The Problem Teaching and Learning Vocabulary

Teaching Vocabulary in English Language: effective Methodologies. Patterns of Difficulty in Vocabulary. Introduction of the Vocabulary. Ways of Determining the Vocabulary Comprehension and Remembering. Key Strategies in Teaching Vocabulary.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид курсовая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 06.12.2015
Размер файла 204,1 K

Отправить свою хорошую работу в базу знаний просто. Используйте форму, расположенную ниже

Студенты, аспиранты, молодые ученые, использующие базу знаний в своей учебе и работе, будут вам очень благодарны.

Размещено на




The Problem Teaching and Learning Vocabulary


LVIV 2011


  • Introduction
  • Chapter I. The Problem Teaching and Learning Vocabulary
  • 1.1 Patterns of Difficulty in Vocabulary
  • 1.2 Introduction of the Vocabulary
  • 1.3 Teaching Vocabulary in English Language: Effective Methodologies
  • Chapter II. Methodical Approaches to Teaching Vocabulary
  • 2.1 Key Strategies in Teaching Vocabulary
  • 2.2 Ways of Determining the Vocabulary Comprehension and Remembering
  • Conclusion
  • Summary
  • References
  • Appendix A
  • Glossary


Vocabulary is a collection of words and phrases in language. Teaching vocabulary to students so that they have a large, expansive word knowledge and then understand the meaning behind the words, enables them to effectively express themselves clearly and in detail. It's equally as important as grammar.

Vocabulary and grammar work together to enhance not only knowledge, but the core language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Knowing and understanding a vast collection of words, where they fit and how they function in sentence structure is vitally important.

Vocabulary is the first and foremost important step in language acquisition. In a classroom the foreign language learning can be made interesting and efficient, interactive and interesting with the introduction of appropriate vocabulary exercises. This paper is an attempt to study and explore the various methodologies that can be incorporated in the teaching of vocabulary items in a language classroom.

Students learn vocabulary directly and indirectly. A student's vocabulary portfolio increases from the age of speaking through the ages of structured learning in a classroom environment. Having active vocabulary lists can increase a student's ability to read and comprehend their world in books, activities, communication and listening. As a student's vocabulary increases so does his/her ability to read and comprehend learning materials, textbooks, and interpretation of the world around him/her.

Learning English vocabulary can be rather difficult. It is not made any easier by the fact that many words have several possible meanings. There are also many homonyms, which are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. All of this complication makes the English language one of the most difficult languages to learn, and trying to learn English vocabulary is just one part of that.

teaching vocabulary english language

Thankfully, there are many tools and techniques at your disposal to help you learn English vocabulary learn English vocabulary much more easily.

Of the many compelling reasons for providing students with instruction to build vocabulary, none is more important than the contribution of vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension. Indeed, one of the most enduring findings in reading research is the extent to which students' vocabulary knowledge relates to their reading comprehension (Anderson & Freebody, 1981; Baumann, Kame`enui, & Ash, 2003; Becker, 1977; Davis, 1942; Whipple, 1925). Most recently, the National Reading Panel (2000) concluded that comprehension development cannot be understood without a critical examination of the role played by vocabulary knowledge. Given that students' success in school and beyond depends in great measure upon their ability to read with comprehension, there is an urgency to providing instruction that equips students with the skills and strategies necessary for lifelong vocabulary development.

Thus, regarding the importance of teaching vocabulary for the foreign language learning the topic of our course paper was chosen "Teaching Vocabulary”.

The topicality of the given course paper is predetermined by the fact that teaching vocabulary is an integral part of the foreign language teaching process. This matter requires new and more efficient approaches to the teaching process. Searching for new teaching methodical approaches is the key task of modern linguists and pedagogues who deal with foreign languages.

The object of the course paper is the process of teaching foreign language vocabulary.

The subject of the course paper is the character and complex of exercises for teaching vocabulary which are the most efficient for mastering the foreign language.

The aim of the course paper is to develop the methodic of teaching vocabulary and suggest such exercises which will stimulate the teaching process.

The tasks of the course paper are the following:

- determine the main patters of difficulty in vocabulary;

- characterize the specific features of the vocabulary introduction;

- give effective methodologies in teaching the English language vocabulary;

- investigate the key strategies in teaching vocabulary;

- and specify the ways of determining the vocabulary comprehension.

The practical value of the course paper is to develop methodical approaches to teaching vocabulary.

The structure of the course paper: introduction, two chapters, conclusion, summary, references, appendix, and glossary.

Chapter I. The Problem Teaching and Learning Vocabulary

1.1 Patterns of Difficulty in Vocabulary

Broadly defined, vocabulary is knowledge of words and word meanings. However, vocabulary is more complex than this definition suggests. First, words come in two forms: oral and print. Oral vocabulary includes those words that we recognize and use in listening and speaking. Print vocabulary includes those words that we recognize and use in reading and writing. Second, word knowledge also comes in two forms, receptive and productive. Receptive vocabulary includes words that we recognize when we hear or see them. Productive vocabulary includes words that we use when we speak or write. Receptive vocabulary is typically larger than productive vocabulary, and may include many words to which we assign some meaning, even if we don't know their full definitions and connotations - or ever use them ourselves as we speak and write (Kamil & Hiebert, in press).

