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The Implementation of Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy

Submitted by Elih Sutisna Yanto, Universitas Singaperbangsa, Indonesia

Pre-reading activity

Viewing Video

This activity is the first step for implementing vocabulary self-collection strategy (VSS). The teacher takes a clip from a video containing second language research terminologies. Once the teacher has the video, extract all vocabulary items related to the second language research terminologies that students need to know to comprehend the text and include them in a list that teacher can complete with other relevant words of the second language research terminologies that are not included in the video. Through modelling the process of using the VSS, the teacher demonstrates how to use the strategy.

Teacher scaffolding

The teacher then projects a copy of the text in the video on LCD and uses a think-aloud as a way of modelling how to select words that are important for understanding the reading. The teacher indicates his interest in a word that may result from his not knowing the word, or finding it difficult or interesting. He shares with the class the need to know something more about the word to understand the text. The teacher, then project a graphic organizer that includes a box for the word, the reason for selecting the word, and the definition of the word as shown in Figure 2.1, Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy Chart. He writes the word in the appropriate box, says the word, and ask the students why they think he chose this word as an important one for leaning. He then writes the reason in the appropriate box. Next step, the teacher defines the word, writing the definition in the next box. Finally, the teacher consults the dictionary about the word’s definition.

2.2. During reading activity

The teachers directs the students to view video containing second language research terminologies. After viewing the video to do the following

  1. After viewing the video, revisit the text and select at least five words that they think are important to their understanding of the readings or that they found interesting or challenging.
  2. Complete the VSS student Chart in figure 2.1 that directs them to write the word, they found it at what page, the reason for selecting the word, and a definition of the word if they know it and finally consult dictionary the definition.

2.3. Post reading activity

Forming groups

Students are divided into small groups that can be formed based on a teacher decision, a student preference, a mixture of genders, a mixture of students’ proficiency level in language and reading abilities. More critically, a teacher facilitates students to form groups in order to the mutual agreement about composing together can be reached through negotiation between teacher and students or between individual members of each group.

The groups will focus their discussions on the words they have selected and their reasons for choosing the words. Through their texts and completed VSS charts, each group is directed to do the following:

  1. The group appoints one student to act as leader whose role is to keep the discussion moving as they focus their talk on the words they have selected.
  2. Each student submits one word he or she has selected and provides the reason for choosing the word that becomes the focus of the discussion. The discussion may center on the word’s meaning, the importance of the word in understanding the reading, whether the members of the group selected the word, or another reason. The group then decides whether the word should be selected for the group chart.
  3. The group leader uses the group chart to record the word, the reason it has been selected by the group, and the word’s contextual definition. Each group limits the number of words included on the VSS chart to five.
  4. Writing the contextual meaning of each word is the last step of using the VSS. Students then validate the meaning of each word through the use of the dictionary both printed or electronic dictionaries or the glossary that may be found in the text.
  5. After the small-group discussion, the teacher brings the groups together for a class discussion. Each group leader reports to the class, providing the list of words selected by the small group. The teacher or student records the words on the VSS class chart, along with reasons for choosing the word and the contextual meanings.
  6. The teacher may list additional words overlooked by students that are required for understanding the text. For words with a high-difficulty level that the students do not understand, the teacher provides direct instruction, focusing on the words’ contextual meaning.

Make Connections Between Grammar and Vocabulary

Submitted by Rodney and Graham UK/Hong Kong

A simple activity that helps strengthen knowledge of connections between grammar and vocabulary is gap-filling. Having learners either listen for the missing ‘bits’ in the transcript of a spoken text, or try to work out from the context what is missing in a written text can be a good way of drawing their attention to the use of particular forms in particular contexts, and can provide a starting point for exploration of their functions. Also, having them compare ways that they have filled in blanks with the original version of a text or conversation can help them notice where they are having difficulties producing appropriate forms and to explore why certain forms are appropriate and certain forms are not.

The following procedure can be used:

  1. Find, adapt or write a text containing occurrences of a particular feature you would like your students to work on.
  2. Prepare a version of the text with some or all of the occurrences of this feature blanked They may be single words or longer stretches of text like phrases or clauses.
  3. Have the students fill in as many gaps as they can, either based on some limited exposure to the original text (listening to it or reading through it once) or based on their own contextual or grammatical knowledge.
  4. Present the original text to the students (either in spoken or written form) and have them compare the ways they filled in the gaps with the occurrences of the feature in the original text and notice the kinds of forms that are used and where their answers are different from the original.
  5. Have students explore the reasons why certain forms are appropriate or inappropriate by trying to either justify what they wrote or explain why it should be changed.
  6. Have students practice producing the feature in an appropriate way in similar conversations or texts.

Further reading: Jones RH, Lock G (2011) Functional Grammar in the ESL Classroom: Noticing, Exploring and Practicing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.