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Looking for or listening for specific bits of information to answer a query.
Entry link: Scanning


A theory stating that a student brings in his or her own knowledge and experiences when trying to read or listen to a text/selection.

Entry link: Schema


Schwa /ǝ/ is the smallest English vowel sound. It is the most frequent vowel sound in continuous (connected) speech, yet it never carries stress.

Entry link: Schwa

Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

When ESL students are capable of internalizing the new (second) language and communicating effectively. The educator needs to implement modifications in classroom instruction until the second language learner has mastered English. Speaking English for simple communication will happen in the early acquisition stages; however, complete language acquisition takes at least five to seven years. (see “Acquisition”)
Entry link: Second Language Acquisition (SLA)


Individual phonemes (i.e., sounds) of vowels and consonants.

Entry link: Segmentals


Procedures by which learners evaluate their own language skills and/or knowledge, allowing ESL students to assess their own work and observe their progress. For example, a self-assessment form may be used to record students’ thoughts and feelings about the presented work. Students are given the responsibility to assess themselves and actively be a part of their academic success.
Entry link: Self-Assessment


The meaning of language, such as a word’s common synonyms, definition(s), and metaphorical meanings. 

Entry link: Semantics

Silent Way

A designer method whereby the teacher remains mostly silent in order to encourage students to solve their own problems. Originated by Caleb Gattegno in the 1970’s, this method was meant to foster learning through discovery. Students were given Cuisenaire rods and used these colored rods to figure out the patterns of language based on a few examples given by the teacher.

Entry link: Silent Way


A top-down activity where a learner quickly reads some material to find the gist.
Entry link: Skimming


A variety of songs can be implemented in classroom activities to introduce or reinforce content-area material. The rhythms and the repetitive words sung in songs enhance the comprehension of the presented learning concepts for ESL students. ESL students tend to remember information through classroom song activities.
Entry link: Songs

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