Resources‎ > ‎Dictionary‎ > ‎A to M‎ > ‎


Descriptors:  Broad categories of discrete, representative behaviors that students exhibit when they demonstrate a competence or meet an assessment standard.


Development:  See Teacher development.


Dialect:  The regional variety of a language, differing from the standard language in at least one of several ways: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or idiomatic usage.


Direct Method:  The most common approach in TEFL, where language is taught through listening and speaking.  There may be little or no explicit explanation of grammatical rules; only the target language is used in class, and there is no translation into students’ mother tongue; meanings are communicated through associating speech forms with actions, mime, objects, situations, or gestures; and reading and writing are taught only after speaking and listening.


Discourse:  In linguistics, discourse means a unit of connected speech or writing which is longer than a sentence.


Discourse competence:  In speaking, discourse competence involves being able to put together spoken phrases and sentences so that the speaker communicates his/her meaning clearly to the listener(s).  In writing, discourse competence involves being able to put together written phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. to communicate the writer’s meaning clearly to a particular audience. 


Discovery activity:  A discovery activity involves learners using their energy and attention to work out, or discover, something about the language for themselves.  Getting learners to work out the rules of direct speech from examples, asking learners to investigate when and why a character uses the modal 'must' in a story, or  getting learners to notice and explain the use of ellipsis in a recorded conversation are all examples of discovery activities.


Drilling:  Drilling involves the intensive and repetitive practice of target language.  It may be done chorally (the whole group repeating together at the same time)l or individually.  There are a variety of types of drills.