The Language of TESOL and Bilingual Education

An Expanded Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts


To sustain meaningful conversations about language education with students, colleagues, and other stakeholders within the widely ranging contexts of TESOL and bilingual education, it is important that practitioners and experts are conversant with key terms and concepts. Terminology related to TESOL and bilingual education is dynamic, nuanced, and evolving. This is particularly the case as teaching and research in relation to multilingual learners continue to expand. It is essential for educators of all kinds to be equipped with the necessary terminology and background knowledge.

The Language of TESOL and Bilingual Education: An Expanded Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts provides clear definitions and context for critical terms and concepts related to English language teaching and bilingual education while also highlighting their practical applications and implications for teacher education. These connections facilitate a transition from a mere recognition and use of terminology to a more profound critical reflection on how these terms relate to one’s own beliefs and instructional practices. This volume is the perfect companion for any educator, university student, or scholar wishing to exercise their fine-tuned understanding and expression of multilingual learner education using important terms and considerations for practice.

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Alissa Blair, PhD (2014), University of Wisconsin-Madison, is Assistant Professor of TESOL at University of Arkansas. She is a teacher educator and researcher with scholarly and practitioner publications and teaching experience in K12—university settings in the U.S.A. and Chile.

Anneliese Cannon, PhD (2014), University of Wisconsin-Madison, is currently a secondary teacher. She has more than two decades of experience in K-12 and post-secondary education, teaching in linguistically diverse contexts in the U.S.A., Japan, Mexico, and Germany, and conducting educational research.

Janet Penner-Williams, EdD (1999), University of Houston, is Associate Professor of TESOL at University of Arkansas. Her research focuses on professional development for teachers of English Learners. She serves as principal investigator for two Office of English Language Acquisition, U.S. Department of Education grants.

Roseli M. Matos Franco, PhD (2023), University of Arkansas, taught EFL in Brazil for 10 years and has been teaching ESL to adults in the U.S.A. for more than 20 years. She has also held leadership positions and worked as a teacher trainer.
Socorro G. Herrera

Academic Language
Affective Filter Hypothesis
Assets-Based Pedagogies
Assimilation and Acculturation
Audio-Lingual Method (ALM)
Bilingual Education Act
Bilingualism (models of)
Bilinguals (types of)
Castañeda v. Pickard (1981)
Code Switching
Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Language
Common Underlying Proficiency (CPU)
Communicative Competence
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
Community Language Learning (CLL)
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH)
Critical Perspectives and Pedagogies
English as a Second Language (ESL)
English as Lingua Franca (ELF)
English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
English Language Proficiency (ELP)
English Language Proficiency Standards
English Learner (ELs)
Error Correction
Figurative Language
Grammar Translation Method (GTM)
Heritage Language Learners
Individual Learner Differences
Input Hypothesis
Intensive English Programs (IEPs)
Language Domains
Language Functions
Language Loss
Language Planning
Language Policy
Language Revitalization
Language Transfer
Lau v. Nichols (1974)
Long-Term English Learner (L-TEL)
Metalinguistic Awareness
Migrant Education
Monitor Hypothesis
Native American Languages Act
Native Speaker (NS) and Nonnative Speaker (NNS)
Natural Approach (NA)
Natural Order Hypothesis
Newcomer Program
Noticing Hypothesis
Notional Functional Method
Phonological Awareness and Phonemic Awareness
Plyler v. Doe (1982)
Program Models
Seal of Biliteracy
Second Language Acquisition Hypothesis
Sheltered Instruction
Silent Period
Silent Way
Sociocultural Theory
Stages of Second Language Acquisition
Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE)
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)
Task-Based Language Teaching
Total Physical Response (TPR)
Universal Grammar (UG)
U.S. School Procedures for Identification and Services for English Learners
Vocabulary Teaching and Learning
World Englishes

Appendix A: TESOL and Bilingual Education Organizations
All those involved in English language teaching and research of multilingual children and adults in a variety of TESOL and bilingual education settings.
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