Vocabulary teaching – Giving primary students the key to learning English (Re-run) by Language Learning Support Section, EDB
Programme Rundown • Reasons for promoting vocabulary teaching • Vocabulary building skills to be taught • Games for teaching vocabulary • Infusing vocabulary teaching in the day-to-day teaching • Assessing vocabulary learning • Building up vocabulary learning environment • Impact of vocabulary on the learning of language skills
I. Why do we promote the teaching of vocabulary? 1. Students have limited vocabulary 2. Repetition of words in usage 3. Strong emphasis on READING in the 2004 Curriculum Guide
“Learners need to acquire good vocabulary so that they can understand messages from others and combine words to form phrases, combine phrases to form sentences and combine sentences to form continuous texts.” (English Language Curriculum Guide P1-6 2004 p.164)
II. What vocabulary building skills do we teach? • Sight words • Phonics • Word formation • Word association • Dictionary skills (picture dictionary, thesaurus…)
What are sight words? • words that are immediately recognizable as whole words and do not require word analysis for recognition. • the most frequently used words • Dolch word lists (compiled by E. W. Dolch in 1940s) • 220 ‘service words’ • 95 common nouns
Why is it important to learn sight words? • They comprise approximately 50-70% of any given general, non-technical text. • Many of the sight words do not follow the phonetic rules (e.g. “said” vs “maid”, “paid”) • Many of the words share the same letters or look similar (e.g. of, for and from on/no; was/saw)
Why is it important to learn sight words? • “For instructional purposes, we would like our students to recognize sight words in less than a second. Why? Because this enhances their chance of getting to the end a sentence in time to remember how it began.” - Frank B. May in Reading as Communication
Word formation (i) Affixation - adding prefix and suffix to base word e.g. unfriendly, careful, __less, __ly, dis__ (ii) Compounding - formation of words with two or more separate words e.g. football, blackboard (iii) Blending - mix two words together e.g. motor + hotel = motel (a place to stay when travelling by car) smoke + fog = smog (air pollution in a city)
(iv) Conversion- the process by which an item may be used in different parts of speech yet does not change its form e.g. Here is some butter. Butter the bread. (noun) (verb) (v) Derivation - the process whereby new words are formed from existing words or bases by affixation e.g. migrate: migrated, migrating, migration, immigration, migrants…
Word association (i) Synonyms – two words that can be interchanged in a context e.g. big, huge (ii) Antonyms - two words that express opposing concepts e.g. cheap, expensive (iii) Homonyms - words which have the same form but have completely unrelated meaning and have to be learned as different words e.g. go to a bank, sit on the river bank
(iv) Collocation - relationship between two words or groups of words that often go together and form a common expression e.g. take (eat) medicine, spend (pay) time, do (work) your homework, go (do) fishing (v) Lexical sets - words that belong to a particular group (word families) • Semantic groupExample: cat, dog, elephant, snakebelong to the semantic group Animals. • Syntactical groupExample: pretty, long, unusual, frighteningbelong to the syntactical group Adjectives. • Functional groupExample: Hello, Hi, Good morning, Hello therebelong to the functional group Greetings.
“Vocabulary is best introduced in context such as through language games and tasks. Tasks address learners’ needs and interests, and provide authentic contexts for vocabulary use.” (English Language Curriculum Guide P1-6 2004 p.164)
III. What games can we use to teach vocabulary? Managing words through games - 9 Fun vocabulary games!
Pig I spy Switch-a-roo snake Activity sheet Memory game Tic-tac-toe Spot the mistakes Card game Pelmanism GAMES!
Derivation • the process whereby new words are formed from existing words or bases by affixation e.g. migrate: migrated, migrating, migration, immigration, migrants…
A mini-activity • Work in groups of 6. • Brainstorm words that are derived from the base word. • Fill in the blanks with words derived from the base word.
Collocation Collocation is the relationship between two words or groups of words that often go together and form a common expression, e.g. take (eat) medicine, spend (pay) time, do (work) your homework, go (do) fishing
Spot the mistakes (Collocation) Get into groups of 4. There are 4 mistakes in the diary. Write the correct verbs on the lines.
