a poster created 2 preteach vocabulary for ‘Waiting for the Police’ by Farjeon
I believe one of the most difficult areas of teaching English is teaching vocabulary. Students, often aware of the need for more words to express themselves, never give much importance on learning the words. They tend to focus on the grammar more. In my exams, vocabulary questions are usually not answered correctly or fully. They sometimes say, they know the meaning of the words but cannot use them in sentences or they cannot insert them into the correct gaps.
I think this is mainly because they memorize the words and the definitions instead of learning or using them in meaningful contexts. Although I advise them to do so, it is often difficult to beat the habits that are formed long ago. Another reason that makes learning vocabulary difficult is the mother tongue. If the mother tongue is completely different from the foreign language the obstacles becomes bigger. Yet this is still a problem that can be overcome, so here are some ideas
· Teach words in context
· Focus on active vocabulary
· Brainstorm ideas. Prepare word clouds.
· Make associations. Play games with associations.
· Ask concept questions to make sure they understand the word
· Prepare exercises focusing on concept questions
· Teach words in chunks
· Teach collocations
· Teach prefixes and suffixes
· Teach how to use verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns. (unfortunately they even don’t know the difference in their mother tongue which makes our jobs more difficult)
· Ask them to draw. I usually ask them to illustrate the idioms and ask them to write a situation where the expression or the idiom is used. Display them on the walls.
· Prepare word posters from the words they have to learn. Display on classroom walls and ask them to write their own stories with some of the words from the poster, then give the exercise you prepared for them.
· Prepare puzzles or ask them to prepare puzzles for their friends.
· Play vocab games with the words that are displayed on the walls.
· Make them use dictionaries, online dictionaries
An idea from a student of mine:
watch series or movies with English subtitles with a notebook.
jot down any interesting word or expression in the notebook
watch it again and try to use whenever you have the opportunity
And below you will find great links and books to inspire you while teaching vocabulary:
vocabulary actıvıtıes from ReadingResource.Net
Esl vocabulary games from eslgamesworld
How to teach Vocabulary by Scott Thornbury, Longman
English Vocabulary in Use series by Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell, Stuart Redman, CUP
Vocabulary by John Morgan and Mario Rinvolucri, OUP