Vocabulary building in young learners

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For this writing task, I was asked to give my response to 5 statements about how young learners can help build their vocabulary. I will answer true or false statements 1- 5 and explain why.

1. In a young child, a single word may constitute a considerable degree of meaning.

Is this True or False?

2. Words categories and concepts normally exist in isolation from each other.

Is this True or False?

3. Vocabulary development comprises at least three stages.

Is this True or False?

4. All languages have the same relationship between time and tense.

Is this True or False?

5. Where possible we should draw upon as many of the senses as possible when teaching vocabulary.

Is this True or False?

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So, you may be one of those instructors who are very teacher centred and has a deductive approach to learning and teaching. However, it may well be a good idea to think about collaborative procedures that allow the students to make discoveries. Thus, there is the inductive approach where students (in a dictation lesson, for example) induce meaning through their own use of the English language. Here is where ‘Dictogloss’ comes in. Learners retain the gist of a story (from dictation) and then use their own grammatical knowledge to rewrite the story.

So, here is how it goes. Students are introduced to the topic and the related vocabulary. Techniques such as an open class discussion, group brainstorming, question and answer elicitation, predicting text content from pictures or vocabulary, are used to contextualise the lesson. Learners then listen to the text. The first time, they do not write anything. But, the second time they take notes, noting keywords. Then, the students work in groups of three or four to reconstruct the text with one student acting as a writer of their own group version. Once finished, students can then write their copy on the board where a comparison can be made with other groups’ ideas and of course the teacher’s original text. Above all, at this point, feedback through peer correction is encouraged for all students.

text                  → student reconstruction                    → comparison

input                                     output                                   feedback

Thornbury (1999:85) evaluates the dictogloss and reports that it ‘provides a useful means for guiding learners towards noticing the gap between their present competence and their target competence’.

Reference: http://www.academia.edu/323021/A_Classroom_Experiment_Using_dictogloss


What are the effects on sentences and vocabulary in general use as a result of the rise of social networking?

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The purpose of this essay is to show how social networking on the internet has had such an effect on the English language that new lexicons have appeared that change the established order of sentences and vocabulary. The rationale of this essay is the fact that on-line communities start these new genres of language through their daily communication. Although internet social networking is relatively new, its massive growth has brought on the rise of language development and expansion. The history of this growth and some of the reasons for this language development will be given highlighting why sentences and vocabulary varieties come to be used within these social networks. Examples will be given throughout the essay highlighting English language’s unique components that can still produce meaning from dismembered sentences and vocabulary. Overall thought will also focus as to whether this use of internet language has actually permeated into the general conversation in daily life.

In an age where internet users have a myriad of avenues to communicate with each other all around the world in real time, it can be recognized that initial programs such as AOL and its instant messenger in 1997 and Friendster in 2002 allowed users to keep in contact with other members that helped create paths for chat and messaging. The combination of these two ideas for bringing people together, that nowadays many websites such as Facebook and Twitter followers, allows for friends to form closer internet relationships allowing for more chat and language with reduced formal rapport. Twitter, as a present day on-line social networking example which sends and receives messages from an assortment of devices simultaneously at the moment the message is sent, has also introduced the concept of micro-messaging where the user just comments on what is happening in the now. Here, introduces users to the concept of summarizing messages and statements giving instant gratification through their minimalization of sentences and vocabulary that creates competition for interest and a doorway to be creative.

Adapting sentences and vocabulary to use in online conversations many purists would argue diminishes the English language but it could be just a way of being creative and effectively using new technologies. It would seem unimaginable 10 years ago to envisage a new global language that has developed through such famous websites as Facebook and Twitter. Speed has to be the number one factor that affects the users’ use of long-drawn-out sentences and messages. Social Networking is about instant messages that satisfy all parties. Of course, it has to be recognized that in the first instance users are limited in how much they can say which contributes to the downsizing of their message. Twitter actually has a maximum of 140 characters per instant message. The user has no choice but to compress their new information. On the whole, within instant messages and online chat users are telling little snippets of their lives and in most cases do not need to produce long sentences for online conversing.

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Give reasons for your viewpoint about the place of grammar and vocabulary in IELTS preparation

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(386 words)

The first aspect of IELTS preparation is that candidates should only enter the course if they are at least intermediate level of proficiency in the English language, so at this point, they should be conversant with the features of grammar and vocabulary. I think it is the teacher’s job to emphasise improving candidates’ general proficiency of these features without inundating them with too much grammar and vocabulary.  I think there needs to be an overall consolidation of the system of grammar, vocabulary, and also pronunciation. In my viewpoint, I think the aim of the IELTS preparation course should be to build vocabulary in the topic areas to enable candidates to comprehend vocabulary they will encounter in the reading and listening sections and to correctly use vocabulary in the writing and speaking sections. I think the underlying design of teaching IELTS preparation and the distinctive core methodology is teaching ‘in context’. The language needs to be delivered ‘in context’ in a manner that is as authentic as possible.

Grammar and vocabulary are important for the test. I think the potential for classroom lessons where grammar and vocabulary are highlighted and discussed in interesting communicative activities is vital to learning. I think it is the teacher’s choices of task-based, often inter-related skills activities, involving IELTS-relevant micro-skills of the test that help promote grammar and vocabulary.

Outside class, I would advocate reading for pleasure with the candidates having an opportunity to discuss their reading in the class. This all has to do with changing learning patterns.  For example, some students are taught grammar which is deciphered while they sit down and listen to the teacher. They need to put new words into context, know what part of speech it is, and break them down into syllables and stress. In the test, they may encounter words they do not understand. A simple reading of the text can put the word into context Furthermore, candidates should learn, practice, and use their new language forms in contemporary, realistic situations. Candidates need to build confidence with their grammar and vocabulary through clear course focus and goals helped by the teacher.

I think grammar and vocabulary cannot be avoided. If the teacher has a student-centered lesson, with the help of the teacher, grammar and vocabulary can be learned through the students undertaking meaningful tasks.