The TEFL Centre Malaga 120 hour teacher training course content 3: TEFL jargon

The TEFL Centre Malaga 120 hour teacher training course content 3: TEFL jargon

As with any profession, TEFL has developed its own set of specific vocabulary, expressions and acronyms. These will be constantly referred to during the TEFL in Malaga course and throughout any TEFL teaching career. Some of the terms are generalised across the TEFL world whereas some may be less extensively used. What follows are some commonly used acronyms and terms.
ESL/EFL: This stands for ‘English as a Second Language’/‘English as a Foreign Language’. We talk of ESL and EFL students and teachers. Used pretty much interchangeably, but arguably there is a difference since some countries e.g. India, have English as a second official language and it isn’t considered a ‘foreign’ language. French would be considered a foreign language in India.
TEFL: This stands for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’. It’s a course aimed at training teachers to teach English in a country where English is not the primary language.
TESL: This stands for ‘Teaching English as a Second Language’ and is a course that trains a teacher for teaching students whose first language is not English in an English speaking country e.g. an English person living in his home town in the UK teaching a Syrian refugee.
TESOL: This stands for ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’. It is the same as ‘TEFL’ above, but seems to be a more common term for Americans, whereas Europeans tend to use ‘TEFL’.
ELT/CLT: English Language Teaching / Communicative Language Teaching
L1/L2: This refers to a speaker’s first language, L1, or a speaker’s second language, L2
L1 interference: This refers to errors made in using the target language (L2) whose origins come from the mother tongue (L1)
STT/TTT: Acronyms referring to ‘student talking time’ and ‘teacher talking time’ respectively. TTT is a main focus point for teacher trainers since TEFL teachers new to the classroom often talk too much to the detriment of the students who get less time to practise. The reason is over complex explanations, being unaccustomed to being succinct in expression, or simply have the bad habit of nattering on! Basically, TTT needs reducing to a minimum.
Warmer: This refers to the first short (say 5 minute) activity of a class designed to engage the students and ‘get them into the zone’. Warmers can also be used mid-class to break monotony and add variety to the lesson. (
TPR: This stands for Total Physical Response, meaning an instruction is reacted to by movement of some kind. The popular activity of ‘Simon Says’ is a TPR activity.
RASCL: This is an original Malaga TEFL centre acronym and refers to the 5 characteristics elements of a warmer: Recycle, Active, Start simple, Contact and Link in (
Language breakdown: This refers to a speaker being unable to communicate due to a lack of linguistic resources. (
Presentation: This is the stage in a lesson where new language is introduced. (
Close control: This is an activity where the student has little opportunity to diverge from the content being used. It serves to practise new language items intensively.
Free stage: This refers to an activity where students attempt to satisfy a task by any communicative means possible. It serves to consolidate language learnt and enhance fluency.
Function / Structure: Language is usually considered to be a function or a structure. The function has a specific purpose (e.g. ‘How about going to the cinema?’ where the function ‘how about’ is to make a suggestion) whereas a structure has much broader application and complexity (e.g. ‘I am going to have lunch.’ where ‘going to ‘donates a future plan or intention).
PPP: This is an acronym which stands for Presentation, Practice, Production and is commonly used as an approach to lesson planning.
SLA: This stands for Second Language Acquisition and is used when talking about the theories to describe the processes governing how languages are learnt.
CEF or CEFR: This stands for the Common European Framework for Languages. First published in 2003, it attempts to describe what a speaker can do at 6 different levels of proficiency: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. It has become the main way of referring to a students English language abilities. It is now common to fine-tune by adding ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs to indicate higher and lower levels in reference to the basic level e.g. B1+.


Posted on November 14th, 2017


Welcome to The TEFL Centre in Málaga!

     We offer:

  • 4 week intensive accredited TEFL courses in Málaga.
  • Savings to be made of approximately 500€ on competitors' course prices.
  • Recognised UK-based certification.
  • Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm.
  • Maximum of 10 trainees per course.
  • Highly experienced trainers.
  • Reductions in price for friends enrolling together
  • Training given in a busy language school.
  • Emphasis on practical course content.
  • Life-long professional support for graduates.
  • Direct contact with the accrediting body.
  • Membership of our teacher graduate pool.
  • Accommodation service available.
  • Help in finding placements, writing CVs and interview technique.
  • Social activities programme.
  • Airport transfer service.
  • Discounts on Spanish courses.



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