Thursday, July 19, 2007

Challenges of teaching vocabulary

Maria Spelleri - Manatee Community College, Florida, USA

Using a crossword program is a convenient way to generate vocab practice from student-selected words.

I really want to add student-selected words to the prescribed academic vocabulary that comes in our text books, but my problem has always been coming up with enough practice material to make it worthwhile. A crossword program is fairly easy to get, but what to do for the next in-class practice with the words, and the one after that?

I know I have spent HOURS making cloze sentences, matching, and other worksheet activities for student-selected words, usually taking sentences from dictionaries and google “concordances”. Since I teach in an academic program, I also have to create tests that incorporate the student-selected words. (Teachers who do this know how time-consuming it is. Vocab practice development is such a drain that one of the first questions our instructors ask a vocab text publisher is “Does the text come with a test generator?”)

If all this is just ONE small part of ONE class, how do teachers manage this?

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