Teaching Vocabulary

Teaching Vocabulary
The importance of vocabulary teaching.
Vocabulary knowledge is the basic component of language skills like reading and speaking.
Knowing a word in a foreign language means knowing how to use it productievely and having the ability to RECALL IT for active use.
It means knowing the LIKELIHOOD OF ENCOUNTERNING the word in either spoken or written contexts or in both
It means knowing the SYNTACTIC FRAMES into which the word can be slotted and the underlying forms and derivations which can be made from it.
It also means knowing the RELATIONS IT CONTRACTS with other words
It also means knowing words AS PART OF FIXED EXPRESSIONS conveniently memorized to repeat - and adapt - as the occasion arises.
Overview of theoretical explanation techniques
Visual techniques
While reading the definition of a word, try to PICTURE IT IN YOUR HEAD.
While imagening the picture for a few seconds the learner should
SAY THE WORD TO HIMSELF. [Some words are easier to visualize than others. Therefore this technique works best with "concrete" objects.]
One technique for abstract words like "truth" would be ELABORATION". It is effective
for words that correspond to concrete objects.
Verbal techniques
Definitions and illustrative sentences
Words should be explained in the foreign language so learners have the
possibility of contextualization.
More than one situation or context should be used to describe the new word.
Sample sentences should be used to show how the new word is used.
This technique should rely on exercises which will help students not only practice the vocabulary but ENRICH it.
Synonyms and Antonyms
Very good because it USES KNOWN VOCABULARY.
Good with low level students because the teacher has to restrict the length and complexity of his explanation.
Explanations of contrasts and opposites
Students can use this techniques by themselves by asking each other
"What's the opposite of ..."
They can try to explain the meaning and the use of a foreign word in the foreign language itself.
Translation
Saves times.
VERY EFFECTIVE way of CONVEYING MEANING. It may not always convey the exact sense of an item,
but neither do English synonyms or definitions in some occasions.
Unfortunately, it IS OVERUSED by teachers, which can cause a lot of NEGATIVE EFFECTS, such as:
lexical and grammatical errors (because the word is not learned in its natural context.
Forgetting words by a lack of practising which would appear in natural ways in explanations, synonyms, antonyms and definitions.
Fear of texts in the native language because everything is translated into the mother-tongue.
Slower development of listening skills
Student centered learning
The main principles are: learner has full responsibility, INVOLVEMENT and PARTICIPATION are necessary,
realtionship between learners are MORE EQUAL -> promotes growth, the teacher becomes a FACILITATOR and RESOURCE PERSON
Asking others
Students should ASK others to explain the meaning of an item or VICE VERSA,
MAKE THE CONTEXT CLEAR so that the listener can PROVIDE THEM WITH THE WORD they are looking for.
Teacher needs to TEACH THIS STRATEGY (by asking the class as they should do it)
Because the learners learn without the teacher having a direct impact he has to MONITOR
CAREFULLY to clarify meaning, pronunciation, etc. He may well decide to have a FINAL FEEDBACK
SESSION with the class to ensure that the activity has been effective in supplying accurate information
Using dictionaries
Good if no teacher is around. It can also help continuing learning outside the classroom.
Dictionaries teach students phonemic scripts and stress marking
[Is this really used by teachers/pupils?]
It takes long to look up words in a dictionary and more proficient learners benefit less from dictionary use.
Looking up words maybe be quicker and easier online, but it can become so efortless
that it may decrease vocabulary retention [Einbehaltung].
Using a dictionary more than necessary leads to an inefficient use of study time
and less retention of words looked up
Dictionaries should be used for learners when reading a text
above their level to reach the comprehension.
Contextual guesswork (making use of the CONTEXT)
Knowledge of WORD FORMATION, e.g. PREFIXES and SUFFIXES
can also help students to discover meaning.
Students can learn special techniques like finding DISCOURSE MARKERS and identifying
the function of the word in the sentence (is it a verb, adjective or noun?)
Still students have different skills and some might have problems with this task (anspruchsvoll, siehe Bachmann).
Contextual guesswork should not be introduced into the lession at a time when other skills are being developed.
Semantic Map
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