TeachingEnglish
      Word learning techniques that worked (Part 2)

      Affective DepthAffective depth refers to making emotional judgments about the newly learned words to store and recall newly learned words more readily. (Think about students trying to memorize words-rote learning versus trying to associate some emotions). Sometimes I ask students to form small groups and discuss the words that we learned. Take the example course book unit on globalization.  . I give my students some guiding questions that they need to discuss in their group and then report to us:  “Which words in the unit represent globalization? Do these words evoke any pleasant or unpleasant associations?...etc. At first my students had difficult time understanding the rationale behind talking about the newly learned words. I explained that we are trying out some techniques to learn and recall words better. Later on it became routine and some students stated that it helped them. It was obviously more enjoyable and I overheard them sharing their own way and giving advice to each other about learning vocabulary.Use it or lose itI ask my students to bring their vocabulary notes/ journals/ notebooks into class every day and when we do an in or out class task I ask them (beg them) to use the newly learned words.RepetitionI try to provide repetitions of encounter with a word. E.g. After seeing a model, students prepare vocabulary exercises. After I do the editing collaborative end product would be ready for use.What works in your class?

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      Comments

      CoffeeAddict's picture
      CoffeeAddict
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 09:54

      We call it "recycling" at my school but it's like your "use it or lose it" + "repetition" techniques I guess. In the curriculum there is a vocabulary list for each year and this vocabulary is continuously "recycled" throughout the year. Whenever students write something or even speak, they are rewarded if they use words from the list and every quiz & test will have a vocabulary section where words from the list will pop up. This system works for us!

      Mike Le Prof's picture
      Mike Le Prof
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 10:12

      Fair point - it's sometimes rather difficult to make students learn and use some new vocabulary. At our university we also have some wordlists (incl. phrases) of active vocabulary. They have to use it very often as the textbooks are built on the usage of these units and teachers encourage them to use them. And of course there are credits and exams!Hoever, teaching vocabulary at schools is more difficult and you always have to motivate your ss. Nice point about giving additional points. I also like to use flashcards and bingos - these always work, and "recycling" works better in a game form.

      OxanaKhrushcheva's picture
      OxanaKhrushcheva
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 11:46

      Vocabulary practice is essential and it should be held in various forms.I constantly torture my imagination trying to invent new tasks to drill vocabulary my students have to learn.One of the methods I've discovered recently in MasterClass coursebook is "Looking for the most useful word on the list".My students are future teachers and the question I pose them is "Choose the word from the list that you'd definitely make your pupils memorize".They choose absolutely different words and while justifying why they've chosen this or that one others listen and memorize them as well. 

      evab2001's picture
      evab2001
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 15:27

      Dear AslıGreat compilation of ideas. Thanks for sharing :)After each unit, I tell my students to choose 10 words and create a vocab quiz. Then I collect their quizzes, choose some sentences and create a quiz from their work. They like to see their sentences on the quiz paper. Another favourite of ours this year is a quiz show called 'answer if you can'. The title came from a student.  At the end of each unit, they choose the words they loved, or they think they will use more and create a power point quiz show, sometimes with definitions, illustrations or gapped sentences. Then we compete.Cheers,Eva

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 20:56

      Hello, thanks a lot for your feedback.We also work with vocabulary lists. We make use of corpus and frequency lists.e.g. http://group.lextutor.ca/freq/eng/Just wanted to share...  

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 20:55

      I am a huge fan of flashcards as well. I often ask the students to prepare them. After editing they go to the "Word Bank". Thanks for sharing :)

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 21:05

      I loved the activity. I will give it a try. I can also ask additional questions such as : "which words can be removed form the list because you can guess them?" to get cognates and words having obvious prefixes (e.g. un-, dis) off the list. Thanks for the inspiration.

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 21:00

      I loved the activity. I will give it a try. I can also ask additional questions such as : "which words can be removed form the list because you can guess them?" to get cognates and words having obvious prefixes (e.g. un-, dis) off the list. Thanks for the inspiration.

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 21:01

      Dear Eva, you made me very happy with your kind words. Thanks a lot... :))

      asligokturk's picture
      asligokturk
      Submitted on 26 January, 2012 - 21:09

      I totally agree with your comment that recycling is effective when it is in the form of game. My students made a simple version of Taboo Game to be used in class (They prepared cards- each card has a word that you need to explain to others but there is a list taboo words and you can not use these words when you try to explain the target word). They resist to do homework- vocab worksheets with fill in the blanks but they actually sat down and did this!