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How to use effective methods for teaching ESL vocabulary.

The very first fear for a student when starting learning a language is whether he will be able to learn all the new vocabulary and on the other side the teacher struggles of finding effective methods to teaching ESL vocabulary properly.

Here, in Lisa’s learning, we are suggesting some of the many possible effective methods you can choose from and engage in your teaching of the new vocabulary.

“Few activities are as delightful as learning new vocabulary.”

― Tim Gunn

Which are some effective methods to teach ESL vocabulary?

No worries because the list of methods to use is enormous, all you, as teachers, have to do is just to take into consideration when selecting and adapting your students’ age, level, interests, hobbies, etc. The methods are very interactive and inclusive, not just methods where the teacher is the center.

Consider age when teaching your students the vocabulary.

We are all aware that various groups of age students need the right ways to teach them vocabulary and keep them engaged.

When teaching young students the new vocabulary, think of what makes them curious and love to learn. Their first vocabulary words are the objects that surround them. Use of attractive materials such as classroom realia, flashcards, drawing, miming, etc, so that it can be done quickly, easily, and clearly to be acquired.

Teen students

On the other hand, teen students are in a stage where the vocabulary they want to learn is to help them understand the music they listen to when having free time, the books they read to practice language, the films they watch, the communication they have with their foreign friends, etc. So, the method we may suggest is to elicit the meaning of words through questioning, using the word in a context, giving a synonymic word, etc.

Adult students

Referring to adults, we should know that they learn the language not only to communicate fluently in the English language (even other languages) but even to specialize in a certain field such as business, medicine, traveling, etc. In this case, teachers should pay attention and importance to the target language they aim to improve when choosing effective methods to teach the vocabulary.

Some fruitful methods to acquire vocabulary.

As we previously mentioned, there is a range of effective methods we could engage when presenting ESL vocabulary.

Showing the meaning visually.

One method to show the meaning visually is by showing real objects that are already present in the classroom for example furniture, clothes, school objects, parts of the body, and also, objects that can be brought from home such as, fruit or small objects.

By showing a picture. If you are good at drawing, why not draw a picture on the board? This way the students are more curious,and engage easily.

Presenting the meaning visually

Instead, if you feel uncomfortable at drawing then, try the immense number of photos you can find on the internet. They are colorful, interesting attractive for the eye of the student.

Miming is an interesting method when it comes to presenting ESL vocabulary. Students love learning action verbs by repeating and moving at the same time. Or facial expressions when teaching adjectives ex happy, sad, surprised.

These methods are effective for direct learning and to make an impression on the class. Of course, not all vocabulary can be presented this way, but it is effective when it comes to presenting words easily, clearly, and quickly as well.

Give examples

Another effective way to present the meaning of a word is by giving an example, by presenting the word in context. Do not give complicated explanations as it should serve the student who does not know it already. For example, if you have to explain the word hard-working

Some people do not work. Some people work a lot and they are hard-working. For example, my father gets up very early and goes to work. He works in the garden after work, too. He goes to bed late at night when he finishes his papers.

Combine various techniques.

When it comes to presenting new words ,it is not stated that by using only one technique ,the ”mission is completed”.If you present a word using various techniques it will be easier for the student to remember it .

For example ,let us explain the word cry.

1.Picture on board. Why? It is interesting and easy to be remembered.

2.Facial expression.Why? It gives a clear meaning.

3.Provide an example .Why? to show its function as a verb.

4.Translate it .Why ? To find out that everyone understands it.

Show meaning through a situation.

Not being possible to show the meaning visually all the time, a way we can use is through a situation. The situation could be from outside the classroom and the structure could be used naturally. Give other examples if necessary. This helps the class build up a clear idea of the meaning of the word or the structure being presented. After that present a situation for the students and ask them to give examples.

Use translation.

Translating vocabulary technique

Although it is a straightforward method, translation is a useful technique when it comes to presenting the meaning of new words or structures… It gives the simplest and clearest way of showing the meaning of a word.

Shortly said….

Consolidating vocabulary is essential for both language acquisition and language teaching. As teachers, we should introduce the new vocabulary in an interesting and effective way, encourage students to practice it through activities and games. Last but not least, to consolidate it by being more inclusive. Having completed these stages we can say, that we have taught properly and the students have learned completely. If you want to learn how to use effective ways to teach ESL vocabulary count on Lisa learning. We are always here to help you become better teachers.

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Mrs. Ardita Bazelli graduated with a degree in English from the Fan Noli University in Korce, in 2004. She is currently teaching English at Preca International College. Mrs. Bazelli has been a consistent partner and co-founder in national and international eTwinning projects in Albanian and European schools for improving technological access to education. In 2019, she guided her students aged 12-15 to win nationally recognized projects. For the last ten years, she has been teaching at the LSIA Korce branch, where she is currently helping young students learn English.