Teaching English Vocabulary There are a variety of different
There are a variety of different methods a teacher can use in order to successfully teach English vocabulary. Two of these methods include the teacher supplying the students with the meaning and usage of a variety of different words in the English language and the teacher teaching the students how to find out the meaning and usage of different words on their own (making use of classroom tools such as a dictionary or glossary). Each of the above methods has their own advantages, disadvantages, and situations in which to be used. Variables such as the student's English language level will determine what methodology a teacher preferences. For example, a teacher would teach vocabulary to a beginner student using a much different method than the method that would be used to teach a more advanced student. This brief article will outline the different teaching methods that can be used and should be considered when teaching students English vocabulary.
In order for a student to communicate effectively he or she must have an understanding of a variety of different words in the English language. The number of words that each student must know in order to create simple sentences is far too great for any one teacher to teach. By choosing to teach the students how to look for the meaning and usage of a word by themselves the teacher eliminates having to guess what vocabulary the students will find most useful in their day to day routines. However, it is important to note that this style of teaching will only be effective for students in more advanced language levels. Beginner level students would have a difficult time trying to use the necessary tools to learn vocabulary themselves. For beginner students, it would be most effective if the teacher focused on teaching the students simple vocabulary (such as classroom objects, etc) and then moved on to more complex vocabulary. A teacher may also choose to teach more advanced students selective vocabulary that would help the students understand the work activity that was being assigned. By providing the students with vocabulary that may not be understood (in a reading article, or activity) the teacher will reduce the amount of time that would be needed to complete the assignment.
When teaching vocabulary to students, the teacher should make sure that the students know how to use an English dictionary (or the glossary in the course book). A dictionary is useful when a student is learning how to pronounce a word, is looking for the definition of a word, or is trying to figure out how a word is used. Using the glossary in the back of the textbook can be less time consuming for the students than using a dictionary. However, the glossary only gives the meaning of the word in the context that it was used in and it does not give other information on the word such as how it is pronounced. By teaching the students how to make use of classroom tools such as the dictionary and textbook glossary the teacher is showing the students how to add words to their vocabulary by themselves. Whether a teacher is teaching beginner students or more advanced students the teacher should focus on creating exciting activities that will help get the students interested in vocabulary and motivated to learn. To do this a variety of activities could be used. For example, when teaching beginner students the teacher could make use of a complex picture (containing a variety of objects such as a door, window, desk, chair, etc) where the students would be asked to help label all of the objects in the picture. For more advanced students a game could be played where the students are provided with a usage and meaning of a word and they have to guess which word (on a list of words) matches the usage and meaning. This game could be played in a variety of forms such as trivia or jeopardy.
Teaching vocabulary is one of the most important aspects of teaching English. It is used in every situation and as the building block to many activities (reading, writing, and listening). The methodology that is chosen to teach vocabulary depends on the teacher and the language levels of the students. It is important to keep the students motivated to learn English vocabulary. This can be done through a variety of creative activities (such as games). The teacher should provide the students with the vocabulary that they will need in the classroom (to complete activities) and the students should be encouraged to learn other needed vocabulary on their own. Through a combination of these two methods a student's English vocabulary will be greatly improved.
1 Don Snow, More than a Native Speaker: An Introduction for Volunteers Teaching Abroad. (Bloomington: Paragraph Printing, 1996), 202. 2 Ibid, 203. 3 Ibid, 204. 4 'Teaching New Language ' Vocabulary, Grammar, and Functions' in International TEFL Teacher Training. Unit 13, p. 2. 5 Snow, 205. 6 'Equipment and Teaching Aids' in International TEFL Teacher Training. Unit 17, p. 9. 7 Snow, 209.
'Equipment and Teaching Aids' in International TEFL Teacher Training. Unit 17, p. 1- 11.
Snow, D. More than a Native Speaker: An Introduction for Volunteers Teaching Abroad. Bloomington: Paragraph Printing, 1996.
'Teaching New Language ' Vocabulary, Grammar, and Functions' in International TEFL Teacher Training. Unit 13, p. 1- 23.
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