Eight Effective Techniques in Teaching Vocabulary to EFL Students
Nov 15, 2011 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) 4896 Views
Vocabulary is one of the most important aspects in teaching and learning a foreign language. In addition, vocabulary is the key of enriching the knowledge of a foreign/target language. Different perspectives of teaching vocabulary shed light on the complexity of helping learners achieve success in learning vocabulary appropriately. Thus, it is a process that needs the teacher's help. It is their responsibility to provide students with effective activities. Theoretically, teachers in order to be effective in their teaching, they should be provided an overview of the student's needs, characteristics, and their culture.
Sometimes, it can be quite challenging for teachers to know how to effectively teach vocabulary to students, because every student has his/her own style of learning new words. Even though the students have the same level of English language,such as beginner, intermediate or advanced, they do not use the same learning strategies in the classroom or outside it. Therefore, students need to enhance their vocabulary and they need to know how to use it in the classroom and in everyday situations. These eight techniques will help to promote the EFL learners' understanding and communication in English Language.
- Communicative approach is emphasized as an appropriate method in learning new vocabulary. Make sure that students are motivated and interested to get involved in communicative situations. The students will be given the opportunity to communicate with English native speakers. This is one of the good advantages for students to acquire new words in a practical and proficient way.
- Cooperative activities. Using different kinds of activities in presenting new vocabulary will help learners learn new words and enhance their communication in English language. Students of different English levels will get the chance to use different cooperative learning activities to improve their vocabulary in English language. That is, during activities the students will learn from each other. The importance is that teachers should create an environment where the students will enjoy the learning.
- Using learners as resources in introducing new words. This can be done by using different activities. One of the most used activities is role-play. For example, a small group of students do the activity about a situation and other students are observing. All the students enact a role-play but about different situations. By using this technique, students get the chance to use the vocabulary appropriately for those situations. This helps the students learn through observation.
- Brainstorming new words is a technique that encourages students to focus on a topic or situation, which gives them the opportunity to share their knowledge. Give students a specific topic that is in accordance to their level and interest, and allow them to discuss about it. Students by giving different opinions will make them debate with their classmates.
- Class games help students build on their experiences and allow them to improve their vocabulary. There are a lot of games that teachers can use in the classroom by taking into consideration the student's level of English. Sometimes students get bored by listening to the teacher all the time. Therefore, using games encourage learners learn the language and also enjoy at the same time.
- Another technique that teachers can use is to help students to use new words in context. Use this kind of method to help students find the meaning of words while reading a text. The important is that teachers should make sure that students are aware of how words fit into sentences and how to use them, and not just to know their meaning and pronunciation.
- Translation is an effective technique when translating students something that they do not understand, from English language to L1 or vice-versa. This is more appropriate for students who are beginners and is occasionally used for students of intermediate or advanced level of English. This technique helps teachers to emphasize new structures, specifically in terms of accuracy.
- Make the students write sentences using the new vocabulary learned. The students will practice the new words, but also they will get the possibility to improve better their writing. Let them choose the topic for what they will be more interested to write about.