Adding further complexity, in education, the word vocabulary is used with varying meanings. For example, for beginning reading teachers, the word might be synonymous with "sight vocabulary," by which they mean a set of the most common words in English that young students need to be able to recognize quickly as they see them in print. However, for teachers of upper elementary and secondary school students, vocabulary usually means the "hard” words that students encounter in content area textbook and literature selections [3, p.225].

For purposes of this booklet, we define vocabulary as knowledge of words and word meanings in both oral and print language and in productive and receptive forms. More specifically, we use vocabulary to refer to the kind of words that students must know to read increasingly demanding text with comprehension. We begin by looking closely at why developing this kind of vocabulary is important to reading comprehension.

If a person wants to say something, read something, listen to something, be something then he needs to have a great vocabulary. That is the bottom line of the story.

Teaching vocabulary requires nurturing a clear understanding of words to know what is actually being said. Students need to be able to carry this knowledge over into the real world in phrases and sentences. Merely repeating words like a parrot will not assist them in what they're trying to say.

If we merely throw a series of words at students and expect them to stick, then we have taught them virtually nothing. We have to find meaning behind each word so that they can fit them together and build sentence structure (grammar) and therefore create complete thoughts and expressions.

Robert Lado (1955) talked about patterns of difficulty in vocabulary teaching. He highlighted key issues related to words, the native language factor and about patterns. He even analyzed Spanish, French and Mexican patterns of difficulty in their respective vocabulary items. He stated that while dealing with vocabulary one should take into account three important aspects of words - their form, their meaning and their distribution - and one should consider various kinds of classes of words in the function of the language. He said that the forms, meaning distribution and classification of words are different in different languages. He revealed that these differences might lead to vocabulary problems [23, p.23].

Vocabulary is the knowledge of words and word meanings. As Steven Stahl (2005) puts it, "Vocabulary knowledge is knowledge; the knowledge of a word not only implies a definition, but also implies how that word fits into the world." [22, p.150]

Vocabulary is simply the ability to know the meaning of words and use those words in context.

The truth is, and the research shows, students need multiple and various exposures to a word before they fully understand that word and can apply it. They need also to learn words in context, not stand alone lists that come and go each week. Of course the way we learn words in context, or implicitly, is by reading, then reading some more.

Vocabulary knowledge is not something that can ever be fully mastered; it is something that expands and deepens over the course of a lifetime. Instruction in vocabulary involves far more than looking up words in a dictionary and using the words in a sentence. Vocabulary is acquired incidentally through indirect exposure to words and intentionally through explicit instruction in specific words and word-learning strategies.

According to Michael Graves, there are four components of an effective vocabulary program:

- wide or extensive independent reading to expand word knowledge

- instruction in specific words to enhance comprehension of texts containing those words

- instruction in independent word-learning strategies, and

- word consciousness and word-play activities to motivate and enhance learning [28, p.70].

Components of vocabulary instruction:

It was concluded that there is no single research-based method for teaching vocabulary. It is recommended using a variety of direct and indirect methods of vocabulary instruction.

- Intentional vocabulary teaching

- Specific Word Instruction

- Selecting Words to Teach

- Rich and Robust Instruction

- Word-Learning Strategies

- Dictionary Use

- Morphemic Analysis

- Cognate Awareness

- Contextual Analysis

The explicit instruction of vocabulary is highly effective. To develop vocabulary intentionally, students should be explicitly taught both specific words and word-learning strategies. To deepen students' knowledge of word meanings, specific word instruction should be robust. Seeing vocabulary in rich contexts provided by authentic texts, rather than in isolated vocabulary drills, produces robust vocabulary learning. Such instruction often does not begin with a definition, for the ability to give a definition is often the result of knowing what the word means. Rich and robust vocabulary instruction goes beyond definitional knowledge; it gets students actively engaged in using and thinking about word meanings and in creating relationships among words.

Research shows that there are more words to be learned than can be directly taught in even the most ambitious program of vocabulary instruction. Explicit instruction in word-learning strategies gives students tools for independently determining the meanings of unfamiliar words that have not been explicitly introduced in class. Since students encounter so many unfamiliar words in their reading, any help provided by such strategies can be useful [5, p.351].

Word-learning strategies include dictionary use, morphemic analysis, and contextual analysis. For students whose language shares cognates with English, cognate awareness is also an important strategy. Dictionary use teaches students about multiple word meanings, as well as the importance of choosing the appropriate definition to fit the particular context. Morphemic analysis is the process of deriving a word's meaning by analyzing its meaningful parts, or morphemes. Such word parts include root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Contextual analysis involves inferring the meaning of an unfamiliar word by scrutinizing the text surrounding it. Instruction in contextual analysis generally involves teaching students to employ both generic and specific types of context clues.

