Articles on vocabulary

Discover a broad range of ideas on teaching vocabulary and different vocabulary types in our articles below.

Lexical notebooks or vocabulary cards?

Few would doubt that students should leave a lesson with some kind of transcript of it: be it a notebook or, if technology allows, pages from an Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB) emailed to your students – in order to be able to go over the material covered in class.

Vocabulary and autonomy

This article looks at ways to improve your students' abilities to both explore, store and use vocabulary.

Revising lexis: quality or quantity?

This article discusses how much attention language teachers should pay to vocabulary acquisition research, particularly with regard to repeated encounters with lexical items.

Grammar vs lexis or grammar through lexis?

In this article, informed by the Lexical Approach, I reflect on grammar instruction in the classroom, including my own teaching, and make suggestions on how it can be 'lexicalised'. I consider the problems with 'traditional' grammar teaching before arguing that what we actually need is more grammar input as well as showing how lexis can provide necessary 'crutches' for the learner.

Goodbye game

This activity is great for last lessons of a course, but could be used in other contexts too. It is influenced by an idea from Headway Pre-Intermediate.

Same as the teacher?

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.

Vanishing Dialogue

This activity practises language of ordering food in a restaurant although this can be adapted for any scenario. It's a great way to consolidate the language and recycle the vocabulary.

Milestones in ELT - a series of classic ELT texts from the British Council

As part of the British Council’s 75th anniversary celebrations, a number of publications are being re-launched online, previously only available in print.

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Gap fill poems

I like to use this activity to introduce poetry into the classroom and to raise learners' awareness of the beauty and fun to be had with poetry. It can also be used to practise learners' pronunciation.

The noun phrase

For too long now the verb phrase has been the dominant focus of attention in course books, syllabuses, and teacher training programmes.

British and American English

This activity is designed to be used when teaching or practising the difference between British and American English vocabulary.

Same as the teacher?

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.

Vanishing Dialogue

This activity practises language of ordering food in a restaurant although this can be adapted for any scenario. It's a great way to consolidate the language and recycle the vocabulary.

New words in English

New words enter the English language all the time - the exact number is uncertain but there are thousands appearing every year.

Lexical exploitation of texts

Reading and listening texts are often used in the ELT classroom to practise receptive skills and / or as the introduction to a topic or language point.

The perfect teacher

The aims of this activity are for students to revise and practise open question forms.

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