Is there a perfect method of teaching vocabulary?

Is there a perfect method of teaching vocabulary?

Reflective Diary submitted by Dominic, Madrid.


Is there a perfect method of teaching vocabulary?
By definition, there is no perfect way to teach vocabulary because people learn in different ways. A simplified explanation is VARK leaning styles, visual, audio, reading/writing and kinaesthetic. Nevertheless I have witnessed students employing flawed methods and successful techniques.

As a general rule, taking note of new vocabulary and making lists are arguably very important to the expansion of vocabulary but it is necessary to apply both context and repetition to ensure full retention. It is beneficial to view and understand words or expressions in context but also consolidate that learning by using them. Employing words or expressions in conversation and written texts to be marked by teachers, will help to receive feedback and ensure word has been understood when it has multiple meanings.

Visual learners often benefit from the use of colour in resources. For example: composing or viewing vocabulary lists and separating words between languages or splitting them into categories. Seeing words or sentences can help spatial learners retain information, seeing posters or signs. Some people label objects in their house with the word in their target language. This is a recommendation I often provide to students: covering a word in their target language and trying to remember from a vocabulary list, the equivalent word in English.

Aural learners are more successful at learning new vocabulary when they hear it. Finding listening comprehension resources can be an effective way of reinforcing learnt vocabulary and hearing it in context. This could be achieved by use of the radio, TV, language learning websites or generally spending time with other English people and listening to their use of English. Other media such as podcasts can be highly beneficial because they are numerous, many are free and it’s easy to find podcasts from different stores, online platforms and choose a subject that a student finds interesting.

Students who learn more easily by reading and writing tend to benefit from written comprehension exercises and the use of learnt vocabulary integrated and contextualised into a text. Additionally, copying words or creating and writing sentences can reinforce learning and increase retention. Generally, finding extracts or texts from the press or literature can introduce students to new vocabulary and show them their usage in a written context and speaking about it or writing about it is conducive to ensuring an accurate understanding of new vocabulary.

Finally, kinaesthetic learners tend to find physical activities tasks more effective in regards to the intake of new vocabulary. As such, hand-on approaches foster the learning of vocabulary more efficiently than would other methods that other types of learners. Learning outside of the classroom and going on field trips, using senses to associate their feel with vocabulary works well.



Works cited:

  • http://vark-learn.com/