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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > How to teach vocabulary    

How to teach vocabulary


How to teach vocabulary
Hello to  all,
I need your opinions about teaching vocabulary. This term I changed my school and there are 6 more teachers of English at this school. They make the students write each word 5 times. Now I ´m confused because I ´ve never used such kind of technique and students are always asking me "teacher won ´t we write the whole vocabulary 5 times?" As there are teachers from all over the world here, I wanted to ask you about this situation. Do you do the same thing? and what do you think about it? Please share your ideas. Important for me because all the others do it at my school now. Thank you

20 Feb 2018      

United Kingdom

It sounds very time consuming to me and a waste of teaching time! Or is this just what they are recommending the students do at home? And if they are just copying, are they learning? What I do, but it ´s just for correcting spellings is, ´Look, cover, write, check. ´  Another method for assisting learning of vocabulary is to have a grid where they put the new word in the middle and then complete various boxes ´ definition ´, ´diagram ´ ´synonym ´ ´antonym ´ something like that, so they are mind mapping the word. 
A member on here Zdenda, put some great vocabulary learning stuff on here from her website a while back. Her website wasn ´t reachable just now, but if anybody can remember that link, that might be helpful to you.  

20 Feb 2018     


I used to do a weekly vocabulary test and ask pupils to write out a word 5 times only if they got it wrong on the test. That could be a compromise. It ´s worth talking to your colleagues to see if this is school policy or just the way they ´ve always done it.

20 Feb 2018     


Writing the vocabulary 5 times teaches students how to write the new words properly but it doesn ´t help them learn their meaning much. In this sense it is not a useless thing to do however, it is very boring for students. It is not a rule. You can decide for yourself. 

20 Feb 2018     


If they are young learners, I use a lot of flash cards and play different games with them. They children also make their own picture dictionary. They draw the new words and then write the names. They never forget them again. Of course it is also time consuming, but I think it is worse the time spent.

For older students I use cross words. 

21 Feb 2018     


I actually do this with my primary students, but they write the words only 3 times! I teach them the how to do it in Challenge mode, otherwise they will just copy it and get bored! So the 1st time they will copy it, then cover and try the 2nd time on their own, uncover to check, cover again and write it for the 3rd time. I preteach this method in class but ask them to do this at home, for it is very timeconsuming. Since they are very young students, writing at a different pace (often slow) and usually still dealing with difficulties in their own mother tongue, I feel this has been a fairly good strategy, helping them to consolidate writing and the memory of that word. Drawing a picture, whenever possible helps a lot too.
Crosswords and wordsearches are great! I had a colleague that offered her young learners not just 1 wordsearchbut a party of 5-6, one at a time, and they loved it! Really helps attention and concentration!

21 Feb 2018