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English Language Teaching Global Blog


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Our Secret Code – PLNs are a major EdTech issue

Confused man looking at codeKieran McGovern decodes the confusing terms of the online world of English Language Teaching.

Every profession has a ‘secret’ code, consisting of vocabulary known only to its practitioners. Who outside the world of education technology (EdTech) would guess that a PLN was a Personal Learning Network?

These code words and phrases only make sense to others involved in the same field. Outsiders can’t understand what you are talking or writing about. You become part of what the Irish writer George Bernard Shaw called a ‘conspiracy against the public’.

Take the word ELT. Most readers of this blog will know that it stands for English Language Teaching. But for a chef it might mean ‘eating large turkeys’!

Here are ten more confusing short forms and acronyms: IELTS, L1, L2, EdChat, (T)ESOL, TOEFL, EFL, ESL, EAP, FCE… Think you know them all? Check out the Terminology of English Teaching on englishlanguage.org.

Most of these ‘code’ words are practical; essential, even. But are there others you feel serve no useful purpose? Or ones that you don’t really understand? I’d love to hear your suggestions for a ‘jargon bonfire’.

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