Basics Of Teaching Vocabulary


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Workshop on teaching vocabulary to students in an EFL context in Colombia. Designed for public school teachers.

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  • Basics Of Teaching Vocabulary

    1. 1. Basics of Teaching Vocabulary Erin Lowry, Senior English Language Fellow, June 2009
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Teaching new vocabulary and grammar in context </li></ul><ul><li>Eliciting techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Creating interaction in the classroom </li></ul>
    3. 3. What is Scaffolding? <ul><li>Giving contextual supports for meaning through the use of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>simplified language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>teacher modeling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>visuals and graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cooperative learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hands-on learning </li></ul></ul>Ovando, Collier, & Combs, 2003, p. 345
    4. 4. Effective Scaffolding for Language Learners <ul><li>Simplifying the language </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By shortening selections, speaking in the present tense, and avoiding the use of idioms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Asking for completion, not production </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students choose answers from a list or complete a partially finished outline or paragraph </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using visuals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Present information and ask for students to respond using graphic organizers, tables, charts, outlines, and graphs </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Teaching Vocabulary
    6. 6. What is vocabulary? <ul><li>Vocabulary refers to words or multiword units (like idioms and phrasal verbs) that have a common meaning. </li></ul>
    7. 7. 5 Types of Vocabulary <ul><li>Single words </li></ul><ul><li>Set phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Variable phrases </li></ul><ul><li>Phrasal verbs </li></ul><ul><li>Idioms </li></ul>
    8. 8. Other Aspects of Vocabulary <ul><li>Polysemy </li></ul><ul><li>Connotation and usage </li></ul><ul><li>Part of speech </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency </li></ul><ul><li>Collocation </li></ul>
    9. 9. Important Goals <ul><li>Focus on the vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple retrievals </li></ul><ul><li>Develop successful vocabulary learning strategies </li></ul>
    10. 10. Principles of Teaching Vocabulary <ul><li>Keep teaching simple and clear. No complicated explanations. </li></ul><ul><li>Relate the present teaching to past knowledge by showing a pattern. </li></ul><ul><li>Use both oral and written presentation - write it on the board and explaining. </li></ul><ul><li>Give most attention to words that are already partly known. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the learners if it is a high frequency word that they should remember. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t bring in other unknown or little-known related words (like synonyms or opposites). </li></ul>
    11. 11. 4 principles for teaching and learning vocabulary <ul><li>Recycling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New vocabulary must be regularly recycled/revised for students to remember it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation & assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In order to communicate clearly and effectively a good range of vocabulary is needed </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Some Techniques for Teaching New Words <ul><li>Say the word clearly and write it on the board </li></ul><ul><li>Get the class to repeat the word in chorus </li></ul><ul><li>Translate the word, or ask students to translate </li></ul><ul><li>Draw a picture to show what the word means </li></ul><ul><li>Give an English example </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions using the new word </li></ul><ul><li>Say an opposite of the word </li></ul><ul><li>Collocation (e.g. to apply for a job) </li></ul><ul><li>Use visual aids   </li></ul>
    13. 13. Showing Meaning Visually watch window elbow How could you most easily show the meanings of these words?
    14. 14. Showing Meaning Visually tree tractor cow How could you most easily show the meanings of these words?
    15. 15. Showing Meaning Visually sneeze dig jump How could you most easily show the meanings of these words?
    16. 16. Using a New Word The teacher has just presented the word market . Now she is asking questions using the new word. What is the purpose of this? Does your mother go to the market? What do they sell there? Do you live near a market? When does she go there? What does she buy?
    17. 17. Meaning-focused Input <ul><li>Learning from listening and reading </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning vocabulary this way isn’t always enough: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The amount of vocabulary learning that occurs during the reading of a text is rather small.  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It depends greatly on the learners' control of the reading skill.  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The type of reading done influences vocabulary learning. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Meaning-focus Output <ul><li>Learning through speaking and writing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learners’ attention is on communicating meaning  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research indicates that by carefully designing and monitoring the use of handouts for spoken tasks, instructors can have a major influence on their students' internalization of vocabulary </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Vocabulary Strategies <ul><li>3 effective ways for students to learn vocabulary: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Guessing unknown words from context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning the meanings of unknown words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studying word parts and mnemonic devices </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Where is it?        Where is the circle? It’s ______ the square.   Where is the  ? It’s ______ the  and the  .
    21. 21. Eliciting
    22. 22. What is eliciting? <ul><li>Getting information from people as opposed to giving it to them </li></ul>
    23. 23. Why elicit? <ul><li>Focuses students’ attention and makes them think </li></ul><ul><li>Can be used to present new language as well as reviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages students to draw on previous knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Gives the teacher the opportunity to see what students know and don’t know </li></ul>
    24. 24. Getting Students to Guess <ul><li>Telling vs. eliciting new vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Important part of language learning is developing the ability to make guesses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Language follows rules, so we’re often able to guess things we’ve never been taught </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Eliciting from Pictures <ul><li>Often best to ask fairly general questions that allow a variety of response </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages more students to respond and say more </li></ul><ul><li>If questions show that no one knows a new word, the teacher will present them </li></ul>
    26. 28. Creating Interaction
    27. 29. Resources <ul><li>Brown, H.D. (2000). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. (2 nd Ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education. </li></ul><ul><li>Folse, K.S. (2008). Six vocabulary activities for the English language classroom. English Teaching Forum , 46(3). 12-20. </li></ul><ul><li>Gower, R., Phillips, D., & Walters, S. (1995). Teaching Practice Handbook . MacMillan Heinemann. </li></ul><ul><li>Grundy, P. (). Beginners . Oxford. </li></ul><ul><li>Harmer, J. (2007). The Practice of English Language Teaching . Pearson Longman. </li></ul><ul><li>Spratt, Pulverness & Williams. (2006). The TKT Course . Cambridge: CUP. </li></ul><ul><li>Thornbury, S. (2002). How to Teach Vocabulary . Edinburgh: Pearson Education. </li></ul>
    28. 30. Resources for Images <ul><li>Time Magazine </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Newsweek </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New York Times </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National Geographic </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>