*For all footnotes, refer to the PDF version of the article.
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in learning a language. With grammar, little meaning can be conveyed. With vocabulary, anything can, in a pinch, be conveyed. Yet vocabulary has traditionally been neglected: In part for theoretical reasons; in greater part because the obvious process to learn it, item-based memorization, has seemed so tiresome and time-consuming. The process can be automated with free tools available on the web. It can be handled outside of class time, efficiently and with a minimum of dull repetition. Learning vocabulary can be easy and fun.
Vocabulary is the heavy lifting in language learning. It is most of what must be learned, Continue Reading →
**For footnotes, please view the PDF.
This paper focuses on the problems that learners and teachers both face with idiom usage. The original submission was in part of the author’s Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Learning Skills Assignment for which it received a Merit, but it has been modified to serve a general teacher audience. This essay examines examples from several advanced level coursebooks and draws on the author’s personal experience of teaching multi-lingual classes in Canada and England, as well as exam-preparation courses in Italy to assess the value of teaching learners’ idioms. By identifying the problems that learners have with idiomatic language and analyzing different methods to help circumvent them, Continue Reading →
This Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) funded adult ESL Literacy Project of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board is in the midst of piloting a new delivery model of adult ESL Literacy instruction based on the 2016 ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ESL for ALL) document. The Literacy Researcher guided four team members through intensive ESL Literacy training in the first year of the project. Now, these instructors are running specialized classes that target specific learning strategies ESL Literacy learners need in order to be successful participants in their classes, with PBLA and in their daily lives.
Our TESL Ontario Conference poster presented the learning strategy of highlighting specific information required to answer WH-questions. Continue Reading →
Lee and Swales (2006) suggest that using corpus analysis activities in the classroom provides students with pragmatic tools they can use to identify patterns of language use without relying on native-speaker expertise. In addition, subsequent research on the use of corpus analysis, or data driven learning (DDL) (Boulton & Cobb, 2017), demonstrates that substantial benefits accrue to students who work with corpora (Bridle, 2019; Charles, 2012; 2014). However, the complexity of existing corpus analysis technologies may deter instructors from implementing existing corpora (e.g. COCA) or corpus toolkits (e.g. AntConc) which may require significant time investments to learn and transform into effective pedagogy.
This article describes an easy, innovative approach to harnessing the benefits of corpus analysis using technology with which teachers and students are already familiar. Continue Reading →
Listening is the skill that most of our students feel the least confident about and the least control over in terms of what they can do to improve. It is also the skill that is the most widely used, both in academic and non-academic contexts. For these reasons, we owe it to our students to show them how to become successful English language listeners.
Second-language listening is difficult for several reasons, most of which stem from the differences between oral and written channels (Brown, 2011). These include perception problems, issues of memory and attention, and strategy choice.
Perception problems arise because speech is fast and transient; utterances are spoken quickly, and they disappear. We don’t pause to separate speech into distinct words; Continue Reading →
The centrality of vocabulary knowledge cannot be overstated; it underlies the acquisition success of not only reading and listening skills, but also writing, speaking, and grammar learning (Alderson, 2005; Segalowitz, 2005). Linguists have proposed various definitions of vocabulary knowledge. Qian’s (2002) definition has generally been a cited gold standard. According to Qian, vocabulary knowledge consists of four facets:
- vocabulary size or breadth knowledge that refers to recognition of words,
- depth knowledge of all features of a word including its semantic, syntactic, phonemic, graphemic, morphemic, collocational and phraseological traits,
- lexical network of words that are stored, connected and represented in the lexicon, and
- fluency or speed of retrieval of word forms and their meanings.
Continue Reading →
A one-day symposium on Teaching and Learning Vocabulary in Another Language was held at the University of Western Ontario on Friday 21st October 2016. Leading scholars and key researchers in the field of vocabulary studies discussed a wide range of second language (L2) vocabulary-related topics including (1) vocabulary learning through reading, (2) captioning and word learning, (3) corpus-based studies, and (4) phrasing aspects of language. In this report, we will summarize some key points from the symposium in order to provide teachers with up-to-date vocabulary research that can inform their teaching and make their teaching practice more effective and productive in L2 classrooms. In what follows, we will briefly review background knowledge relevant to the presentations and discuss pedagogical implications based on the presented studies. Continue Reading →