EDUCATION

TECHNIQUES AND STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE LINGUISTIC VOCABULARY

TECHNIQUES AND STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE LINGUISTIC VOCABULARY
Written by Madhuri Boinwad

Linguistic and communicative competence, linked to the integrated development of listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills, is also and above all based on learning and enriching the linguistic vocabulary. The teaching of the lexicon is placed in a relationship of close connection with the development of communicative competence, in which language is seen essentially as a communication tool, therefore from the point of view of use and not only of the analysis of its meaning.

The texts in which the words are contained are carefully chosen. The keywords are inserted in dialogues that represent real communication contexts, in letters or e-mails, and structured and semi-structured exercises that help focus attention both on the content and its use in the spoken language. Here are a few:

  • Matching (associating the word with its content, with its synonym or opposite, with its translation);
  • Fill in the blank (exercise where you have to fill in the empty spaces by choosing the right word among those given);
  • Multiple choice (the student chooses the right definition for the word);
  • Cloze test is an exercise consisting of a piece of text where some words are missing. The student must enter the missing words or possibly the appropriate synonyms).
  • Complete the sentences (the student must use the new words to complete the sentences)
  • Word-Puzzle (the student has to find the given words in a word-puzzle and can move both horizontally and vertically and diagonally)
  • Crosswords (an exercise that helps to relate concepts to the right words)

For these types of exercises, you can visit spellquiz.com.

There is the possibility for both teachers and students to create their own word puzzles and crosswords in a really simple and immediate way. Thanks to spelling words for grade 10, the same students can have fun creating their own by sharing them with classmates. 

Words and storytelling: To memorize new words, students can associate them with small funny stories or episodes that are particularly meaningful to them.

In fact, always taking advantage of their imagination, you can invite them to associate new words with funny and strange little stories to invent: to remember words like to cook, to prepare, kitchen, etc., you can imagine a cat preparing lunch for his family. Word images of this kind may remain more etched in our students’ long-term memory than the simple and sterile mnemonic exercise.

Words and Topics: When teaching words, it is also very useful to create links with other words they already know or associate words with related verbs. This is why it is often effective to learn the vocabulary by theme/category: family, sport, travel, food, entertainment, environment, etc. the mind maps allow you to organize and store in a clear format and the new information. In making a map mind it is of great help to use different colors, symbols, and images to differentiate the importance of the word and to use capital letters for the keywords and lowercase for those associated with it. Making associations between concepts and words is an effective way to exploit logic and reasoning and to memorize better and longer.

The teacher must, in fact, always try to arouse curiosity and arouse interest in the student; the communicative approach to language learning must, in fact, be based on real communicative tasks that motivate the pupil to use the language in a “situation.”

Before starting the English lesson, the teacher can spend a few minutes conversing about an activity like “the word of the day” and its use. There are several computer programs and many websites that offer a free service to send “The Word of the day” every day, on your e-mail and therefore on mobile phones, with its explanation in English of its meaning and concrete examples of its use.

For students with satisfactory language skills, always online, there are some fun games for the enrichment and lexical expansion to do in the multimedia lab or even at homes such as Boggle, Scrabble, or Catch-Phrase:

  • Boogle- The aim of the game is to find the greatest number of meaningful words within a grid made up of letters of the alphabet arranged in four rows that can be used horizontally, vertically, and diagonally in a predetermined amount of time.
  • Scrabble- It is also born as a board game in which two players must use the seven letters drawn by lot and compose a meaningful word always in a predetermined time.
  • Catch-Phrase- It is a question of guessing the target word from the description made of it by the companions.

For the 10th class students, you can visit a well-structured spellquiz site for the vocabulary test for grade 10 where the explanation of the word is given in simple English, and there are also some very simple exercises to do to better memorize the word.

Conclusion: There are numerous teaching techniques and strategies that facilitate learning a foreign language. In particular, as regards the assimilation of new words, each teacher has experimented in the course of his teaching experience, the most effective methods, the most motivating exercises, and responsive to the needs of their students.

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Madhuri Boinwad

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