a set of vocabulary.)

2. 'Target language' is also used more generally to refer to the foreign or second language students are learning, in our case, English.

Task-Based Language Learning

TBLL, also referred to as Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Task Based Instruction (TBI), is a teaching approach which focuses on the use of authentic language rather than teaching specific language items. Students are asked to do meaningful tasks using the target language, such as conducting an interview, making a phone call or buying tickets.

Task-Based Language Teaching

See  Task-Based Language Learning.


See Task-Based Language Learning.


See Task-Based Language Learning.


A lesson or stage of a lesson where learners' attention is focused on the teacher is teacher-centred. If a lesson is teacher-centred, it means that the teacher is the person who is doing most or all of the speaking. As language is learned most effectively by using it; teachers of foreign languages should try to make their lessons as student-centred as possible. There are, however, some points of lessons where it is appropriate for the focus to be on the teacher, such as giving instructions or presenting new language.

tertiary stress

See main stress.

thematic learning

See Content and Language Integrated Learning


Test of English as a Foreign Language - most widely used in the USA. See IELTS.

The test can be taken in the traditional way (paper based test), or online (internet based test), so you will sometimes see 'TOEFL pbt' and 'TOEFL ibt' to distingusih the way the exam was undertaken.

top-down processing

Top-down processing in reading or listening is using our existing general knowledge to help us make sense of a written text. See also bottom-up.

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