Activity Sheet 1: Spot the mistakes (Collocation) Tom wrote a diary about his bad day yesterday. However, he is not good at writing. He made 4 mistakes. Read the diary carefully. Write the correct verbs on the lines. 1/3/2008 Rainy Yesterday was a bad day! My friends and I went to Sai Kung. There was a traffic jam. We paid a lot of time on travelling. We did fishing, but we forgot to bring the fishing rod! So my friends played the kite with me, but I fell on the ground. My friends took me to the hospital. I also made a cold after the trip. How unlucky I was! Correct answers: ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________
Memory game (Lexical set) Each table forms a group. Listen to the theme carefully. Each group has to make up a sentence using a word associated with the theme. The second group repeats the sentence and makes up another one.
Memory game (Example) Theme: Meat 1st group: I like eating chicken. 2nd group: I like eating chicken and beef. 3rd group: I like eating chicken, beef and fish. 4th group: …
Classroom objects: I spy with my little eye and see things with two syllables: Rubber, ruler, pencil, cupboard, bookshelf, basin, towel, teacher, pupils, bottle… I spy with my little eye and see things with one syllable: Pen, chair, desk, chalk, bag, boy, girl, door, fan…
Animal names I spy with my little eye in the zoo and see things with ____ syllable(s) Food items I spy with my little eye in the market and see things with ____ syllable(s)
Pelmanism Synonyms (words of similar meaning) Antonyms (words of opposite meaning)
Let's try the game! Match the words of similar meaning • Put the cards face-downon the table. • Take turns to turn over two cards at a time. If they match, keep them. If not, put them back face-down in their original place. • The game finishes when all the cards are taken. • The player who has most cards is the winner. • Other players say “WELL DONE!” to the winner.
Pig • Number of players: 4-6 • Goal: Collect the most word cards • Directions: • Read aloud up to 4 words. Keep the card if you read the word correctly. • Stop if you read a word incorrectly. • Stop and keep the cards that you have got. • Stop and return the cards that you get in this turn to the pile. • Play until 4 PIG and 4 STOP cards remain.
Sight words, etc. phonics prefixes, suffixes Tic-tac-toe Vocabulary building skills
Student B : Tic-tac-toe: suffixes Activity objective: Students are able to form words with the suffixes provided in the grid. Student A △: singer tidiness beautiful excitement information comfortable slowly childhood appearance
Passive vocabulary Words that are recognised and understood in listening and reading Active Vocabulary Words used in speech and writing • Passive vocabulary will become active with: • the development • of ss’ language • competence • (ii) opportunity given • to students to put • the vocabulary • learned into use
“ Teachers need to make plans for vocabulary learning and teaching at different stages of learning so that new vocabulary items are introduced in a meaningful context and learnt items are revisited and practised in new contexts.” (English Language Curriculum Guide P1-6 2004 p.165)
Vocabulary? IV. Infusing vocabulary teaching in the day-to-day teaching
School-based example (1) Theme: School Level: P2 Skills covered: (i) Lexical set (ii) Collocation Application: writing a school pamphlet
Background Topic: At school Vocabulary: Rooms and things to do at school Target language item: We (things to do) in (rooms).
Step 1: word association Circle words related to the theme ‘School’. bathroom sing the songs feed the animals draw the pictures School music room wash the dishes cook the food read the books playground classroom kitchen washroom
Step 2: word categorisation Categorise the above words into two groups. Things to do at school Rooms at school
Collocate verbs with suitable nouns. 1. Step 3: word collocation Children, please _________ the books silently. 2. Well done, boys and girls. Can someone help me __________ the board, please? 3. I wrote some songs for all of you. Do you want to ___________ the songs now? Let me write them on the board first. 4. The songs are about cats and dogs. Can someone __________ the pictures for me? 5. Great! Thank you. Let’s __________ the music now!
Form grammatical sentences. Step 4: Who / Do-what / Where? Who? Do-what? Where? e.g.
Step 5: application Write the school pamphlet. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Vocabulary building skillstackled Association Categorisation Verbs Nouns + Collocation
School-based example (2) Theme: Gifts Level: P3 Skills covered: (i) Lexical set (ii) Dictionary skill Application: Writing a letter
Categorization Dictionary Skills Vocabulary building skills tackled
School-based example (3) Theme: Food Level: P6 Skills covered: (i) Lexical set (ii) Synonyms (iii) Phonics (iv) Compound words Application: Writing a food poem Assessment: Students’ writing