Visnja Pavicic dealt with a way to improve students' abilities to explore, store and usage of vocabulary items. He determined the role of vocabulary teaching and how a teacher could help their learners. He laid emphasis on self initiated independent learning with strategies, in which formal practices, functional practices and memorizing could be included. He said that the teacher should create activities and tasks to help students to build their vocabulary and develop strategies to learn the vocabulary on their own [18, p.49].

1.2 Introduction of the Vocabulary

Teaching vocabulary skills requires vocabulary instruction that is understood in terms of the following:

Reading vocabulary - words are imperative in understanding the context and the content in reading materials from flyers, books to school textbooks.

Verbal/Speaking vocabulary - children from pre-school to secondary school have an accrued vocabulary list of words that are used in generic conversation and more directed communication.

Writing vocabulary - students learn how to start with the basics of writing sentences to the complexity of constructing research papers and reports.

Listening vocabulary - in earlier grades, students are engaged in active listening skills that contribute new words to their vocabulary. As students transition from grade level to grade level, vocabulary words gained from active communication increases or decreases dependent on the student's intention to learn new words and use them and the teacher's ability to facilitate the learning of new worlds [8, p.221].

Teachers can use specific vocabulary learning objectives in teaching reading vocabulary to students from elementary to secondary grade levels. Teaching strategies can range from simple activities to more complicated project collaborations for students.

Pre-reading vocabulary lists - teachers can have students create pre-reading vocabulary lists when new material is introduced in the classroom or during prescribed reading times during class.

Spelling assessments - assigning students weekly or daily vocabulary lists for assessments not only increases the student's vocabulary, but also their ability to spell words correctly.

Comprehension word walls - teachers can assign each student a word of the day and have each student look up the definition of the world and post the word and its meaning on a designated word wall. Building comprehension increases a student's ability to understand what they're reading.

Multiple word contexts - when students can see words used in a diversity of contexts, then it will enhance their ability to retain the world and use them in different reading experiences.

Journaling vocabulary words - having students put a word a day in their journals is great, but having them use the word in active writing assignments is even better for word usage and retention.

When students are taught new words, they need to understand these essential principles:

Meaning of the word - what's its definition?

Context - how can this word be used in real life? What situations can it be used in and what are the facts that surround this word, phrase or sentence?

Spelling - make sure they spell the word correctly by holding spelling tests and spelling the words out loud. Don't let them confuse homonyms i. e.: bare and bear, see and sea, cell and sell etc.

Pronunciation - how will they say this word? Will the sound they produce be stressed correctly and to the standard of speech?

Grammar - where will this word fit in sentence structure? What role will it play in parts of speech ie: verb, noun, adjective, adverb etc?

Stress - is the word broken into syllables properly when being expressed? un-for-given, dream-er, wa-ter, smi-ling etc.

Accent - are the edges of the word soft or hard? Is the pitch, tone and length of the word said correctly?

Purpose/Register - what purpose does this word have in the occasion it is being used in? Is it being used at a formal event like a wedding, in a more relaxed setting with friends or is it being used casually as slang?

Collocation - These are often two or more words that are often used together by native English speakers. Does the arrangement of the words make sense when placed in a sentence? ie: sleep tight, table of contents, heavy burden, heavy smoker, heavy drinker etc.

Clichй - is this word or phrase so overused that it's lost its original meaning? When an expression becomes so common it takes on a life of its own eg: there's no business like show business. A clichй has a literal meaning whereas idioms have figurative meanings e. g.: let the cat out of the bag.

The key is finding teacher's personal way of teaching vocabulary. You have to find what works for you and your students. Everywhere we look we see people, places, things and ideas. Everything is called something and has a name.

Words are the life blood to speaking, reading, writing and listening - the four main skills of any language. Communication in any form requires the understanding and use of words. We can't function without vocabulary knowledge and understanding.

Without understanding words, students will essentially drift without focus and be overwhelmed and lost in the English language. The four main skills are the roadmap of life. They need to be able to use vocabulary in all practical situations:

Speaking - at work, school, home, travel, daily conversations, shopping, telephone, plays, debates, reading aloud etc.

Reading - books, magazines, newspapers, journals, online literature, daily situations, maps, road signs, instructions etc.

Writing - stories, notes, essays, letters, applications, medical forms, lists, email, texting, work, school, home, travel etc.

Listening - speeches, events, radio, TV, songs, announcements, games, movies, travel, instructions, conversations etc.

The vocabulary introduction is usually started with the following topics:

Alphabet - discuss both upper and lowercase, proper names, vowels and consonants. Be sure that each student knows and understands the sound that each letter produces.

Colours - talk about primary, secondary and tertiary colours. Mix colours and talk about what they produce. Discuss tints, shades and moods that colours induce. Examples of objects and pictures is always key to give the lesson reality, interest and focus.

Shapes - give examples of all the main shapes and use objects and pictures to display the principles of shape.

Numbers - teach numerical order, placing things in first, second and third place, cardinal numbers and how critical numbers are in everyday life.

Telling time - discuss clocks, watches, how to tell time, o'clock, hours, minutes, seconds and a. m. and p. m. Use a real clock to talk about the aspect of numbers and the different meals or chores of the day and when they occur.

The calendar - talk about special dates like birthdays, holidays, events, days of the week and month names. Create a special calendar in the classroomand first thing in morning talk about the date and stick a themed picture on it if the day is a special occasion.

Seasons - Create scenes, draw and show pictures and get the students to really discuss every aspect of each season. Talk about clothing, weather and nature and how everything changes with each new season. Have a large chart where pictures can be added that reflect all these seasonal ideas and themes.

Thus, we can see pictures of many types and colours can be used successfully to show the meaning of words and sentence. Handmade pictures can also be used as there is no need to be very artistic.

Drawings can be used to explain the meaning of things, actions, qualities, and relations. A line drawing of a head, for example, provides many useful nouns and verbs.

The scientific research on vocabulary instruction reveals that most vocabulary is acquired incidentally through indirect exposure to words. Students can acquire vocabulary incidentally by engaging in rich oral-language experiences at home and at school, listening to books read aloud to them, and reading widely on their own. Reading volume is very important in terms of long-term vocabulary development.

Kamil and Hiebert reason that extensive reading gives students repeated or multiple exposures to words and is also one of the means by which students see vocabulary in rich contexts. Cunningham recommends providing structured read-aloud and discussion sessions and extending independent reading experiences outside school hours to encourage vocabulary growth in students [12, p.18].

1.3 Teaching Vocabulary in English Language: Effective Methodologies

It is noteworthy to mention here that vocabulary items are imparted mostly by translation: either a list of words with their translation at the beginning of the lesson or the translation of the content having new words or glossaries at the very end. This is an erroneous practice as it leads to a state of confusion for the learners. On the teaching skills of vocabulary items, Frisby commented that "While the teacher is not, himself, concerned with the actual selection of vocabulary for text book purposes since practically all the books we use are based on limited vocabularies, it is important that he/she (the teacher) should know the principles, which underlie vocabulary selection" [15, p.34]. Thus it signifies that a language teacher should be innovative and proficient in the application of methodologies pertaining to teaching vocabulary items in a classroom situation.

Following are the main methodologies for teaching vocabulary items in an English language classroom.

Listening Carefully

Careful listening to the words may be a good option in teaching vocabulary items in a heterogenic classroom. "Let the students hear the word in isolation and in a sentence. If the sounds of the word have been mastered, the students will hear it correctly with two or three repetitions. "

Slow pronunciation without distortion will help. Breaking the word into parts and building up to the whole word will also be helpful.

Pronouncing the Word

Pronouncing the word enables the students to remember it longer and identify it more readily when they hear or see it.

The teacher in the process of teaching vocabulary should work on fostering word consciousness.

A more general way to help students develop vocabulary is by fostering word consciousness, an awareness of and interest in words. Word consciousness is not an isolated component of vocabulary instruction; it needs to be taken into account each and every day. It can be developed at all times and in several ways: through encouraging adept diction, through word play, and through research on word origins or histories. According to Graves, "If we can get students interested in playing with words and language, then we are at least halfway to the goal of creating the sort of word-conscious students who will make words a lifetime interest. "

Multiple exposures in multiple contexts are very efficient. One principle of effective vocabulary learning is to provide multiple exposures to a word's meaning. There is great improvement in vocabulary when students encounter vocabulary words often. According to Stahl, students probably have to see a word more than once to place it firmly in their long-term memories. "This does not mean mere repetition or drill of the word," but seeing the word in different and multiple contexts. In other words, it is important that vocabulary instruction provide students with opportunities to encounter words repeatedly and in more than one context.

Restructuring of vocabulary tasks is given below.

- Intentional instruction of vocabulary items is required for specific texts.

- Repetition and multiple exposures to vocabulary items are important.

- Learning in rich contexts is valuable for vocabulary learning. Vocabulary tasks should be restructured as necessary.

- Vocabulary learning should entail active engagement in learning tasks.

- Computer technology can be used effectively to help teach vocabulary.

- Vocabulary can be acquired through incidental learning. How vocabulary is assessed and evaluated can have differential effects on instruction.

- Dependence on a single vocabulary instructional method will not result in optimal learning.

It is often assumed that when students do not learn new vocabulary words, they simply need to practice the words some more. Research has shown, however, that it is often the case that students simply do not understand the instructional task involved. Rather than focus only on the words themselves, teachers should be certain that students fully understand the instructional tasks. The restructuring of learning materials or strategies in various ways often can lead to increased vocabulary acquisition, especially for low-achieving or at-risk students. Once students know what is expected of them in a vocabulary task, they often learn rapidly.

There are several games and other fun activities you can do with students to help them to learn new vocabulary. For example, you can encourage students to participate in Dictionary Races. Give each student a series of words to look up in the dictionary and a copy of a dictionary. Have the students look up the words and write down the definitions. The first student to find and write down all of the definitions wins.

Students can then be encouraged to come up with creative sentences for the words they looked up in the dictionary races. You can ask each student to select a word and write a sentence on the board with that word. If you gave the students a series of related words, you can also have these sentences tie together as a story. Ask one student to begin the story using the first sentence containing a vocabulary word, and go around the room, having each student build upon the story using the next word on the list.

These activities will help students learn to use the dictionary, and will provide two exposures to the words within a brief context of time. You can then ask the students to identify prefixes, suffixes or roots contained in the words they looked up. Of course, before doing this part of the game, you will need to ensure that each student knows exactly what a prefix, suffix or root is. You can turn this into a contest as well, awarding a prize to the student who can identify the most prefixes or suffixes from your word list within a given period of time.

You can play this series of games repeatedly with different word lists, mixing in some of the old words each time with some of the new words. With repeated exposure to the existing words and a fun and engaging atmosphere in which to learn new words, students will be able to commit the words to memory more quickly and will have fun in the process.

Students can keep these lists of words, sentences and prefixes/suffixes in a special vocabulary notebook which they review periodically. This will allow them to build upon their knowledge of vocabulary and to slowly learn new words throughout the course of the year. By referring back to existing word lists and definitions in addition to looking up new words, students will experience repeated exposure to the words that they have looked up, ensuring that they commit those words to memory.

Chapter II. Methodical Approaches to Teaching Vocabulary

2.1 Key Strategies in Teaching Vocabulary

The teacher should try to get the meaning to the class without using translation. This is not preferable on the ground that translation may or may not provide the meaning of the word accurately and precisely. It is advocated as it enables the class to go without grasping the meaning of a word that they have learned to pronounce rather than to depend upon the translation.

Below there are recommendations on teaching the meaning of the word:

- Perform an action either with your hands and/or a facial gesture if you can.

- Draw or present a picture or representation of the word.

- Write it on the board and spell it out loud pointing to each letter as you go.

- Use props if you can.

- Define the meaning of the word and use it in a few very simple sentences.

- Use a similar word (synonym) to give your students something they can identify and compare it to and put into context.

- Use an opposite word (antonym) so that you are driving a point home by showing a direct contrast to the word.

- Get the pupils to try and put the new word in a few sentences.

- Discuss the word and create a mind map with the students linking several words related to the new word i. e.: dog - barking - fluffy - playful - short-haired etc.

Teaching vocabulary requires use of all senses to get the best results and best memory retention possible.

Some of the key strategies to unfold the information and meaning of a new word to a class are as follows:

1. Definitions

Definitions in the target language may be very handy if they are expressed in terms that are better known or more easily guessed than the word that is defined. In this direction teachers and students can refer to authentic and reliable dictionaries.

2. Self-defining Context

The context makes the situation clear, and this in turn illuminates the meaning of the new word. This practice saves time and develops an intensive reading habit and better understanding.

3. Antonyms

When one member of a pair of opposites is understood, the meaning of the other can be easily comprehended. This helps the student to understand the different shades of meanings of a word.

4. Synonyms

A synonym may be used to help the student to understand the different shades of meaning if the synonym is better known than the word being taught. Synonyms help to enrich a student's vocabulary bank and provide alternative words instantly.

5. Dramatization

This method can be practiced at ease. It can win the favour of the students as learners like dramatizations and can easily learn through them. Many situations can be dramatized or demonstrated.

6. Realia

Real objects or models of real objects are very effective and meaningful in showing meanings but in handling of real objects, a teacher must be practical and should not be superfluous.

7. Series, Scales, Systems

The meaning of words such as the months of the year, the days of the week, the parts of the day, seasons of the year, ordinal numbers, cardinal numbers, etc. that form part of well-known series can be made clear by placing them in their natural order in the series.

8. Parts of Words

The parts of complex and compound words may be more common than the words themselves. Separating such words into their component parts generally elaborates the meaning.

9. Illustrative Sentences

Most words have a variety of restrictions on their use. Systematic descriptions of these restrictions and idiomatic uses would be laborious and not very effective in teaching. It is better to give appropriate examples that elucidate the range and variation of usage.

10. Practice from Meaning to Expression

This is controlled practice in which the class does not create new uses or new contexts but simply recalls the ones presented. There are many types of practices for this purpose. Pictures, realia, context, and dramatization can be used. Series and systems can also be used.

11. Reading the Word

Reading words aloud is also very beneficial. It makes a learner familiar with the word and also improves pronunciations of the learners.

12. Writing the Word

It will enable the class to write the new word while the auditory memory is fresh, even if the objective is only to read. Writing or copying the word from the blackboard will give the student a chance to understand the grammatical aspect of the word such as noun, verb, adverb, adjective etc.

13. Shift of Attention

Under this practice, the teacher provides a context by description or through reading which elicits the use of the word. The learners should be asked to pay attention to and develop an attitude or a point of view which he defends or attacks.

