Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How to Elicit Vocabulary: Top 6 Techniques

  1. Miming

    You can say “The weather was very …” trembling and rubbing your arms waiting for your students to say the word COLD. If they don't get on their very first try just shake your head and let them continue guessing.

  2. Drawing

    Drawings can also jog a student’s memory. In the example above, you may want to have a picture (flashcard) in order to describe the difference between other words students suggested. Indicating what descriptive word you are looking for on the image can help students understand what word you are trying to elicit from them. Drawings can also be a way of engaging students who have strong artistic abilities. It is not always appropriate to spend time having students draw on the board, however you can prepare for your lesson or get groups organized while a few students come to the board and draw images. You can then use their drawings to elicit vocabulary.

  3. Lists

    Write the topic you want to work on and ask your students to say words which they know and are related to the topic mentioned by you. You can start them off by listing one or two and students should be able to list quite a number of related vocabulary words. You could also give hints to lead your students to say certain words. In about five minutes you and your students will have compiled a fairly comprehensive list of words they know which you plan to use in the lesson and they can refer to for the rest of class.

  4. Synonyms

    Using synonyms is a good way to increase students’ vocabulary. It is a good idea to show different options for a concept, overall if you give alternatives to a word they already know.

  5. Antonyms

    Another way of eliciting certain types of vocabulary is to give the opposite word of the word you are looking for. You can say “He’s not tall, he’s…” and your students should say “Short!” Combine this with miming and it will be easier for your students to guess.

  6. Hints

    If students have difficulty producing the word you are looking for, assuming it is an old vocabulary word and not a new one, giving them the first letter orsyllable may help them. I sometimes use hangman to help them find the word I am expecting. Once you get the word you can also ask them for synonyms, antonyms, etc.

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