Greetings from eslactivities.com! In this edition of our newsletter, I wanted to share with you a book that I have found very useful in my own teaching. Written by Tamara Jones, a vocabulary expert and a good friend of mine, this book is an excellent addition to any teacher's resource library.
Vocabulary is the foundation of successful language learning. Research shows that students learn the most easily when they are interested and having fun. Games and activities that engage students, whether they are adults or children, will help them create stronger memories and store these memories for longer. This book is divided into five sections and provides 50 ideas (plus one bonus tip!) for helping your students learn and remember vocabulary. Photos and downloadable worksheets are included. Most of the ideas can be used for both beginning and advanced classes. Many require little to no preparation or special materials. The ideas can be used with any textbook, or without a textbook at all. These short, practical guides aim to make your teaching life easier, and your students' lives more rewarding and successful.
Here is an example of one of the tips in the book:
Sell the Vocabulary
Tell students why they should make an effort to learn the target words. Research proves that the biggest motivation for students to remember vocabulary is that they will use it in the future. So, spend a few minutes explaining that the words will be useful in a particular context, like the grocery store, a marketing meeting, or their biology class.
Sometimes your class textbook does this for you. Nowadays, many textbook authors carefully base their vocabulary selection on corpus linguistics databases or word lists that reveal which vocabulary is important and useful for learners to master. Drawing students' attention to this can provide motivation for them.
If you have compiled the vocabulary list yourself, it can be very helpful to explicitly explain to your learners why you have chosen those words in particular. That means it is important to make conscious and deliberate choices about which words will be worth your students' time to learn.
Always be alert for concrete examples of how what you are teaching will be useful to their lives outside of your class, and point these out. The better you sell the words, the more likely the students are to extend the effort to learn them!
This is a great book and makes a great gift! Check it out!
Live Polling for Increased Student Engagement
If you are teaching during the pandemic, you have likely struggled with keeping students engaged during lessons. I know I have. One way that I have found to keep students engaged during lessons is to have them participate in live-polling activities. I ask a question related to content we've just covered in class, and I can easily see who has understood and who needs more instruction. I love to use live polling when teaching vocabulary. In one of my classes, I would assign a list of words for the students to study, and then before beginning new instruction on the following day, I would give the students a quiz using Socrative, my favorite live-polling app. It was very easy to see which words the students had learned and which ones they hadn't, so I knew if I needed to spend some more time on specific words before moving on to new content. I have a blog post that demonstrates how live polling using Socrative works and some of the things you can do with it. Please take a look!
That's all for this edition! Thank you for reading and for using eslactivities.com!