- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Pearson Education Limited; 1 edition (18 February 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0582429668
- ISBN-13: 978-0582429666
- Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 1.3 x 24.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Teach Vocabulary Paperback – 18 Feb 2002
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From the Back Cover
Finally...an introduction to teaching vocabulary that¿s both accessible and content-rich. Here you¿ll find details on the characteristics of words, how they are learned and memorized, and the best ways to teach them. Complex issues are presented in the context of the real-life challenges of today¿s classrooms.
About the Author
Scott Thornbury is from New Zealand originally but he started his teaching career in the UK in 1975. Since then he has lived and worked in both Egypt and Spain, teaching, training teachers, and writing materials. In 1991 Scott did an MA in TEFL at the University of Reading. He has written a number of books about language teaching (including How to Teach Grammar and How to Teach Vocabulary), as well as lots of articles for journals and magazines (such as Modern English Teacher and English Teaching Professional). Scott has also given conference presentations at conferences in six different continents. At present Scott lives in Barcelona.
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This book has taught me so much about methods to use and why it works to use them that is to get the vocabulary into long-term memory. It has taught me various purposes behind flashcards and how many ways we can use them, the connection between visual input and vocabulary and how the mind makes webs of connections and how it groups vocabulary words together. It is amazing how a vocabulary word can be in various groups and the example of chicken and kitchen really hit me. For ESL students they, at times, mix up these two words because chicken has a connection to the kitchen (it is where you would store it, in the fridge, where you would cook it, on or in the stove and lastly where you would eat it BUT it also has the sound connection as well and so the two could get confused by an ESL learner and they wouldn't even know it! WOW!) It is amazing how our brain stores, sorts and categorizes things and that when we retrieve them we don't think anything is wrong because we assume the connection is correct.
Well now I've decided that the better way is to not only teach students methods of learning vocabulary but how their brain/mind learned their first language and how it will learn their second. I have some L2 students who are determined that they can't and won't ever learn L2 vocab and it has been exciting to explain to them how since they already learned a language and are more mature than when they learned their first one (I teach high school) that they have an advantage and can acquire new vocabulary without having to translate everything from English into their L2. I try to stress that it takes work to get the vocabulary into their long-term memory but I also use the illustration about lyrics to songs and how they don't usually know those right off the bat.
Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone who teaches a language, any language. I just noticed that he and Jeremy Harmer both have other books that I am going to look into and most likely buy.
The book provides a consistent grounding in the jargon used for the area, and gives you a good grounding in how information of this type is organised within people's memory. This view of the workings of memory, whether short-term, working or long term, underpins much of what Thornbury goes on to suggest for the class.
The book covers a large range of topics, all arranged in chapters, including testing, presenting, getting students to work with new lexis, using texts, dictionaries and copora, and a whole range more. Of particular value in my opinion is the chapter on training students to become good vocabulary learners. Training students to learn for themselves outside the class is of ongoing importance, even long after they have left our lessons long behind them.
Throughout the book are example activities, some of which teachers will be familiar with, and others new. These give the reader a good starting point on how to implement some of these ideas and promote a high level of retention among students. It was these that I found very useful, as well.
To put it simply, this book is a goldmine of information and ideas, with a large array of exercises and activities that one can immediately use, later adapting as needed. This is a great book, and I thoroughly recommend it to all.
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