piątek, 27 marca 2015

Practising vocabulary with Young Learners- tips for Parents and Teachers.

Age group

While teaching vocabulary it is important to remember about the age of a child. In the case of pre-primary children it is advisible to choose words which are not abstract, for instance adjectives which cannot be shown by gestures like feelings or emotions. It is strictly connected with child’s cognitive development. Secondly, chosen words should relate to everyday life of child. Here, good examples are: toys, clothes, animals, vegetables, colors, parts of body or  family members. Thirdly, because of the fact that children learn fast but, unfortunately, forget as quick as they learn it is relevant to provide as many repetitions as possible using different kinds of activities and contexts. Additionally, it is useful to present new vocabulary using chant, song or story because in this way children remember new words better. Another way to teach vocabulary is practising words by allowing children to express themselves as artists by drawing, coloring, making art. and  craft activities and naming what they made. What is more, practising new words by miming and acting out simplified dialogues and situations taken out from life is effective, as well.

How to do it?- Techniques for practising vocabulary

There are many easy techniques to teach vocabulary and play at the same time. The most popular are: 

1. „What’s missing?”- flashcards (or real objects) lay in a row. Children try to remember them. Teacher asks children to close their eyes and takes away one or two of them.

2. Guessing game- e.g. miming, a child shows a noun like animals or occupation and the rest of learners try to guess.

3. Giving instructions- the easiest game is „Simon says”- one person says what to do and the rest do it. A person who makes a mistake is out of game. The last child wins.

4. Picture dictation- a teacher gives the instructions, for example: „draw a big cat, small dog and huge house…”

5. Colouring dictation- a teacher gives handouts with outlines (it can be animals, toys, fruits and so on) and asks children to color them using particular colors, for instance: :”Color the apple green and the pear yellow”

6. Memory games like well- known Chinese whispers (głuchy telefon) or market game: one person starts the sentence „I went to the shop and I bought…”. Then the next person task is repeating the sentence from the beginning and adding one noun.

Voabulary revision/consolodation techniques

As mentioned before, revisions of vocabulary and recycling (which appears when the teacher revises the language material and presents it in a new context, extending it) are extremely important due to the fact that children forget new items very easily. Equally significant is the topic and ther word class.
Below several easy to do activities are presented:

1. Collages- pictures connected with one topic are displayed in the classroom as a kind of revision

2. Topical word competitions- in this activity the child who provides the longest list of words in one topic wins.

3. Picture dictionaries- learners make their own dictionaries, drawing or pasting pictures of words they learnt. It is a good source while revising material.

4. Word families- this technique is similar to picture dictionaries (they are collection of words), however, organized according to the themes.

5. Vocabulary cards- children make cards with a picture, written form and a sentence with this item (this technique is useful with older children).

To sum up, it is very important to remember about regularity considering child’s remembering ability. Equally relevant is selection of voabulary. Both teachers and parents should remember that the most effective way to pratise vocabulary is through play and pique child’s interest.

Autor: Joanna
absolwentką studiów licencjackich Karkonoskiej Szkoły Wyższej na kierunku: Filologia Angielska oraz studiów magisterskich na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim na kierunku: Pedagogika;  specjalność: Wczesne Nauczanie Języka Angielskiego.

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