Vocabulary Instruction: Best Practices
Raul A. Garcia
Grand Canyon University
SED: 535- Adolescent Literacy
Prof. Dennis Fare
May, 16, 2012
"No man is an Island, intire of it selfe; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."
(Donne, J., 1924/1987)
I find it ironic that this poem is written in 1924 by a poet who has recently recovered an illness ...view middle of the document...
Also for the record three out of at least four words are derived from a foreign language. (Bromley, K., 2007)
Other factors that affect the manner of teaching vocabulary are the students one is teaching, the words we have decided to teach, the purpose of the instruction of those word we have decided to teach and the strategy we have decided to use to teach those words. In figuring these four factors we as teachers need to keep in mind the cost of preparation and teaching so that all aspects are balanced in a manner that is sensible. (Flanagan, K. et. al. 2007)
Flanagan tells us that there are four categories of word:
* Critical before words (level one).
* Foot in the door words(level two)
* Critical after words (level three)
* Word that one does not teach (level four)
(Flanagan, K. et. al. 2007)
Furthermore, another way that words are chosen for the instruction of our students is by category:
1. Tier One words are basically words that need no further instruction since the students already have them in their memory bank. Watch, child, and angry for example.
2. Tier two words are higher frequency words used by a more mature language user, include words like industrious, coincidence and absurd.
3. Tier Three words are words whose usage is not as frequent and used only in certain learning situations. These are more content area words like temperature, mercury and heliotrope.
Isabel Beck, 2012, tells us that most of our instruction should be focusing on Tier two and Tier Three. Since these are the verbiage our students will need in a workplace or a content class or possibly a business situation they may encounter. One must be aware of the three tiers to help find easier words and text for beginning students. The ability to teach at any proficiency level will depend on this type of knowledge.
(Beck, I., 2002)
As far as how many words to be presented or number of words presented per week. According to Beck the guideline is demonstrate 5 to about 8 words per lesson or reading. The process recommended is vocabulary cards there is no bottom line as to how many per week. That depends on the ability of students and the teacher as to how many word they may be able to handle. When talking about the process one is to use when teaching, there are two.
One is direct learning and the other is indirect learning, although all students require both methods of instruction. Those instructional styles will vary and shift as the students learn. Beginners usually start with direct instruction and as they become advanced they will begin to learn through Indirect Learning by reading a book or and by listening.
(Beck, I 2002)
Initial exposure to words will begin with flash cards. I have personally experienced these cards in my own effort to learn new vocabulary and found the study of new words in this manner rewarding. As recommended the student can post these on the...