Vocabulary Learning Lesson For Learners

Why a vocabulary learning course

Children (7-11 years) most of whom are immigrants who arrive in the UK always find it hard to address English vocabulary words. In most cases, the reason for immigration of these children together with their parents from their homes is normally war. These children also tend to have problems in integrating into their new communities. Most of these newly arrived immigrant are not capable of reading or speaking fluently in English. This has an adverse effect on their overall performance in school. In writing, one of the most common challenges for young people is coming up with the right word (Blachowicz and Fisher, 2014). Vocabulary is defined as the words of a language, phrases, single items and chunks of several words included which are able to pass across a particular meaning, just like individual words. Single lexical items are addressed by vocabulary – words whose meaning is specific, and also includes lexical chunks and phrases.


Very little can be conveyed without grammar, without vocabulary, nothing can be passed across (Carter and McCarthy, 2014). Teaching vocabulary to young immigrant learners enables them to communicate in English and also understand others. Putting language into words is very difficult. According to Chan et al., 2016, the learning of vocabulary enables students to master English for their purposes. As a student's expression and fluency in English is developed, it is also very important for them to acquire vocabulary knowledge and further develop their personal strategies for learning vocabulary. Instinctively, students often recognise vocabularies importance to their language learning. When learners are walking around, they are commonly observed to walk around with dictionaries and not grammar books. The expansion of the English vocabulary is quite exciting and as such, both students and teachers need to be in the habit of learning vocabulary (Templeton et al., 2015).

English vocabulary is quite challenging because it is a changing, growing reality (McKeown and Curtis, 2014). Lexical items, unlike grammar, are an open set that is constantly added to and lost as words that are archaic stop being used. It is in computer-related vocabulary that the situation is most evident with words like the web browser, internet and email, which twenty years ago were not very commonly used. Today, however, each and every individual is very well verse with these items and the importance of such realities to their work and lives.

Aspects of Vocabulary Knowledge

Various ways can be used in defining the concept of word and these include use, meaning and form. A words form includes the pronunciation of a word (spoken form), written form which is the spelling and any other word parts which make up the particular item for example suffix, root and prefix. Meaning encompasses the way meaning and form, work in unison. In other words, those associations that come to an individual’s mind when they think about specific expressions or words. According to Oakhill et al., 2015, use involves a phrase or words grammatical functions and the collocations that go with them and finally any existing constraints on its use, in terms of frequency and level. Whenever vocabulary is taught to a student with the intention of building their knowledge of phrases and words, helping them learn the different components enables them to enhance their knowledge and use of the English vocabulary (Dóczi and Kormos, 2016).

Need analysis

To establish the needs of TESOL learners, it would be most prudent to develop a need analysis questionnaire which contains questions that are open like when..? How..? Why..? And not closed questions which only bring about ‘no’ or ‘yes’ answers. A teacher could also request their students to come up with a piece of English writing. It is easier to deduce the requirements and capabilities of a child if they express themselves (Pinter, 2017).

When designing a need analysis for young students it will be very prudent to consider their needs (Carr, 2011). For example, while, students who are more mature may prefer to discuss things like learning styles, and language areas, young students would prefer to voice their opinions on the topics through which to do an exploration of language and also learn the basics. It is up to the teacher to feel out their class and come up with a decision on the amount of choice they will understand and also feel comfortable with. For example, will they best respond to a written form, verbal discussions or a combination of the two?

  • Why do the students want to learn English?
  • What are those skills that the students view as most important? Why?
  • What are the challenges that the students face when learning English?
  • What do the students intend to learn or focus on?
  • What languages or topics are the students interested in?

Identification of personal interests is very important even for those students who have to attend compulsory English language classes. This helps the teacher in delivering lessons that are both motivating and relevant. Answering the above questions could help teachers and their students to focus on learning the English language in a way that is both positive and interesting.

When the questions have been established, the teacher should decide on the most appropriate way of running the need analysis. There exist many different options which are also varied: class discussions, written surveys, one-on-one sessions, whole class brainstorming and so on. It is always up to the teacher to decide on the most appropriate tool for their class. The first step should, however, be to explain what is being done and the reasons behind it to the students. In the need analysis step, this is a very important step which is however often overlooked because teachers have the tendency of forgetting that students lack an idea of what is being taught to them. The teacher should spend some of their time discussing details and plans with their class while also putting some effort towards promoting and valuing the opinions of the student (Richards and Rodgers, 2014).

Build their vocabulary knowledge by knowing the different colours, fruits, numbers, alphabets, body parts, shapes, farm animals, zoo animals, classroom objects, toys, weathers, feelings and emotions, vegetables, clothes, days of the week, months of the year, and seasons, . Developing the students’ abilities to construct sentences through learning about their likes and dislikes, asking can you questions, talking about different members of their families.
Extend their vocabulary of the items of clothing worn in the winter. Develop their skills of the English language. Learn English vocabulary through the use of pictures. Learn the vocabulary concept of analogies and how they are used in daily writing and reading activities. Develop their reading speed.
Learn how to use strategies for communication to actively participate in class and group discussions. According to (Nisbet and Shucksmith, 2017), learning strategies tend to be ineffective whenever students are blindly led to them compared to when they are well aware of what is happening, the strategies applicability and the benefits expected. Once the students have gained a good understanding of what they are to do, the teacher should proceed with the chosen method for conducting the need analysis.
There exist many ways through which the information collected through the need analysis can be used. According to (Muijs and Reynolds, 2017), the teacher should use the results to answer the following lessons during planning for lessons and evaluating:

