Teach English in Jialuo Zhen - Aba Zangzu Qiangzu Zizhizhou —

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1. The importance of teaching and learning vocabulary. From my point of view, vocabulary represents one of most important skills necessary for teaching and learning a foreign language. It is the basis for the development of all the other skills: reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, writing, spelling and pronunciation. Vocabulary is the main tool for the students in their attempt to use English effectively. Vocabulary is the knowledge of words and word meanings. Vocabulary knowledge is not something that can ever be fully mastered; it is something that expands and deepens over the course of a lifetime. Instruction in vocabulary involves far more than looking up words in a dictionary and using the words in a sentence, wide or extensive independent reading to expand word knowledge. Not surprisingly, vocabulary development is especially important for English-language learners. Poor vocabulary is a serious issue for these students. English language learners who have deficits in their vocabulary are less able to comprehend text at grade level than their English. 2. What should be taught when teaching a vocabulary item? Selecting what to teach, based on frequency and usefulness to the needs of your particular students is therefore essential. Once you have chosen what to teach, the next important steps are to consider what students need to know about the items, and how you can teach them. What a student may need to know about a vocabulary item? • The meaning It is vital to get across the meaning of the item clearly and to ensure that your students have understood correctly with checking questions. • The form Students need to know if it is a verb / a noun / an adjective … to be able to use it effectively. • How it is pronounced This can be particularly problematic for learners of English because there is often no clear relation between how a word is written and how it is pronounced. It is very important to use the phonemic script in such cases so they have a clear written record of the pronunciation. When teaching pronunciation, a teacher has to pronounce the words clearly and slowly and ask students to listen carefully and look at the teacher’s shape of mouth. • How it is spelt • If it follows any unpredictable grammatical patterns • The connotations that the item may have • The situations when the word is or is not used • How the word is related to others • Collocation or the way that words occur together • What the affixes (the prefixes and suffixes) may indicate about the meaning. 3. How to teach a vocabulary item? We all know that although it is important for students to use correct grammar and structures, words are the main carriers of meaning. This means that the more words students are able to handle accurately, the better their chances of understanding English and making themselves understood. Here are 3 effective ways to teach vocabulary: Noticing and understanding new words - Introducing nouns, things, objects, animals, etc…: try to go beyond flashcards and illustrations, use real objects whenever possible, or even sounds, smells, and tastes. - Introducing adjectives: usually illustrated with pictures, the use of real life objects. - Introducing abstracts: synonyms, definitions, substitutions, or simply placing students within a given context. Recognizing new words - Bingo: make bingo cards with illustrations, and call out each word, or make the cards with words, then draw the flashcards from a bag, or make cards with the definition and call out the words, or vice versa. - Matching: Another type of exercise with countless possibilities. Students may be required to match opposites, synonyms, or a word with its definition, as well as a picture to a word. - Fill in the blanks (with options): Hand out a piece of written text (anything from a description, song, letter, to even a short story) with blank spaces that must be filled in from a list of words Producing vocabulary - Descriptions: give students some guidance, like indicating that they have to use at least five adjectives in their description, or five words related to sports, weather, etc. - Fill in the blanks (no options): Supply students with a piece of written text with blank spaces that have to be filled in with any word that fits. - Mind maps or brainstorming: Tell students they need to think of words they can use to describe the topic. Use songs and music, real life objects, or puzzles, but the more you mix the better. Remember the difference between recognizing and producing words: to practice recognition the words have to be supplied by the teacher; then students use them to fill in blanks or match them. For students to effectively and accurately produce vocabulary, they have to spontaneously recall the words. ***Some important notes when teaching vocabulary: • Review the vocabulary you teach through a game or activity and encourage your students to do the same at home. • Encourage autonomy in your learners. Tell them to read, watch films, listen to songs and note the useful words. • Have a section of your board for vocabulary items that come up as you are teaching. • Teach words with associated meanings together. • Encourage students to purchase a good dictionary and use class time to highlight the benefits of one. • Teach students the grammatical names for the parts of speech and the phonemic script. • Always keep a good dictionary by your side in case a student asks about a word you don't know. • If you don't and have never heard of the word, tell the student you will check and get back to them. Do get back to them. • Give extra examples sentences to the students if they are unsure and encourage them to write the word in an example sentence (maybe for homework). In conclusion, vocabulary is the most required skill when learning a foreign language. It is on vocabulary that all the other skills, reading, writing, speaking, and listening are based and developed. Therefore, teaching vocabulary is not just about words; it involves lexical phrases and knowledge of English vocabulary.