EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: Acquiring Vocabulary Part 1


This is James Stakenburg, the Head of Teacher Training here at Rennert, sharing a way to structure your vocabulary lessons to facilitate acquisition.


James: So today I want to talk about acquiring vocabulary which is a key concept, obviously, in learning a language. There’s different ways that you can structure a vocabulary lesson, but one process that you could go through is these steps:

1. Gain the students’ attention. So, before you start the lesson have a catchy photo or something that they need to discuss or a picture or something like that.
2. Then, describe the goals for the lesson. I think it is really important to state the learning objectives, so the students know what they’re going to be able to do by the end of the lesson.
3. Then, try to stimulate or recall prior knowledge because you need to build the vocabulary from the existing knowledge that the students have.
4. Then, one step in this process is presenting the new vocabulary.
5. And then a really important step, I think, is to help teach the students strategies—learning strategies—to remember that vocabulary. Maybe it’s a mnemonic; maybe it’s a visual that you associate with something. Share different ways that you have of remembering that vocabulary and teach the students how to learn it.
6. Then of course there is practice…
7. …giving feedback on the practice…
8. …assessing their performance…
9. …and then some kind of transfer activity. You put them in a different situation, so that they can use the vocabulary in different concepts.


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