What is going to be learned? What are the reasons for learning it? How is it going to be learned? Did it work?
Depending on the level of freedom a teacher has with planning for lessons, they can use the information they have collected to: Design entire curriculums Design some lessons Emphasise on certain points Influence class themes and games Implementation of class projects Guiding of homework projects
For example, if a teacher observes that their class mostly prefers horror films to preposition lessons, they can use horror themes in the teaching of the vocabulary intended. When this is done it would be observed that the response of the students to ‘the zombie is IN the closet’ would be better.
Strategies for learning new words include contextual analysis, use of dictionaries, and morphemic analysis. For those ELLs whose language shares cognates with English, a good awareness of cognates is very important. The use of dictionaries equips students with multiple meanings for words, as well as the importance of selecting definitions that are appropriate for fitting particular contexts Cohen, 2014. The meaning of a word is derived through an analysis of its meaningful parts through the process of morphemic analysis. Suffixes, prefixes and root words make up for such word parts. In a contextual analysis, the meaning of a word that is not familiar is inferred through keen scrutinizing of those texts that are around it. In the contextual analysis, instruction generally involves teaching students how they can best employ different both specific and generic types of context clues.

Goals and aims

The aims of the course include: Extending leaners` vocabulary of the items of clothing worn in the winter. Developing the children’s skills of the English language. Teaching English vocabulary to foreign learners through pictures. Attracting the attention of children. Making teaching learning activities more interesting. Identify the vocabulary concept of analogies and how they are used in daily writing and reading activities. Develop students reading speed Enable students to use strategies for communication to actively participate in class and group discussions.

Principles that inform the curriculum

Providing multiple exposures to the meaning of a word is one principle of effective vocabulary learning. Whenever students often encounter vocabulary words, the improvement in vocabulary is greater (Parsons and Branagan, 2017). For students to firmly place a word in their long-term memories, they have to see a word more than once. This implies seeing the word in multiple, different contexts and not just mere repetition and drill of the word. It is very important for the instruction of vocabulary to provide students with opportunities for repeatedly encountering words and in numerous contexts.

Further, other than just focusing on the words, teachers should be certain that students have a good understanding of the instructional tasks involved. Increased acquisition of vocabulary can come about from the restructuring of learning materials and strategies and this is especially for low achieving students and those students who are at risk. Once a student is well aware of what is expected from them in a vocabulary task, they learn rapidly (Borg, 2015).

Students can also acquire vocabulary incidentally through engaging in practices that are rich orally at school and even at home, like listening to books read out loud to them, and also doing an extensive reading when on their own (Balli, 2009). Drawings and listening to music is a good means through which young learners can develop their long-term vocabulary. These activities expose the young learners to new words and is also a means by which students are able to view vocabulary in contexts that are rich. Discussion sessions, provision of reading aloud that are structured and extension of independent reading experiences outside the set school hours are some of the recommendations according to (Kersaint et al., 2014) so as to facilitate the growth of vocabulary amongst students.


This course requires no use of textbooks. Different materials can be used to teach like pictures, online videos, acting out, brainstorming, and writing down of stories, word of the day and even drawings.

Course description

The study of vocabulary is a fundamental language course whose sole focus is on helping students to understand and improve vocabulary words through examination of different bases of words, recognition of different word parts like suffixes and prefixes and a keen study of the meanings and roots of words. Students are able to recognise the relationships that exist between words and also master words that are both confusing and difficult like homographs, homophones and homonyms. At the end of the course, students will be capable of breaking down words that are challenging into parts and further derive meanings of vocabulary words from context.

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Basic supplies in these lessons; pencils/coloured crayons, small balls, glove puppets, origami coloured papers, cushions, balloons, Computer, tape player or CD to play the songs, flashcards.
One good way through which vocabulary can be assessed is through asking a child to identify a certain colour among several colours. As such, whenever a teacher gives students a list of colours or activities to learn, they can assess them by giving them by randomly asking the students to identify any colour or activities in a set of activities and colours. Assessment of an individual`s vocabulary is no easy task and this is because it encompasses more than just the list of words they have memorised but is instead the number of words they know in overall and how well they are able to use them in their daily conversations.

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  • Blachowicz, C. and Fisher, P.J., 2014. Teaching vocabulary in all classrooms. Pearson Higher Ed.
  • Borg, S., 2015. Teacher cognition and language education: Research and practice. Bloomsbury Publishing.
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  • Pinter, A., 2017. Teaching young language learners. Oxford University Press. Richards, J.C. and Rodgers, T.S., 2014. Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge university press.
  • Schmitt, N., 2014. Size and depth of vocabulary knowledge: What the research shows. Language Learning, 64(4), pp.913-951. Templeton, S., Bear, D.R., Invernizzi, M., Johnston, F.R., Flanigan, K., Townsend, D.R., Helman, L. and Hayes, L., 2015. Vocabulary their way: Word study with middle and secondary students. Pearson Education.
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