Good Practice in teaching vocabulary

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If you’re on Twitter, join the next #CdnELTchat on Tuesday, June 25th. Here is a summary of the June 4th chat compiled by Bonnie Nicholas

On June 4, 2019, the #CdnELTchat community brought their best and briefest words to talk about good practice in teaching vocabulary. We chose good practice over best practice because what is best can change and can depend on context. Agree? Disagree? Tweet your comments using the #CdnELTchat hashtag.

Here are some brief highlights of the tweets for each question:

Q1. What does it mean for students to learn or know a word? What strategies do your students use to consolidate this knowledge?

  • form(s), meaning, use, pronunciation, collocations, colligations, connotation, context, register, theme, frequency, grammar, lexical chunks, pragmatics, regularity

Q2. What does the teaching of vocabulary look like in your classroom?

What informs your decisions to teach specific vocabulary?

Would you describe your approach to teaching vocabulary as more structured or more eclectic? 

  • principled eclecticism
  • thinking about receptive and productive tiered vocabulary
  • strategies, modeling, scaffolding, interleaving
  • realia, surrender value, back to the well

Q3. What are some quick and engaging ways to review vocabulary in class?

  • lead-in phrases
  • Quizlet, vocabulary cards or notebooks

Q4. What websites or tools do you use with your students to help them learn vocabulary? 

Q5. How do you utilize word lists, like GSL or AWL, or concepts, like tiered vocabulary? 

How do you  create vocabulary activities based on corpus analysis?

  • always in context
  • Think about receptive vs productive vocabulary

If you’re on Twitter, you can follow a Twitter chat by searching for #CdnELTchat hashtag, but we’ve also collected the relevant tweets. All the questions and answers have been collected in this summary on Wakelet

We collect questions and comments for each chat on this Padlet. There are always more questions than we can discuss in an hour-long chat, so we are sharing these extra questions for self-reflection or for tweeting your thoughts using the hashtag #CdnELTchat.   

  • How do you encourage vocabulary acquisition outside of class?
  • What are some misconceptions regarding the teaching or learning of vocabulary?
  • What have you found to be effective when teaching vocabulary? What have you found to be ineffective when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do you tackle spelling  when teaching vocabulary?
  • How do changes in society impact our teaching of vocabulary? (#SOGIE, #reconciliation, #settler, #Fakenews, etc. ) 

And our favourite final question, which we almost never have time to use:

  • What are you going to do differently as a result of our chat?  

If you’re new to Twitter or curious about how a Twitter chat works, you can check out this post on the BC TEAL blog, How to join a Twitter chat. The #CdnELTchat community on Twitter is always helpful, and the #CdnELTchat team can also answer questions. Just tweet or DM any of us: Augusta (@ELTAugusta), Bonnie (@EALstories), and Jennifer (@jennifermchow), or Svetlana (@StanzaSL).


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