How to Teach Vocabulary Words

Two Methods:Whole class and groupsUsing questions and cues

Learning new vocabulary, whether it's your native language, or a foreign language, can seem tedious for the student and challenging for the teacher. Yet, there are ways to help students gain knowledge of vocabulary quickly within the classroom context, and it's good to try different ways to see which work best for your students.

Method 1
Whole class and groups

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    Introduce the topic indirectly. You can do this by telling Story, Situation, Gesture or Real Object.
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    Elicit the topic. Ask questions of the students.
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    Spell it out. Have a student spell out the vocabulary words and write these down on the board.
    • Correction should take at the same time, but such corrections should be by students only. If needed, then you can step in, but only when it's clear no student will do so.
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    Pronounce the words three times.
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    Let the whole class to pronounce the word.
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    Divide the class in two. Divide them into parts group A and group B.
    • Group A repeats; group B must be silent.
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    • Group B repeats; group A must be silent.
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    Ask for the words individually from random students.
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    Discuss the meaning of the words.
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    Limit the time for students to write down the words in their notebooks. Limitation of time is important to help them remember quickly.
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    Practice. You can practice the words by examples or your own way with the students.

Method 2
Using questions and cues

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    Present the vocabulary.
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    Create the need to learn the new word through simple questions. For example, ask "what is this?", "do you know what this word means?".
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    Introduce the word in a model sentence.
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    Isolate it for pronunciation.
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    Have the students repeat the model sentence.
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    Test the student's understanding and use of the new word. Give cues (questions, context) to which students respond:
    • Teacher: How did the man look at me? He looked at suspiciously.
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    • Teacher: I can hear some noise in the classroom. But, I don't know who is making it. I think it is coming from there. (Point) How am I looking?
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    Verify the students' comprehension and use of the word. Have the students provide their own examples. The teacher helps the students by providing a context if necessary.
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    Write using the new word or words to clarify for the whole class.
    • Write one or two of the students' best and clearest sentences on the board.
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    • Students read those sentences and copy them down in their copybooks.
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    Repeat with new words. It can be fun to build up a hope of having one's own sentences written on the board at the end, as a reward for the effort.

Tips

  • Don't frustrate your student during the teaching; it demotivates them and decreases the possibility they'll have the courage to ask you questions.
  • Always be prepared to ask students for their own ideas.
  • If learning a foreign language, make a rule in your class that there is no other language allowed then the one being taught.
  • You do not need to always talk and have the student listen. Have your students talk to you too, letting them say everything they know about the topic.
  • While teaching vocabulary to your students, talk to them freely about any word or sentence.

Article Info

Categories: Creating Lesson Plans