Technical Words

Technical words are often found in informational texts, such as fact files and reports. These words have specific meanings for the field they belong to, such as an academic subject area or a profession.

When are technical words used?

Technical words, also known as terminology or jargon, are a vocabulary used to explain concepts unique or specific to one area. Let’s look at technical words for different academic subjects and professions.

  • English – metaphor, simile, and personification.
  • Biology – photosynthesis, gestation, and respiration.
  • Welsh-soft mutation, nasal mutation, and aspirate mutation.
  • Medicine – benign, malignant, and anti-inflammatory.
  • Mechanical engineering – abrasion, acceleration, and torque.
  • Beauty therapy – exfoliating, microdermabrasion, and porosity.

Want to check your pupils’ prior knowledge? Challenge your class to add as many technical words as possible to these lists or develop their own for other areas. You might also like to create your list for teaching. You might also want to consider all the technical words, terms, and acronyms you and your colleagues use at work.

Understanding technical words.

A doctor will be familiar with technical words that belong to the field of medicine, and a nail technician will be friendly with those that belong to beauty therapy. However, technical terms belong to many areas, and nobody will be familiar with them all.

That’s where those handy inference skills come in. Making inferences about the meaning of technical words will help children understand better informational texts, such as school textbooks, book reviews, and case studies.

For example, young learners aren’t expected to be experts in biology. However, we can equip them with the tools to decode scientific and technical words in their textbooks by showing them how to examine unfamiliar words’ broader context.

Sometimes, a text will feature a glossary. Show your pupils how to navigate dictionaries to check the meaning of unfamiliar technical words. Glossaries feature a list of specialized words placed in alphabetical order. Each word will have a straightforward definition.

Including technical words

Once children are confident at identifying technical words and inferring their meaning, you can encourage them to use them in their writing. Technical terms are an essential part of nonfiction writing. Throughout their learning journey, children will be taught how to write a variety of nonfiction texts, such as:

  • informational leaflets
  • informational posters
  • fact files
  • news articles
  • reports
  • explanation texts

Teaching technical words

Explanation texts describe how or why something happens. As explanation texts are usually focused on a process, they often include specific technical words.

  • How a caterpillar turns into a butterfly – technical words from biology are needed here, such as metamorphosis.
  • How a train’s engine works – children can use technical words from mechanical engineerings, such as electric traction.
  • Why the polar ice caps are melting – mathematical and scientific-technical words can be used to explain texts on this topic, such as exponential and anthropogenic.
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