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Vocabulary Teaching - A Guide for Teachers

With English being the language of communication around the world, it might seem daunting to teach vocabulary at an academic level. Not only in English, it is a very important process for any teacher and it is also an integral step for students to be introduced to new language and vocabulary which they understand, comprehend, and are able to use effectively in communication. Vocabulary is something we continue to learn and develop throughout our lives, it's a never-ending learning process. While some vocabulary is acquired by students during daily conversations there is more complex and technical vocabulary that needs to be taught. Selecting what to teach based on the frequency and usefulness to the needs of each student is therefore important.
To understand it briefly, let’s look into some of the vocabulary teaching techniques -

1. Word stress
It is important that students are aware of how to pronounce a new word correctly. If some student is not able to pronounce a particular word correctly, it will only inhibit their communication, it will also inhibit the listener and it will give the students a lack of confidence when they communicate or speak in English. It is an important vocabulary teaching technique to focus on the pronunciation of the words correctly. So in an attempt to make students understand the correct pronunciation, it is important to focus on the word stress. It can be done by using vocabulary teaching techniques like phonics, where you stress the different syllables present in a particular word. This will help the students in using the word effectively when they are communicating with someone.

2. Show the proper examples
Try to show them in context. It is invaluable that students know how vocabulary is used. You can demonstrate this by showing the words used in sentences. It will be giving the students an awareness of when and where they should use that particular word. Give them proper examples using the words in sentences where they could understand the exact meaning and use of the words. If you give them the context they’ll start to understand and they don’t need to do any sort of translation or search in the dictionary.

3. Teach the synonyms
It’s a simple vocabulary teaching technique, it would give the students a reference to the words. It really aids in a better understanding of connected vocabulary. If you are teaching a word, do teach the students the connected words to that particular word and you can describe what these other words mean, it will give them a greater pack of vocabulary for the students to use in any situation. Students feel a lot more content when they’re learning additional vocabulary rather than just the particular one. Teaching synonyms is a good vocabulary teaching technique as it gives the students a sense of confidence in using that particular word while communicating.

4. Use pictures  
Illustrations are really a good way to explain the meaning of words. Students learn vocabulary in a variety of ways, some learn it by listening, others may learn it visually. Therefore as an educator it is vital to support students with their learning styles. If you can project the image related to the word on the screen it will help them in better understanding the meaning of words. You can also use flashcards as a vocabulary teaching technique.

Alternative ways of vocabulary teaching are by preparing worksheets and asking your students to match words to definitions. You can also ask your students to classify a group of words into different categories. You can also ask your students to read and learn different words as homework and the next day they could teach the class, as teaching is a great way to learn it’ll help them in understanding the word better. You could encourage autonomy in your learners. Tell them to read, watch films, listen to songs, etc and note the useful words.
Hope this blog helps you in teaching vocabulary to your students. Stay tuned to read more blogs.

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