How can we teach vocab activities?
What is the best way to teach vocabulary?
Before speaking of vocabulary activities it is imperative that we distinguish between a Topic and a Vocab activity. A topic activity is there so that students can bring their own ideas and opinions whereas a vocab activity is taught in context and the TL is put in practice.
We’ve realised that most of the vocabulary activities are just random words that we throw at the students and students reach a point of no learning. It is clear that we need to expand vocabulary and that it should gradually get more difficult.
We spoke about the Business English course and for some reason the TL is always the same (shares, afford, salary, sack, to hire) and yet we forget to categorise Business English into different umbrellas. Business English is more extensive than what we think for example; accounting, marketing, human resources, finance etc.
We often teach students TL by going through the text with them but never really put it into context. In order for the students to learn new vocabulary we need to put Vocabulary in CONTEXT. When students are shown the words in context, it allows them first to remember the word better and second know how the word is used in context. This in context method at Oxbridge has been very effective however; sometimes ‘out of context’ methods are used, understandably because it is safer for the teacher. If we teach simple vocabulary and get students to pick out words and then put them in context by turning it into a sentence or a story.