This is a first announcement about the new ELT Wiki - an ELT glossary resource that, with the everyone’s help, will develop into something really useful for teachers, trainers and trainees.
To learn more about it go to
Doing EFL Terminology the Wiki Way or How to Create a Free, Democratic and Useful Resource
Jeremy Harmer, UK
Jeremy Harmer has taught in Mexico and the UK, and is currently a course designer and tutor for the MA TESOL at the New School University, New York. He has trained teachers and offered seminars all over the world. Among the course materials he has devised are Just Right and the Just series, recently published by Marshall Cavendish ELT. He is the author of methodology titles including How to teach Writing (2004), the extensively revised second edition of How to Teach English (2007), and the fourth edition of The Practice of English Language Teaching (2007)– all published by Pearson Education Ltd. He is the General Editor of the Longman methodology list. Jeremy’s website is at www.jeremy-harmer.com E-mail: email@example.com
Recently, when I was updating one of my methodology books, it seemed a good idea to provide a glossary of the terms that were included in the book - so that readers (many of whom were likely to be fairly new to the field of teaching ESOL) could quickly find out what was being described. After all, ESOL is no different from other specialities in the sense that we spend a lot of our time inventing terms to name what we are talking about. Jargon is a shortcut, a convenient way of making sure that everyone knows what we are referring to. And of course, that’s why terminology is so frustrating sometimes. For example, everyone (almost everyone?) reading this short introduction knows what a lexical chunk is, don’t they? But what if they don’t? That’s when frustration happens, and that’s where glossaries come in.
But there’s another problem with terminology, of course, and that is the fact that the same term can mean different things to different people. Arguing about meanings sometimes seems to be the academics’ and the methodologists’ most enticing pastime!
Which is where the idea of a wiki comes in. Wouldn’t it be useful, we thought, if there was a wiki devoted to ELT terminology? That way anyone, teacher, trainer or trainee could have access to a useful glossary – and (and this is the BIG THING about wikis) they could amend or change what they find there if they don’t think the explanation they are presented with is ‘quite right’.
And so, with the help of Pearson Longman we created an ELT wiki. To get it going, we put the basic glossary from my book there. But it is quite a basic glossary and it IS only a starting point. So now......
Well now we want to see if people (that’s you, I guess) are interested in expanding, updating and amending what’s there. Our reasoning is that with a free resource like this we could end up with an incredibly useful, democratic resource which could be really helpful for anyone who has one of those jargon ‘blackouts’ that affect us all from time to time. All they would have to do is go to the wiki and check out how other people (how the profession) had defined the piece of jargon that had confused them.
Wikis, by the way, are easy to navigate. All you need to do is go to any page, any entry, and use the edit button. If you can’t find an entry there, you go to the letter, open up the list of terms for that letter and then edit it in order to add your new term. Or whatever. Like all effective software, wikis get easier the more you use them!
So why not go along to the wiki (follow the link at www.pearsonlongman/methodology) and have a go. This could be your resource, our resource, anybody’s resource. If we want it to be.
Do please tell anyone you can think of about the wiki. It’s very basic at the moment, but it can grow into anything you want it to!
Note. To read an interview with Deborah Cameron, author of Verbal Hygiene and her latest book The Myth of Mars and Venus go to jeremy’s website at
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