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Motivating and effective Ways of Teaching Vocabulary
Concepts and Activities for learning and teaching vocabulary with joy
By Marisa Zuazo
1. Natural aproach2. What is a collocation?3. Why is it important to teach collocations?4. When do I start?5. How do I insert collocation in a lesson?6. Activities that go well with collocations.
Teaching VocabularyWhat is a collocation?
It refers to the way English words are naturally associated with each other.
e.g.: blond hair; heavy rain; fast food etc.
And NOT: yellow hair; strong rain; quick food .
Compounds x idioms x phrasal verbs
Some are fixed as in take a photo, where no other word than take collocates with photo with the same meaning.
Some are open, where many other words collocate well with the same meaning, as in keep/stick to the rules.
Sometimes a pair of words may sound unnatural to native speakers but not totally incorrect. As in the sentence
“I did many mistakes”, it will be understood but the natural collocation in this case would be to make
Compounds are two or more words that together form units of meanings. They can be written separately, with hyphen or as one word.
Normally if you know the meaning of the two words used in it you can guess the meaning of this compound.
e.g.: post office, narrow-minded, teapot.
In the other hand, idioms are groups of words in a fixed order that does not allow to guess their meaning by knowing the meanings of individual
e.g.: On the double! (Hurry!)Besides being considered individual lexical items compound nouns and phrasal verbs frequently collocate with other words.
e.g.: play the stock market (compound);
come up with (phrasal verb) a suggestion.
Teaching VocabularyWhy is it important to teach collocations?
The words we chose define the people we are. You will improve your students style in writing. They will sound more natural. They can decide how they want to sound during their speech.
(precise, fluent, eloquent, exotic, etc.?) It will shorten the communication barrier. It will increase their range of English vocabulary. They will understand when a skillful writer departs from normal
patterns of collocation by not choosing an expected collocation to create an effect.
e.g.: There’s no place like Rome (allusion to there’s no place like home)
Teaching VocabularyWhen do I start?As you may have already noticed, you probably have taught collocations before. The key point is to decide if you made it part of a lesson, a unit, a class or a course or if it eventually appeared as a teaching point.
If you want your student to sound more natural, to choose the best combination of words and to understand authentic materials better, you have to start preparing your classes including collocation teaching time asps!
The challenge is to think about interesting ways to teach focusing in collocation. Choosing appropriate activities suitable to different levels, teaching topics and skills.
Teaching VocabularyHow do I insert collocation in a lesson?
There are several points to take into consideration when teaching collocation.
Adjectives + Nouns
Nouns + Verbs
Nouns + Nouns
Nouns and verbsUnder the economic and business topics see how natural they sound together. them.
e.g.: economy bloomed; companies merged; created opportunities.
Adjectives and nounsSome adjectives are typically used with particular nouns.
e.g.: bright color; major problem; key issue.
Nouns and nounsThere are a lot of collocation with the pattern a... of... .
e.g.: a surge of anger; a sense of pride.
Verbs and expressions with prepositionsSee how someverbs collocate particularprepositional expressions.
e.g.: swelling with pride; burst into song; to foam at the mouth.
Verbs and adverbsIt's very common to see these verbs and adverbs together.
e.g.: failed miserably; drives recklessly; pulled steadily.
Adverbs and adjectivesIt's very common to see these adverbs and adjectives together.
e.g.: hapilly married; stunningly attractive; fully aware.
Teaching VocabularyHow do I insert collocation in a lesson?
Variety of activities
Elementary (Do x Make)
Images 1, 2 and 3 from English Collocations in use - Cambridge
Memory game – Look at the phrases below and memorize them. You have 2 minutes to do so. *You will easily remember if you associate them to people you know.
Good sense of humor
Outgoing personalityVivid imagination
Loose your temper
Razor sharp mind Fiercely loyal
Keep your word
Bear a grudge
Keep your temper
Time is up!!! Check how good your memories are. Write as many
phrases as you can remember in a paper and have a look to see if
your partner did better than you.
Let’s try a challenge! A harder memory game for you. Look at the definitions and match them to the phrases you memorized
from the previous activity.*Remember: the more you concentrate, the better!
People enjoy being with you
Stronger than extremely
You sometimes act in a selfish way
Resent for a long time bad things people did to you
Do what you say you will do
Trying to deceive or trick you
Not get angry
Honest in a way that may heart
Now read the following text and talk to your partner. Think of people you know
who were born in the same month and whose
personality fits to the descriptions.
Think of those who don`t fit at all and tell your partner
Teaching VocabularyHands on!
Form groups of 5. Choose an activity from the handout. Come up with ideas in order to make it more
communicative, attractive and fun. Share your ideas. Which activity would you definitely try with your
LINDSAY, Cora; KNIGHT, Paul. Learning and Teaching English. OUP. 2006 HARMER, Jeremy. The practice of English Language. Pearson Longman. 2007 GILLET, Amy. Speak English Like an American. Language Success Press. 2007 LEWIS, Michael. Teaching Collocation: further developments in the Lexical Approach. Hove. 2000 LIMA, Denilso. Por que assim e não assado? Campus. 2008 McCARTHY, Michael; O’DELLl, Felicity English Collocations in Use. Cambridge.2008 McCARTHY, Michael; O’DELLl, Felicity English Collocations in Use Advanced. Cambridge.2008 SPEARS, Richard A. NTC’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions. NTC. 2000 UR, Penny; Wright, Andrew. Five-minute activities
Teaching VocabularyThank you for your wonderful participation!