This is hopefully the first of a series of weekly blogs that I'm using as part of some action research looking at teaching vocabulary in fluid contexts, where students are constantly coming and going. I'm using this blog to record a 'critical incident' of the week and hopefully to get comments, ideas, and opinions from other teachers about how they teach vocabulary in the classroom. Please feel free to post a comment after reading!
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OK, so last week our topic was money and shopping. Lots of great, useful vocabulary came up that the students could immediately use outside of the classroom.
My critical incident this week was asking the students to write definitions of phrasal verbs that they had in a listening text and then passing the definitions from one group to another for the students to match up. The first part of this worked really well, the students seemed really engaged in working out the possible meanings of the phrasal verbs from the context. The second part also worked well, and gave us scope to discuss the subtle differences between the definitions that the students had come up with, e.g. more general versus more specific definitions.
I felt that the students had a much better grasp of the meaning and uses of these phrasal verbs compared with another vocabulary exercise that they did where they had to match the word with the definition. Trying to encourage the students to look at the context (on a different page to the match up exercise) to work out the definition became quite laborious for the students and frustrating for me! I felt this was quite a contrast to the first activity above, where the students had more control over the definitions/interpretations and were much more cognitively engaged.
Finally, I've been using back to the board to review the vocabulary from the previous lessons, which is a great activity that the students seem to enjoy (and get quite competitive over!) but I was wondering if anyone had any other favourite activities that they use to review vocabulary?
Please feel free to post any comments, ideas, and opinions of similar or different experiences that you've come across when teaching vocabulary in your own classrooms and other ideas for reviewing vocabulary would be much appreciated!
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