What\\\'s the Trick to Teaching Vocabulary to English Language Learner
Jul 18, 2009 Lesson Planning 2936 Views
There are four stages in acquiriring new words:
The learner notices the new word (with help)
The learner learns to recognize it (with help)
The learner recognizes it on his/her own
The learner can both recognize and produce it
Ways to make learning new words interesting
Since students need to be motivated to learn new words constantly, it is important that it is as interesting as possible. Teachers can vary the types of exercises, strategies and activities using the four stages of vocabulary learning:
Stage 1: Noticing the word: the visual element
Stage 2: Recognition
- Categorize the words
- Matching. (this category is huge with both open and closed types of exercises) Matching the word to its definition, L1-L2, opposites, adjectives and nouns, verbs and adverbs, word to the picture, match two words that go together
- Multiple choice
- Drawing the word
- Bingo games
- Circle the word you hear
Stage 3: Production
- Answering questions
- Guessing games: I'm thinking of:
- Picture description
Some Basic Tips and Strategies for Practicing New Vocabulary
Drills should never become mechanical. They should be as interesting and communicative as possible.
Young ELLs need lots of creative encounters with new words, which should be a fun and enriching experience.
- Personalize: Teacher can ask students: "Do you have a dog at home?" or, "What animal do you like the best?"
- Teacher numbers each picture: students say the number of each word as it is called or show the number of fingers for controlling the level of classroom noise.
- I'm thinking of a word: teacher describes the word and students guess the meaning. Important Teaching Considerations for Lesson Planning
· What are some of the skills teachers should expect ELLs to do after a lesson? (i.e. spell the words, recognize the meaning, produce them from memory)
- How many new words does the teacher want to introduce per lesson? (5-7 words is ideal)
- Be selective. Don't use a drill or exercise just because it happens to be in the book.
- Examine the activity: Is the purpose clear? Is it useful? Does it force the students to think about the language? Can it be made more interesting?
- Make sure your drills are adapted to suit the needs of your individual classes. Make up your own exercise if the book does not have any suitable ones.
- Use as much time as possible to practice listening and speaking. Let students work in pairs or in small groups as often as possible.
- Start written work in the classroom to make sure everyone understands what they are doing. Do some exercises orally first, then let the students finish them for homework. Don't underestimate your students. Show them that you expect them to be able to work individually or in pairs or groups.
- Make the lessons as enjoyable as possible. If you enjoy your work, the students will enjoy your lessons.
Final Words: Points to consider
- Try to have as many success oriented activities that are geared to the age groups you teach.
- Gradually progress from one stage to another but vary the activities within each stage.
- Consider appealing to the various multiple intelligences. The visual element in learning is particularly important for younger children.
Remember, the ingredients for successful teaching to ELLs include frequent exposure and ongoing repetition.