viernes, 11 de enero de 2013


Today, we have continued learning how to teach and learn vocabulary. But firstly, we have to know what exactly vocabulary is: The lexical items (single- or multi-word items) of the language (aka content words) (nouns, verbs, adjectives & adverbs) vs. the grammatical items (aka function words) (pronouns, determiners, prepositions, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs...). 

For communicative purposes, vocabulary is more important than grammar in the early stages.

Although vocabulary can be learnt incidentally (by listening/reading/interacting…), in the context of formal schooling it has proved inefficient; we need to plan for deliberate vocabulary teaching.

What learners need to learn in order to acquire a word?
  •  Form: pronunciation & spelling
  •  Meaning (but some words may have different meanings)
  •  Collocation (the way words tend to co-occur with other words or expressions – e.g.  Tell the truth, do your homework…)
  •  Grammar (e.g. the past from of irregular verbs)
  •  Connotation (e.g. skinny)
  •  Appropriateness (to the context/situations; e.g. lady (instead of woman)).

What determines the difficulty of a lexical item?
  •  Spelling & Pronunciation (the easier a word it is to say & spell, the more quickly it will be remember)
  •  Similarity to L1
  •  Similarity to English words already known (unfriendly - friendly)
  •  Multi-word items (e.g. sports car, put someone up)
  •  Collocations (e.g. wounded/injured people but damaged things)
  • Appropriate use

Some tips to teach vocabulary efficiently:
  •   Introduce the vocabulary in the context of vocabulary the learners have already met
  •   Don’t teach more than 5-7 items at a time
  •   Teach new items early in the lesson
  •   Recall at the end of the lesson
  •   Learners remember words better if they have some personal significance or emotional connection: giving personal examples, providing experiences with the words or having students create images & relate them to their own lives

There are a lot of techniques to teach new vocabulary as:
  •  Look, say, cover, write, check.
  •  Display the new vocabulary (semi-) permanently
  •  Vocabulary is best learned (& taught) in groups of related words (lexical sets, word families): word maps.
  •  Pay attention to the word shape.
  •  Get students to use vocabulary notebooks/picture dictionaries.
  •  Teach learners to group words into categories (meaningful to them).
  •  Find some who (has got a pet of your choice).
  •  Guess the picture.

Finally, we have to talk about the importance of recycling: Vocabulary needs to be met and recycled at intervals, in varied contexts and activities. Researchers claim that we need at least 6, maybe as many as 16, re-encounters with an item in order for it to be properly learnt.
When reviewing vocabulary, teach (DO NOT test) (give learners opportunities to listen/read the vocabulary again, read their vocabulary notebooks, picture books, work in collaboration…)

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario