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Teaching Vocabulary and Ways

to Retain It

Khmelnytskyi National University


February 21, 2012

Carol A. Haddaway,
Sr. English Language Fellow, Ukraine
Vocabulary forms the biggest part of the meaning of any
language, and vocabulary is the biggest problem for most
learners (McCarthy as cited in Fan. 2003, p. 222).

In communication, vocabulary is often more important


then grammar (Davies, 2000, p.59).

Learning new words and how to use them is not a simple


matter and can be quite challenging but working with
words can and should be enjoyable and fun for learners
(Davies, 2000).
Outline
What is Vocabulary
A balanced vocabulary program
How to teach vocabulary
Some teaching techniques
Vocabulary development strategies
Academic words
What is Vocabulary?
Words/items (mother-in-law, post office, ice cream)
Word families (base words and their derived forms)
child, children, childhood, childish; teach, teacher,
teaching, taught
Phrasal verbs
take away, put on, figure out, look up, pick up
Collocation
digital photograph, hot summer
Idioms
call it a day, hot under the collar, cold shoulder, hit
the road running, piece of cake
What does it mean to Know a word ?
Layers of Word Knowledge Examples

Meaning
Denotation Dictionary e.g. dog - domestic animal
Connotation dog to British or Arabic people
Degree (strength of a word) The conflict annihilated /destroyed/damaged. the
city.
Collocation
Fixed phrases (word partners) forth and back; tall, handsome, and dark
Grammar, Spelling (look) Pronunciation (sound)
Verbs Think, thought
Nouns Mouse, mice, information, advice
Adj. or verbs with prepositions Responsible for, remind someone of
Word Parts
Prefixes/suffixes sub, un, able Substandard, ungrateful
Appropriate Forms
Formal/informal Weep or cry, variant/variety, dinner
Direct/euphemistic I heard that your uncle died/passed away
What Vocabulary Should We Teach?

Vocabulary Items that are:


Frequent (West General Service List first
2000 head words of English)
Important (Academic Word List 570 word
families)
Needed for Classroom Tasks & Activities
Regular (common patterns or features)
Easy to learn (cognates)
Must consider level & needs/interests of learners
Must answer students vocabulary questions
(Richards, Nation, Genesee)
How Should We Divide Our Time
in Teaching Vocabulary?

Teach each of these for about the


same amount (25%) of time:
(Nunan, 2004. Online course on Teaching Vocabulary
Learning from Input (L, R)
The content has a
message that
students want to
focus on.
listening to a story,
having a
conversation,
following
instructions,
extensive reading,
watching TV
The man and the mango tree
Learning from Output (S, W)
Opportunity to use
the words
Repetition
Attention to
vocabulary, accuracy,
and appropriateness.
Focus on
communicating
messages
Say/shout the word first-
Playing Cards
Turn the card over and the first player to say/shout the
corresponding word collects that card

PLAYING CARDS -
OUTPUT

FORUM VOL 48/4 2010, P. 28


Language-Focused (Deliberate)
Learning
Looking for patterns, dictionary work
Vocabulary strategies
Word cards
Intensive reading
Focus on vocabulary and aspects of grammar
and discourse features, while learner get to
practice language-learning strategies.
Fluency (speed + skill)
All 4 skills
Use known words & grammar
Encourage lots of use
Time pressure to perform faster
Focus on communicating a message as they'd
have to in real life,

Tell ------ - Dice game


4/3/2
Sit in groups of 4
Role the dice. The highest number starts
Take turns asking each other questions. e.g. you roll 6, the
person to your left says, tell me 6 things about yourself
Then person who asked the question rolls the dice and
continues like this.

VOCABULARY DICE
GAME FLUENCY
Vocab Dice Game - examples
English words
1 thing about yourself
2 things about your family
3 things about your best friend
4 things about your hobbies
5 things you wish you had
6 of your favorite movies
4 things about money, food, restaurants, things you like to do
Adjectives that describe you
Your favorite website
Reasons why you like Facebook
How you plan to make money
Favorite childhood memories
What are you good at
How Should We Teach Vocabulary?

Focus on important words


General Service List, Academic Word List

Give simple, clear explanations & translation


as needed

Use concept-checking questions to check


meaning

Provide repetition over time


Teaching Problem (1)
Teacher: The new word is important.
The stress is on the second syllable. OK,
repeat important
Silence
Learner: What means?
Teacher: OK just repeat important

appraisal
(Thaine, 2010)
Teaching Problem (2)
Teacher: OK, our 12th new word for
today: who knows what we call someone
whose job it is to take care of a building?
Teaching Problem (3)
Teacher: So here on the board is the new
word Ive written up wallet. So what
does it mean?

leverage

The player's popularity has given him a


great deal of leverage with the owners of
the team.
Teaching Problem (4)
Teacher: Right, the word is jump. For
example: He likes to jump.

Foliage

The foliage was think and I couldnt see the


sun.
Teaching Problem (5)
Sissors. Does everyone understand the
meaning of this word?
(Silence)
Teacher: Do you understand? Anya?
Learner:Yes.

peripheral
SOME TEACHING
TECHNIQUES
The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights

IDENTIFYING WORDS
WE KNOW
Lexical Sets
A cluster or group of related words
Words can be related in several ways
By topic: furniture, clothes, family
relationships
In pairs opposites: hot/cold, old/new
In pairs synonyms: slip/slide,
booklet/brochure
By superordinate: FRUIT
Hyponym of FRUIT: orange, apple, banana,
kiwi
Word families: paint, painter, painting
Things that are cold
Things that are boring
Opposites
Example:
hot/cold
old/new
Word families
KNOW: knowledge, knowing, known, knowledgeable
ACCURATE
FRIEND
POLITE
HAPPY
Adjectives
beautiful
Phrasal verbs
get up
Idioms
piece of cake
brainstorm
Why are lexical sets important?
We probably dont store words in our
brain in alphabetical order like a
dictionary does.
Memory: We apparently store words in or
brain in groups of related words (or
lexical sets)
If a new word can be hooked to words
which are already stored, it might be
easier to remember it
Word Associations
Cough Blue
Grass Pepper
Red Tea
Salt Kitten
Puppy Sneeze
coffee Green

Connect the matching


words
Collocations words that co-
occur with high frequency
Grammatical Lexical
Reason for Spend money
Account for Inflict a wound
Rely on Dense fog
By accident Deeply absorbed
In retrospect Dead fatigued?

Thematically related
VOCABULARY
DEVELOPMENT
STRATEGIES
Extensive ((joyful) reading
Read constantly! The more you see new
words used in context, the more you will
be able to recognize, spell and use them.

Is one way to become familiar with low-


frequency words
Using Context
To guess words in context, one must know
95% of the words in the text, i.e. 19 out of
20 words.

Knowing 98% (one unknown word in 50) is


considered an independent reading level

Since there is no time like the present, he


thought it was time to present the present.

(Laufer, 1989; Nation & Waring, 1997)


Prefixes and Root words
Many academic words have Latin or Greek roots so if
you understand the prefix and root meaning, you can
often guess the word meaning.

For example:
Sub = under
Marine = water

Submarine = a boat that can dive under the ocean

Word Building
Selective Dictionary Use

1. Do I need the word? Can I understand the text


without it? Is it a word I may find valuable later?
2. Does the context help?
3. Do the word parts help?
4. Does it help to pronounce it? Does it sound like
a word that I know?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com
http://www.dictionary.com
Academic Vocabulary
Academic vocabulary must be taught simply
because it does not occur in daily interactions
and conversational exchanges

Academic Word List (most frequent university academic


words across several disciplines)
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlis
t/
Practice with Academic Words

Accurate Emphasis
Attach Estimate
Analyze Injure
Conclude Predict
Reluctant Rational
Define Relax
Display Relevant
Economy
Find your match
Effective Strategies
SPACED REPETITION
Review words learned 2 weeks ago, 1 week ago, 2
days ago, yesterday

REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW

FLASHCARDS
FLASHCARDS
FLASHCARDS
Convincing students to be independent
learners, responsible for their own
vocabulary learning represents the single
most effective teaching strategy.

(Hinkle, Tesol 2009)


VOCABULARY WEBSITES
Vocabulary Activities
Learning vocabulary can be fun
http://www.vocabulary.co.il/

200 vocabulary exercises


http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/200/vocab/index.htm

Interactive vocabulary games


http://pbskids.org/arthur/games/unmatching/index.html
http://esl.fis.edu/vocab/index-fp.htm

Interactive puzzles
http://vlc.polyu.edu.hk/XWord/xword.htm

Dictionary.com
http://dictionary.reference.com/
VOCABULARY ACTIVITIES
Vocabulary quizzes/activities
http://www.geocities.com/pccprep/qz.htm#vocab

Interactive vocabulary matching exercises


http://www.eslbears.homestead.com/matching.html

Vocabulary and grammar activities


http://english-zone.com/index.php

Vocabulary and other activities for young learners


http://www.abcteach.com/sitemap.htm

Vocabulary website from Ohio University


http://www.ohiou.edu/esl/english/vocabulary.html
Word Lists & Frequency Lists

General Service Word List (most


frequent 2000+ words)
http://jbauman.com/aboutgsl.html
Academic Word List (most frequent
university academic words across
several disciplines)
www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/research/awl/

http://www.uefap.com/vocab/select/awl.htm
(Coxheads Academic Word List)
Refererences
Crandall, J. & Bickel, B. Whats in a Word?
The Importance of Vocabulary & Some Ways to Teach It presentation
(UMBC)
Davies, P. & Pearse, E. (2006). Success in English Teaching. Oxford.
Decarrico, J.S. (2001) Vocabulary Learning and Teaching. In Teaching
English as a Second or Foreign Language, 3rd ed., edited by M. Celce-
Murcia. Heinle.
Hinkle, E. Teaching Academic Vocabulary and Helping Students Retain It.
TESOL 2009, Denver, CO.
Nation, P. (2005). Teaching Vocabulary. Asian ELT Journal
Nunan, D. (2003). Practical English Language Teaching. McGraw Hill.
Thaine, C. (2010). Teacher Training Essentials. Cambridge
Zimmerman, C. (2009). Word Knowledge. Oxford.
Zimmerman, C. (2011). Academic Vocabulary and School Success
presented at the 2011 TESOL Academy.