Teaching vocabulary is indeed more challenging than learning vocabulary. One of the biggest myths that people who teach vocabulary hold is that they should have the dictionary by heart. That is not true! It is, of course, very difficult to accomplish or ask of anyone. So, relax, and bust all such myths that scare you.
Just like learning anything is a process that requires patience, teaching also requires the same. Although, one striking difference is that the effort that goes into teaching is more than learning. Not that one needs to know every word in the thesaurus. But, it is essential that they are able to draw references, learn to understand unknown words from a given context and make a continuous effort to learn & use new words.
Fret not, because we have some tips to help you teach vocabulary with ease. Once you step into a routine with help from these ideas, you will surely find it a much-needed pattern!
How to teach Vocabulary?
1. Inspire your students
A common problem is that students look at learning words as a subject. What needs to change is the mindset that we learn to clear examinations. Inspire your students to learn new words. Talk to them about how a vast vocabulary increases their quality of communication. It would inspire them to know that words have a lot to do with “talking,” and not just “learning.”
Show them videos of professionals who treasure a large vocabulary, and highlight the benefits of the same. Additionally, you can give them activities that challenge them to learn new words. Healthy competition is definitely one of the best motivators.
2. Teach words; repeat words
Most students lack a revision pattern after effectual teaching. To teach vocabulary is one thing; you pick a word, share everything about it, and make sure they make sentences. But constant bombarding with news words does not help. Students will learn one word, and forget the previous one. Which is why it is important to have regular repetitions of the previously learned words.
You could do this with the help of activities. For example, put the word on the board, and each student can share whatever they remember about it before learning a new word. In this manner, it becomes a collaborative and fun method of remembering new words. It is best to keep this a random practice, like a surprise. Don’t let your students anticipate the date of this activity.
3. Treasure Hunt Word Game
Treasure Hunt Word Game is a very original idea that we’d like to share with you. Sometimes, research is one way of learning. Give your class a particular topic, scene, or a piece of imagination. For example, you say the beachside. Students will take time to research and find all words related to the beachside, and they’ll share it with the class. Similarly, you can pick another topic for another month, such as the different branches of science, or the various ingredients of a particular country, etc.
Why is this one of the best ways to teach vocabulary? Because students will not sit through a class where a teacher speaks. They get to take the lead, which increases their will to do it. Somehow, it helps remember words learned through such activities as they would remember their effort involved.
Cover various such topics every once in a while to expand the student’s vocabulary. Specific learning makes learning more profound. They learn words belonging to one category, which makes drawing references in the future easier.
4. Make mistakes to teach right
When we say make mistakes, we’d like to clarify what we really mean. The idea here is to make “intentional mistakes.” Go through an entire class of committed purposive errors. Brief them that you are going to do that. They should listen intently, and mark where they think you went wrong. After a day, they can come back with the sentences where you used the wrong vocabulary.
Not every student will be able to catch every mistake. In this manner, they make the effort to take a look at the thesaurus. It is a fun way to teach vocabulary because once again, they step into the driver’s seat. When the discussion begins, they will take note of what the others have found. When they find mistakes, give them the opportunity to correct it. Voila! A word they will remember for a lifetime!
5. Add interesting visuals
Audiovisuals have a lot of impact on us today. Making attractive presentations or picture cards to learn new words is a great way to teach vocabulary. You could divide these cards with sections that contain a relevant picture, the grammar, the origin, some sentences, etc. What would help even more is if you could show them videos of people using those words in sentences.
Creating stories with those words, connecting several words in one story, or showing them movie clips with the new words are all effective methods.
6. Teach Vocabulary with space for creativity
Most students are creative in their own ways. When the class learns a set of new words over the week, allow them to revisit these with their creative skill sets. For example, one may write exceptionally well. So they could write a song with those words. When they use the words, they are automatically making sentences, which means they know the meanings. Some in the class could sing it, some could paint it, some could rap with it, and so on.
Teaching vocabulary does not have to have a classroom pattern. Rather, that is the last thing it needs. The more interesting the teaching methods, the more retention in students. When you teach vocabulary, make sure it is a two-way process. A learner’s equal involvement is necessary. But it could be a lot of fun when you use out of the box methods.
Some extra tips to teach vocabulary
Some other interesting things you can do for your students are:
- Ask them to make word cards (maybe five each), and circulate them among fellow students for a month. At the end of the month, they could all try and remember all of them. It is much like the memory game we played in our childhood.
- Give them challenges to write a story using the words they learn from their existing syllabus. It gives their innovation a good polish. Moreover, you, the teacher, will get access to their level of understanding those words.
- Teach practically. Learning words only using books could be boring for many. Visit places, and show them whatever best you can.
- As the teacher, stay updated with the latest words. It is a good idea to develop the practice of learning new words regularly yourself. You could refer to our article 10 Tips to Enhance Your Vocabulary for the same.