Why and How to Teach Collocations
It is accepted that choosing our words carefully in certain situations is more important than choosing grammatical structures.We cannot use structures correctly if we do not have enough vocabulary knowledge.Language consists of chunks that produce coherent texts when they are combined.
Here are some tips for teaching collocations:
- Make students aware of collocations. Students need to know that learning collocations is crucial for learning English, and noticing collocations is an important stage in learning.
- Teaching individual collocations. We should present collocations as we would present individual words. At higher levels, when students learn less common vocabulary items, they need to be made aware that some words are used in a very restricted number of collocations. Students also need to know how to use new vocabulary items, which makes it necessary to know about their collocational field and contexts in which they are used.
- Storing collocations. Students need to have an organized vocabulary journal to record collocations. They can organize their journals in different ways: grammatically, by common key word, by topic, etc. They can also make use of tables or spider-grams, which work well with visual learners. For example, students can record certain collocations under headings such as have/take/do or make.