Number one for English language teachers

Editorial: A focus on vocabulary

In this month's editorial Keith Kelly takes you through the range of resources on onestopclil that help you support your student's subject-specific language development. He also reviews the new resources available this month.

Introduction

In her study of vocabulary knowledge among EAL learners in the UK, Lynne Cameron (2002) finds that the receptive vocabulary of EAL students who have been educated through English for 10 years has gaps in the most frequent words and serious problems at the 5000 word level. Cameron goes on to suggest that:

Explanations for these gaps may lie in the nature of the learning environment for EAL and the possible lack of focused support it provides for vocabulary development.

On onestopclil we offer a subject-specific focus on vocabulary which is based on tried and tested methods for language development. On onestopclil we aim to help teachers with resources and ideas for providing this 'focused support' in the classroom.

The site offers a dual focus on this as well as many other areas of subject-specific language development. You can find methodological articles on CLIL as well as resources based on principles highlighted in the articles. On onestopclil we put our money where our pedagogical mouth is. In doing so we hope to provide teachers with the ideas and resources they need to meet the needs of their students learning their curriculum through the medium of a foreign language.

We do this in a number of ways:

- Macmillan's online schools dictionary offers a rich resource for curriculum specific vocabulary including subject specific groupings of key terms and the transcription for all items. Students can also access illustrations both labelled and blank from within the dictionary.

- There are a continuously growing number of editable subject wordlists on onestopclil, for example, 'Living Organisms'. These materials can be used to support self study with a useful space for translation should students feel they need it. The fact that they are editable means that teachers can annotate or change the lists to suit their own teaching and learning needs. This month you will find the new Economics Wordlist. The lists can also be used by teachers to create their own materials such as speaking activities like Question Loops. There are two other new question loops this month for download on the Cold War and Tourism.

- The vocabulary worksheets such as 'Geography vocabulary' are ready-to-use materials with teachers' notes full of ideas for activities based on core subject-specific vocabulary. These are resources colleagues can otherwise spend a lot of their own precious time preparing themselves for class.

- The image library also offers support for vocabulary learning with detailed illustrations based on curriculum content which are available both labelled and blank. These can be used as they are for introducing new vocabulary or revision, or they can be flexibly adapted to use in other reading or listening tasks. Other ideas can be found in the Teaching tips Tips for using images in CLIL lessons.

- The methodology section has a number of pieces related to vocabulary. There is the article Working with words in the methodology section of the site as well as a Teaching tips resource dedicated to teaching new words. The article and the tips are a nice combination of theoretical ideas on teaching and learning vocabulary and techniques for dealing with it in the classroom and for self study. Find out how to get your students to use their old shoe boxes to help them learn new words!

What's new?

Articles

John Clegg's leader article in our CLIL Teacher magazine this month looks at the whole area  of 'Skills For CLIL'  and in the methodology section you can follow the second in the series of articles from Jean Brewster on subject-specific skills this month focusing on Process Skills and Glyphs. Also in the methodology section there is another piece from me which argues the case for the language dimension in CLIL. This is partly in response to Adrian Tennant's article last month on the need for a more inductive approach in CLIL. If you have an opinion on this issue you can engage with the two of us in the discussion forum on onestopclil where we've already started debating!

Teacher resources

Keep an eye out also for a new series of Language for CLIL which is linked to the TKT: CLIL (The Teacher Knowlege Test) and produced in collaboration with Cambridge ESOL. This month we have a clear, straightforward piece which explains 'content-obligatory language' . Now perhaps we can all speak the same language when discussing CLIL!

Teaching resources

In the Science section we have a new experiment uploaded entitled Magnetic Pennies and in the Cross-curricular section there are two new resources: Whether the Weather and World Trivia Quiz.

One of the most exciting aspects of onestopclil is that it's always growing. There will be more glossaries, more worksheets, more images and more articles on subject-specific vocabulary, and other areas, as the months go by. Contact us to let us know what other vocabulary resources you need and we'll try to provide it and engage with us in discussion forum so that we can feed your comments and ideas back into the materials we produce. You can also see what other users think about onestopclil and we'll be publishing the winner of the our competition for the best opinions sent in about the onestopclil site.

Best wishes

Keith

October 2009


References:

Cameron L (2002) Language Teaching Research 6,2 pp. 145-173, Measuring vocabulary size in English as an additional language

(http://ltr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/6/2/145 - accessed on 01.10.09)

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