Olha Madylus looks at strategies for teaching and learning vocabulary.
Four principles for teaching and learning vocabulary
It is vital to ensure that new vocabulary is regularly recycled/revised, because if students do not get the chance to put it into use they will easily begin to forget it.
It is also important to ensure teenagers are paying attention and involved in their lessons and lots of ideas for practising vocabulary are FUN!
An aspect of language that is judged in examinations is the range of vocabulary that students have, so they must be able to use vocabulary they have learnt effectively in exam situations.
In order to communicate clearly and effectively a good range of vocabulary is needed. It enriches both spoken and written language.
More tips on teaching vocabulary
Encourage your students to keep good personal vocabulary records. Just a list of new words that came up in the lesson is not very useful after a couple of days. Students may find it useful to use any of the following:
- Examples e.g. furniture e.g. table, chair, wardrobe
- Definition in English
- Opposites or antonyms
- Word within meaningful example sentence ( ‘I like rollerblading’ does NOT help students remember what rollerblading means, whereas a picture or translation might).
- Collocation e.g. to apply for a job
- Diagram or picture e.g. for parts of the body
Reading extensively doesn’t automatically improve students’ use of vocabulary. To encourage their expansion of vocabulary, get students to collect new words they have learnt and to use them soon in their own writing.
Collect new words learnt in class on large sheets of paper on the classroom walls and refer to them often, encouraging students to use them in spoken and written English.
Students practise new vocabulary by asking each other how much they like these things. There is a lot of repetition, which helps memorisation and the students are asked for their personal opinions, which makes the practice more meaningful.
A fun way to practise vocabulary is with crosswords.
An activity designed to help students recognize language categories.
Try this board game with your students to ensure meaningful practice of previously taught vocabulary.
This activity is designed to encourage students to pull out words they know from the storage area of the brain.
A game to help students practise vocabulary from past lessons.
This is another great activity to help students revise previous material.
This is a good way to take the stress out of story writing and give students ideas about how to use vocabulary effectively.