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Teaching Terminology

Beth Kemp | Sunday July 10, 2011

Categories: Hot Entries, Teaching Ideas & Skills Development

Anyone who’s taught a Language or combined Language and Literature course will be familiar with the catalogue of complaints about terminology, including “How am I supposed to know all this?? and, much more alarmingly, “I don’t really get frameworks, so I just do the other stuff.?

Understanding what terms mean, being able to apply them to texts and being able to use them in sustained analytical writing are interdependent skills which do need careful practice and development – both separately and together. 

There is overlap for this area with conducting linguistic extract analysis and with writing analytically, so some of the ideas here are versions of activities to be found in the collections of suggestions for linguistic extract analysis (helpful in the developing and consolidating stage), on improving analytical writing and on working with model essays (useful for embedding terminology effectively).

Because this is a particular concern in teaching courses with a Language component, the activities here are Language-focused and offer Language-specific examples, often with a bias towards examples of grammatical terminology. 

Some activities are useful to introduce terms at the start of the course or topic, while others are best suited for checking and developing familiarity, for revision and/or to consolidate knowledge.  Revision-type activities can of course also be used early on with terms that should be familiar already from GCSE.

Find the features

Resources required:

  • Glossary or reference material
  • Instructions (optional in written form)
  • List of features to find (optional)

This is an effective way of introducing new terminology and fostering independent research skills at the same time.

  • Students use a glossary together with a text or data set, to find examples of the features listed in the glossary.  Variations include:
    • Students have a partial glossary, focusing on a particular framework or set of concepts.  They...

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