Learning vocabulary is a very important aspect in our growth and development of both our written and spoken language. It helps the students to understand the meaning of words and be able to use them in an appropriate way in development of factors such as oral/written use of the language; degree of formality and style. We learn new things; understand deeper concepts and we learn to connect various things we already know. When we lack good vocabulary we are limited in learning new ideas and facts because we cannot understand them. Also we cannot be able to express ourselves well thus affects communication in place of work. We need to learn vocabulary to be smart.
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Theory underlying the lesson
In the past, vocabulary teaching was done incidentally. This means that a new word was taught or learned as it appeared while reading or when one is speaking. In current world, this is not the same. Vocabulary teaching has been incorporated in syllabus and the lessons have to be pre-planned and taught regularly so as to impart strong vocabulary base on our students (Kindle, 2011).
There are some aspects that need to be taken into account when teaching vocabulary. The boundaries between the words that have related meaning should be defined. This is for the students to differentiate items like cup, mug and bowl, which have related meaning and use. There is importance of distinguishing between the various meaning of a single word with many closely related meaning e.g. head, which can be head of a person, head of a nail or head of a school. This is known as polysemy. The meaning of a single word form that has several meanings that are not closely related should be distinguished (e.g. file that is used to store papers and a file used for sharpening tools). This is referred to as homonymy.
Words that have the same pronunciation but different spellings and meaning have to be distinguished. This is referred to as homophyny. Synonymous words have different meanings, which have to be distinguished (e.g. extend, increase and expand). Attitudinal and emotional factors have to be distinguished, which depend on the attitude and situation the person is at the time of speech. This is known as affective meaning. One has to be able distinguish between different level of formality, the effect of different contexts and topics as well as difference in the difference in geographical variation. This is to do with people’s dialect and style (Kindle, 2011).
The awareness of certain differences and similarities between the native and foreign language have to be distinguished when making translations. Chunks of language have to be noticed by the students. This is multi-word verbs, idioms, strong and weak collocations. Grammar of vocabulary has to be learned by the students. It involves learning the rules that enable students to build up several forms of the word or different words from the word (e.g. eat, ate, and eating). Lastly, pronunciation is important in enabling the students recognize and reproduce spoken words. All of these aspects have to be well taught for the students to effectively learn vocabulary (Kindle, 2011).
Working in groups is very important and has to be part of vocabulary teaching. It enables the students exchange knowledge by asking each other questions thus learning from one another. The teacher should form small groups that are based on student data and observation of individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. The groups are given specific number of hours per day and per week to implement their practices.
The teacher determines the appropriate lesson structure for each group. The groups should be small and flexible so that groups meet specific needs of the students assigned to it in terms of: size of each group, which can be 3-5 for struggling students and 5-7 for other students, number of days per week each group work, number of days per week, type of lesson structure for each group and the content and level of the lesson (Kindle, 2011).
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Objectives aligned to the Phonemic Awareness standers
Phonemic awareness is a school entry predictor that predicts how well a child will learn to read in the first two years of instruction. The main responsibilities of a teacher is to be able to make the child speak well and read thus learn new words. At the end of training the students should be able to spell words correctly. Students should be able to have a good foundation in learning the letters of alphabet so as to be able to manipulate letters in forming words (Kindle, 2011).
Appropriate children’s literature for the developmental stage of the student
Literature should be carefully selected so as to promote literacy development of a child otherwise children will just be reading books with limited or no response and learn nothing. What adults sometimes find funny in books might not sound funny to children. This shows the big development gap between children and adults. The failure of children to note the funny sections of a book is due to poor match between the children’s cognitive development level and the reading material.
Young people are learning to distinguish between fantasy and reality there situations that are in line with their expectations are considered funny. So books that give stories that mesh with the expectations of children have to be selected by the teachers. Books that are within the child’s zone of proximal development are required so as to stimulate the mind of a child (Kindle, 2011).
A child whose level of development is not to the level of a given book will get minimal meaning or happiness from it and thus will respond to it differently. Teachers have to learn each and every child, his/her level of development, rate of development and varying interests in order for the child to enjoy and gain from his/her experience with literature.
Procedure section for the instructional strategy used
The best way to teach vocabulary is within a meaningful context. These help the students to integrate the new words with prior knowledge of the context. Active learning techniques should be used to make the students to be part of the learning process. Students should recognize relationships among words and apply words in practical use so as to identify examples and non examples. Materials that enable the students to expand their vocabulary base should also be used. This includes dictionary use while monitoring word use (Draper & Moeller, 1971).
The teacher should make sure that the students should not forget their vocabulary especially at the end of the year when students go for holiday. This is done by reintroducing important vocabulary throughout the year, a process known as reinforcement. Strategies used to learn and remember new words should also be taught that is by identifying some small words that are used to make up a word e.g. teamwork. Also some important prefixes and suffixes should be taught to the students in order to make them figure out the meaning of certain words (Draper & Moeller, 1971).
Adaptations that will (or could) be made for cultural or linguistic diversity
The first stage of teaching students of diverse cultural backgrounds is by learning them, their cultures, and their communities. This provides very important information about the students and their world of origin. This will help the teacher realize the differences and the similarities of his/her culture to the culture of the students. This will help the teacher be able to respect the students and their cultures. It will also show the commitment of the teacher to help the students.
The teacher should also try and make contacts with the parents of the students. This involves inviting them to school for them to monitor the progress of their children and take part in school activities. This will make the students as well as their parents to feel that the teacher is concerned with them. In case of any written communication to be carried home, students should be able to translate the information to their native languages. Students should also interact among themselves in order to share their feelings, ideas and experiences (Draper & Moeller, 1971).
Reflection about the effectiveness of the lesson
The lesson should be able to be effective in making the students learn, use and be able to memorize vocabulary. This is to be realized because suitable methods of instruction for example the use of group work and teaching from some relevant contexts. The interaction among the students who can then share their feelings and experiences in various situations shall help students to grasp and memorize some words (Draper & Moeller, 1971).
Draper, A. G., & Moeller, G. H. (1971). We Think with Words (Therefore, to Improve Thinking, Teach Vocabulary). The Phi Delta Kappan , 52(8), 482-484.
Kindle, K. (2011). Using Read-Alouds to Teach Vocabulary: Research-Based Strategies and Model LessonUsing Read-Alouds to Teach Vocabulary (Teaching Resources). Jefferson City, MO: Scholastic Teaching Resources.