14. Strategy for Special Types of Words

Specific techniques or special combinations of the above techniques may be applicable for particular groups of words.

15. Words That Are Easy to Learn

It has been seen that the words that are similar in form and meaning to the first language are easy to understand and comprehend. They should be taught for listening and reading rather than for speaking and writing.

16. Words of Normal Difficulty

Words of normal difficulty are best taught in contextual realms, such as food, clothing, sports, work, and so on. There are advantages to using a connected context illustrating the words that are to be taught. Additional words can be taught as alternatives to those chosen in the connected context. Practice can be controlled in varying situations by changing a key word or phrase.

17. Difficult Words

Some words and sets of words are especially difficult to understand. They have to be taught as special problems with the strategy determined by the particular problem in each case.

Teachers can also use the following strategies, suggested by Alise Robston to help students learn vocabulary from active speaking and active listening engagements:

Reading passages - in order to train students to actively listen for vocabulary words, teachers can use a selection of reading passages that range from simple to complex to strengthen vocabulary skills.

Student selection of reading material - allowing students to select their own reading material with an assignment that requires them to list at least 10 vocabulary words with definitions will help them construct a vocabulary portfolio.

Using assistive technology/references/resources - with any vocabulary experience, students should have designated assistive technology or software or reference materials to look up words and define them.

Teaching word parts - an active listening tip would be to teach students how words are constructed into meaning by breaking them down into word parts (i. e. reconstruction vs. deconstruction are great examples).

Robert Marzano is pretty amazing, having spent countless hours observing students and teachers. An education researcher and teacher, he stresses that in all content areas, direct vocabulary instruction is essential and suggests six steps:

Step one: The teacher explains a new word, going beyond reciting its definition (tap into prior knowledge of students, use imagery).

Step two: Students restate or explain the new word in their own words (verbally and/or in writing).

Step three: Ask students to create a non-linguistic representation of the word (a picture, or symbolic representation).

Step four: Students engage in activities to deepen their knowledge of the new word (compare words, classify terms, write their own analogies and metaphors).

Step five: Students discuss the new word (pair-share, elbow partners).

Step six: Students periodically play games to review new vocabulary (Pyramid, Jeopardy, Telephone).

Marzano's six steps do something revolutionary to vocabulary learning: They make it fun. Students think about, talk about, apply, and play with new words [25, p.59].

The following recommendations to a teacher can be very helpful and useful in the teaching vocabulary process:

- Create theme based visual projects with pictures on a poster board and label each object. Use subjects you like e. g.: fashion, animals, sports etc.

- Seek out word games, activities and vocabulary exercises online and at the library.

- Buy crossword puzzle, quizzes and word finder books.

- Keep a notebook and write down words that interest them or that they don't understand.

- Create flashcards of single words or phrases. This can be a fun project as they can create the cards in themes.

- Post the alphabet, numbers, main colours and shapes in a location where they can see them on a daily basis.

- Familiarize themselves with all the words they use on a daily basis at work, school and home.

- Ask people to write down or spell out a word they don't recognize.

- Buy a grammar book and reference it often.

- Use audio and/or video lessons for speech and visual recognition of objects and words.

Teaching vocabulary requires from a pedagogue as a teacher to keep learning, looking and researching.

English lessons on video are highly recommended when teaching vocabulary as the connection between hearing the spoken word, seeing the visual object and written word is highly valuable. The learner's vocabulary can only expand if you keep exposing them to new words and practical situations. The lessons cover basic greetings and helpful common phrases. Areas of grammar, tenses and vocabulary builders like the alphabet, vowels, colours, numbers and shapes are also valuable teachings.

Theme based lessons are a must as they highlight a good, solid variety of everyday objects and situations. Their focal point is to familiarize the learner with all the daily visual articles in the world around us. Video lessons are presented with a huge array of bright, bold pictures and accompanying words. The tutor is pleasant in manner and has an expressive voice with an English accent.

When teaching vocabulary, you should inspire creativity as much as possible to keep the level of interest and excitement high. Get students to create colourful, bold street signs, posters, bill boards, magazine covers, flashcards, calendars, weather forecasts, newspaper headlines and news presentations using colours, numbers, shapes and letters. A written, creative project can then be given as an oral presentation and a class discussion can follow.

2.2 Ways of Determining the Vocabulary Comprehension and Remembering

Reviewing tasks and questions to analyze and confirm understanding are very important in determining the vocabulary comprehension.

So how do you know if your students understand what they're learning? There are several methods you can use to test vocabulary skills. Testing them in spoken and written communication will give you a good sense of their vocabulary knowledge and at what level they have reached in comparison to the other students.

Ask questions - who, why, when, what, where and how are good questions to ask. Ask other general questions too, to see if the student gets the concept and meaning of the words. This is also a good method to test past, present and future tenses.

Example: crying/cry/cried.

Who is crying? The boy is crying.

Why is he crying? He is crying because he fell off his bike and hurt his knees.

When did he cry? Yesterday afternoon when he had his accident.

