Being an EFL Educator means you always have to be aware of including new vocabulary for almost every lesson. It means you cannot be complacent when preparing what the students are hopefully going to enjoy and participate in with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, for most EFL students, the boring drilling and memorizing nature of vocabulary building is an irritation, even though they know deep down that is an integral part of their learning curve if they hope to be genuinely proficient in L2,3 or 4. Flip over to us, the educators, and our conundrum is knowing which lexical items to include for activity-focus. That is why it is never easy. However, with the inception of thousands of ICT-APPS in the past four years, the task can be made easier for us, and even a bit more interesting for our students. Here is one way to approach lexical-items inclusion for a research project.
By using the website, VISUALTHESAURUS for making wordlists, you can have a very quick list(s) for the benefit of your students. The book the students have been reading, MUD CITY (previous post on the research activity), is the background to getting students both to read a novel in English, quickly, and to enter into serious research on subjects ranging from the Taliban to child-kidnapping and refugee camps. So, I took the e-book version and opened it up in CALIBRE on my PC. I then cut-n-paste each chapter into the Visual Thesaurus Vocabulary Grabber. The results are excellent and the site provides you with the following visuals. Here is chapter three in graphic form.
We asked the students if they liked the colored images over b/w word lists and they all responded in the affirmative. Now, you may being saying to yourself, "So what? I do this already, what's new about it?" This is where I reckon the new idea comes in.
1: We assigned the students one chapter each.
2: They chose 20 words they felt would be good to learn
3: They then submitted those words in a prepared table
This was done using GOOGLE DRIVE, the ONLY way to collaborate (seriously)
Once the students had chosen their words, found the correct Turkish meaning (we helped there, as well as by using their laptop bi-linguage dictionaries), they then had to put in a false meaning to box two. This was so we could make a class set of multi-choice quizzes on our PLN, Edmodo. The students thought this was really cool that they could be the test maker for their peers. So, again, ICT really got the students engaged, and I DO mean all of them.
Here is a visual of the top scorers and an analytical breakdown of words. You will see that "collapse" has many wrong answers. In fact, it is because the student who prepared the definitions put down the wrong one. But it was OK because we identified it and got everyone focused on the word at the same time post results.
We have had a 15 minute pop quiz each day on the students' chosen words. The kids actually love doing these types of quizzes for vocabulary, and it is the real reason for this post. Don't baulk at giving these types of quizzes. They are acting as formative assessments plus the students get to see them again and again. The seventeen pop quizzes average will be taken and that grade inserted into the students' performance note.
The activity covers several areas of interest for us, and the students of course.
VOCABULARY from the current text
ICT & Google Drive, VISUAL THESAURUS
SESLI SÖZLÜK (English-Turkish digital dictionary)
Memorizing of the Lexical Items for pop-quizzes