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EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES TO INTRODUCE VOCABULARY IN THE · PDF file vocabulary and language chunks in the target language. –I can use authentic materials that will support learners establishing

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  • STARTALK 2017



    STARTALK Spring Conference 2017

    Brian Baer / Theresa Minick / Tatyana Bystrova / Hui Yu

    Kent State University

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    • The purpose for this session is to explore strategies and target language input techniques to effectively introduce vocabulary and language chunks.

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    • Session Can-Do Statements – I can identify several strategies that allow me to introduce

    vocabulary and language chunks in the target language. – I can use authentic materials that will support learners

    establishing meaning of new vocabulary and language chunks.

    – I can sequence several activities in a learning plan that allow learners to process and practice using new vocabulary and language chunks.

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    • Using the Target Language and Providing Comprehensible Input for Instruction – The teacher demonstrates and models to make input

    comprehensible. Students learn vocabulary from using it in language-rich contexts such as stories, hands-on experiences, picture descriptions, or subject matter content. (3)

    – The teacher avoids the use of translation by using verbal and nonverbal strategies and also avoids eliciting translation from students. (3)

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    TELL Criteria

    • P7c. I plan activities that provide students with comprehensible input.

    • LE4b. I minimize my use of English by carefully and deliberately determining when and if I use English in the classroom.

    • LT1b. My students and I use realia, props, manipulatives and other resources to make input comprehensible.

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    MONITOR YOUR SIDE CONVERSATIONS and questions in order to maximize focused input: you will be able to share your expertise during the Reflective Collaboration session.

    BE OPEN MINDED: respect new perspectives and information

    PROCESS THE INPUT: take notes, draw visuals, etc.

    LAW OF TWO FEET: if you realize this topic is not one you want to explore, this is the only opportunity to change strands.

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    Why this Focus Session?

    What issue or problem of practice does this presentation seek to address?

    • Challenge of • staying in the target language and avoiding translation when

    introducing vocabulary, • using authentic materials in tasks to support vocabulary

    acquisition, • sequencing and scaffolding activities to practice vocabulary in

    meaningful contexts.

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    Preview of the Strategies and/or Products to Meet the Can-do Statements How to promote acquisition of vocabulary without resorting to translation into English: • Thematic organizing (chunking) of vocabulary • Using authentic materials (texts, images, videos, etc.) • Using manipulatives, props, graphic organizers, and Venn

    diagrams • Using lexical analysis to promote vocabulary acquisition

    (cognates, mnemonic devices) • Using learning tools

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    What We Know From the Research

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    Researching Vocabulary Development • Until recently vocabulary building in FLA and SLA was under-

    studied in favor of grammar/structures

    • “The teaching and learning of vocabulary have been undervalued in the field of second language acquisition througout its varying stages and up to the present day” (Zimmerman 1997, 5)

    • Nevertheless, there is now a body of research to guide our pedagogy as it relates to vocabulary building

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    Researching Vocabulary Development

    • Debates over context alone approaches (Krashen) vs. systematic vocabulary instruction

    • Some combination of instruction and the natural approach are most effective with: – Adult learners – Academically oriented students

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    • Meta-learning strategies – Identify words with shared cognates – Share mnemonic strategies with students – Encourage students to use a variety of learning strategies

    involving all four skills

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    Researching Vocabulary Development

    • “The studies by Paribakht and Wesche, and by Zimmerman, seem to demonstrate that systematic vocabulary instruction in addition to learning through reading is a more successful approach than simply learning through context alone” (Coady 1997, 288)

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    Key Concept #1

    • Vocabulary is best learned (stored and retrieved) not as isolated units but organized into clusters or chunks (5-7 items):

    • “Chunking is the process of placing words into categories based on semantic relationships” (Angell 2009, 93).

    • “Each category represents a major concept or chunk of meaning that, as language develops, continues to be refined and subdivided to include all possible meanings” (Angell 2009, 93).

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    Key Concept #1

    • Chunking aids in both the organization and storage of new words but also in their efficient retrieval and use

    • “Proper or effective organization and storage is required for efficient retrieval and use of language” (Angell 2009, 93).

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    Key Concept #1

    • Effective chunking of words enhances the “priming effect”

    • “The priming effect is defined as the individual’s ability to recall words that relate to a specific topic” (Angell 2009, 93).

    • “The expectation of that topic allows the individual to recall all words associated with that topic” (Angell 2009, 93).

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    Key Concept #2

    Learners need to see and hear a new word multiple times (between 10 and 15 times) in meaningful contexts

    • Meaning-focused input and output are the most effective ways of developing vocabulary

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    What is a Meaningful Context?

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    What is Context?

    • The etymology of the word context, from the Latin contextus, meaning ‘to weave together’

    • The Oxford dictionary defines context as “the circumstances that form the setting of an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.”

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    What is Meaningful ?

    • Non-didactic / real-world

    • Communication (purposeful) vs. talk: “We acquire language by understanding messages” (Krashen and Terrell 1983).

    • Comprehensible (n+1) / connects with learners’ schemata, or previous knowledge

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    What is Meaningful?

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    Meaningful Contexts in the Classroom

    • Thematic lessons (lexical webs/chunks)

    • Task-based lessons

    • Storytelling

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    Meaningful Contexts in the Classroom

    • Visuals provide contextual support

    • Visuals allow you to avoid translation!!!

    • But visuals may contain more or less context

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    No Meaningful Context

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    More Context

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    Even More Context

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    Most Context

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    Learning Tools (examples) • Visual Organizers • Brainstorming Tools • MindMapping • PhotoMovies • WordClouds • Timelines • Blogs • Learning Management Systems

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    • STARTALK Classroom Videos –


    • Kent State STARTALK Hindi Foreign Language Academy –


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    Model Task: Theme – Family Let’s meet our host families! • Task: Students are traveling to India and will stay with host

    families. Before departure, students will publish a PhotoMovie so that the host families can learn about them and their families.

    Pre-Task Activities (in class) • Learners brainstorm vocabulary related to family. • In pairs, learners match images of vocabulary with target

    language. • Learners listen and view a video in Hindi and, using a

    vocabulary checklist, select family-related vocabulary words that they recognized/heard.

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    • Learners listen and view a PowerPoint presentation by the teacher about the Nehru dynasty and the concept of a multi- generational family. Using cut-out images of family members, learners organize the Nehru family tree. (Family relationships are labeled in Hindi.) Using a bingo sheet format, learners ask questions of classmates to find out who has brothers, etc., and writes the classmate’s name in the square.

    • Learners create their own family tree, using a m

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