What made him cry? His sore knees made him cry.

Where was he crying? He cried behind the bicycle shed.

How was he crying? He was sobbing at first but then it turned into a whimper.

Is he still crying? No, he has calmed down.

Will he be alright? Yes, his mother bandaged his knees.

Get students to write descriptive sentences about an item as if they were actually the item. They have to look at every aspect of that item and pretend that they are the item, using shape, colour, texture and other details.

Example: A bus.

I am very large and have four large, rubber wheels.

I carry a lot of people to and from work and school everyday.

You have to wait at a bus stop for me to pick you up.

I am driven by a bus driver and have many seats inside me.

I can come in many colours and am mostly a long rectangular shape.

They can also write descriptive sentences about people, animals, places and situations. Teaching vocabulary takes creativity, planning and thought.

Testing and reviewing a word on the board with the class:

- First present the word by writing it on the board.

- Show a picture and do an action (if you can) to show the word.

- Say and spell the word out loud.

- Ask questions around the class. See if students understand how this word works, where it fits with other words and what it's used for

- Let the students all spell and say the word out loud together. Do the same with a few sentences as you write them on the board.

- Use visual aids whenever possible to assist and support new words.

- Make sure the pronunciation of the word is correct.

- Get the students to write the word down and spell it out as they do.

- See, say, spell and write.

Dictations are also very useful. A pupil / student can do it all by himself. Simply following this process:

- Write the words (usually no more than ten at once) on a piece of paper. Use two columns: one for English and one for the translation in the native language.

- Fold in the piece of paper so that a pupil can only see the translation in the native language.

- Take another piece of paper and write the English words that match the translated words. Don't look at the answers! The point is remembering by heart.

- When finished, compare the English words, just written to the ones on the original paper.

Apart from encouraging your students to keep an orderly vocab book of some sort, another way of having easy access to the words that have come up in your classes is to create a `word bag' for each of your groups. All you need are two large envelopes and some strips of card. Write on one envelope `Blank word cards' and `Class Word Bag' on the other. Cut up lots of small strips of card and put them in the `Blank Word Cards' envelope.

Every class, nominate a student to be in charge of the `word bag'. He or she should be given the envelopes at the beginning of the class and is responsible for writing all the new vocabulary on separate blank word cards and putting them into the class word bag envelope. If this isn't practical for your group, you can be responsible for putting the words in the bag after each class. If you can keep the envelopes in the class you teach in, pinned on a cork board or in a safe place, it will be easier for you to keep track of the bag. After a few lessons you will have a good selection of words in the word bag.

Here are some activities for using the word bag to recycle the vocabulary. They can be used at the beginning of a class as a warmer or at the end to fill up the last five minutes.

Quick Fire Quiz. Pull out a bunch of words from the bag. Give clues or definitions so the students can guess the word on the card. The student who guesses the word correctly, wins the card. The winner is the student with the most cards at the end.

`Beep' sentences. Read a sentence incorporating the word on the word card. Instead of saying the word, say `beep'. Students guess the missing word. When students get the idea, pass them the word bag, so they can create their own sentences.

Circle story. Give each student a word card. You start and begin to tell a story and use the word you have on your card. When you have used your word, the next student continues the story until they can incorporate their own word.

Team vocab tests. Divide the class into teams or pairs. Pull out a set number of words and using translation or clues give the teams a vocab test!

Pictionary. In two teams, use the word cards as prompts for a game of pictionary. Use the board or paper.

Teaching vocabulary requires continued effort on both the teacher's and student's part.


During the given course paper writing we have investigated different matters, related to the problem of teaching vocabulary.

Special attention has been drawn to the problem of the vocabulary introduction and to the effective methodologies of teaching vocabulary in the English language.

We have thoroughly investigated the key strategies of teaching vocabulary and suggested the most efficient ways of determining the vocabulary comprehension and remembering.

Thus, we have come to the following conclusions.

An efficient language teacher can use selected vocabulary activities or can use integrated activities. All this depends upon ability and level of understanding and interest of the learners. There is no sure fire remedy or method to enhance vocabulary in a day or two. A student's vocabulary bank can be enriched on a gradual basis and one should always show keen interest and enthusiasm in finding, learning and understanding new words.

We have concluded, teaching students vocabulary skills can encompass strategies that use the different types of vocabulary instruction in creating word context, content, meaning and application that will prove beneficial and powerful as the student grows to understand the importance and application of words.

Having a large vocabulary and understanding a huge selection of words makes communication a lot easier to navigate. Through using the four main skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening, vocabulary expands and strengthens. Teaching vocabulary takes times and patience.

Vocabulary exercises are activities that help students learn new English vocabulary words well enough to:

- Recognize them when they see or hear them.

- Recall them.

- Apply them on demand.

We should stress, achieving these three objectives does not assure that students will use this new vocabulary without prompting in writing and speaking. However, these objectives must be met before you can proceed to the higher level learning tasks required if students are to use newly-acquired vocabulary words without prompting in their writing and speech.

We have come to the conclusion students, having learned vocabulary are able to:

a) Connect the new word to something they know already.

b) See how the new word is used and defined in multiple contexts. The more of these you can draw from students' class materials, the better.

c) Identify the new word's structural elements such as its roots, prefix, and suffix.

Thus, we can see that teaching vocabulary is a vitally important part of the foreign language learning. Efficient methodologies and creative approaches can make the teaching process more interesting and efficient. Such approaches will simplify the work both of teachers and students.

The strong and established relationship between students' vocabulary knowledge and their ability to successfully comprehend what they read places a heavy demand on classroom teachers, curriculum planners, program developers, organizers of staff development plans, reading researchers, and on parent outreach programs. The demand is that significant attention be given to the development of students' vocabulary knowledge. Much is known from research about how young children acquire words and how they learn to use them in spoken language.

Much is also known about the differences in the amount of vocabulary knowledge that young children bring to school, and the negative impact of what one researcher calls "word poverty" on the acquisition and maintenance of reading competence. It is clear that rich oral language environments must be created in preschool and kindergarten classrooms to promote the development of school - and book-related vocabulary.

As students progress through the grades, the development of their vocabulary knowledge must remain a priority.

In summary, we know a lot about vocabulary knowledge, its acquisition, and its importance across the school years. The challenge is to put what we know to work in the classrooms of schools. The successful reading achievement of many of our students depends upon us doing so.

The results of the given course paper can be used for the further development of key strategies in teaching vocabulary.

So, coming to the end of the given course paper writing we may say that we have fulfilled all the tasks stated at the beginning of the paper wring.


Темою даної курсової роботи є "Teaching Vocabulary". Обрана тема є актуальною, оскільки питання навчання лексики іноземної мови завжди привертає і буде привертати увагу як вітчизняних, так і зарубіжних лінгвістів, викладачів та методистів. Метою даної курсової роботи є розробити методичні поради до навчання лексики іноземної мови та запропонувати вправи, які стимулюють навчальний процес. Досліджено теоретичну літературу, яку присвячено загальним питанням теорії та методичним рекомендаціям з викладання іноземної мови.

Проведено аналіз різних підходів до навчання лексик іноземної мови. Робота складається зі вступу, двох розділів, висновків, резюме, списку використаної літератури, додатку та глосарія.


1. A.W. Frisby (1957), "Teaching English", The English Language Book Society and Longmans Green and Co., p.98.

2. Alternative formats for evaluating content area vocabulary understanding. Michele L. Simpson. Testing a student's full grasp of a concept requires some different vocabulary tests. Here are some approaches that are easy to use in the classroom. Journal of Reading (31: 1, October 1987), pp. 20_27.

3. Coady, J. (1997). L2 acquisition through extensive reading. In J. Coady and T. Huckin, (eds.). Secondary language vocabulary acquisition. (225-237). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Подобные документы

  • Theoretical aspects of relationship between technology and language. Research-based principles of vocabulary instruction and multimedia learning. Analysis of examples of vocabulary learning strategies available on the Internet during the lesson.

    контрольная работа [1,6 M], добавлен 11.03.2015

  • How important is vocabulary. How are words selected. Conveying the meaning. Presenting vocabulary. How to illustrate meaning. Decision - making tasks. Teaching word formation and word combination. Teaching lexical chunks. Teaching phrasal verbs.

    дипломная работа [2,4 M], добавлен 05.06.2010

  • General considerations of stylistic classification of the English vocabulary. Neutral, common literary and common colloquial vocabulary, special literary vocabulary, colloquial vocabulary, poetic, highly literary words, archaic, obsolescent and obsolete.

    курсовая работа [51,1 K], добавлен 21.07.2009

  • The connection of lexicology with other branches of linguistics. Modern Methods of Vocabulary Investigation. General characteristics of English vocabulary. The basic word-stock. Influence of Russian on the English vocabulary. Etymological doublets.

    курс лекций [44,9 K], добавлен 15.02.2013

  • Conditions of effective communication. Pronouncing consonants and vowels: Sound/spelling correspondence. Vocabulary and lexical stress patterns. Areas of intersection of Pronunciation with morphology and syntax. Listening for reduced speech features.

    презентация [2,4 M], добавлен 23.10.2012

  • Modern English vocabulary from the point of view of its etymology (origin) may be divided into 3 great groups. Words belonging to the set of native word-stock are for the most part. Periods of French borrowings. Assimilation of borrowings and their types.

    презентация [41,4 K], добавлен 20.10.2013

  • Comparison of understanding phraseology in English, American and post-Soviet vocabulary. Features classification idiomatic expressions in different languages. The analysis of idiomatic expressions denoting human appearance in the English language.

    курсовая работа [30,9 K], добавлен 01.03.2015

Работы в архивах красиво оформлены согласно требованиям ВУЗов и содержат рисунки, диаграммы, формулы и т.д.
PPT, PPTX и PDF-файлы представлены только в архивах.
Рекомендуем скачать работу.