Vocabulary lessons

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Vocabulary lessons

Post by jennied » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:28 am

Hello. I am a new ESL teacher. I have been assigned 4 classes this semester and am feeling a bit overwhelmed. For my conversation class I thought a good weekly homework assignment would be to ask the students to write atleast 3 words they encountered throughout the week that they did not understand. I thought this was a good idea until I realized I actually was having trouble explaining words like "disappeared"and "assume" to beginner speakers(adults). What can I do to make this homework assignment effective? Should I abandon it completely?

Luke Zimmermann
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Post by Luke Zimmermann » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:26 am

Learning new vocabulary is always a good idea but you encountered a very common problem: how do you explain complicated concepts in simple English? To tell you the truth, I think it is often impossible. So my simple solution is to use a bilingual dictionary.

English is not my first language and I remember being in English class at high school with a teacher who used English only. We were not allowed to translate. He regularly spent 5 to 10 minutes explaining a difficult word and in the end I would say I understood even if I didn't. I would then go home and look it up in an English-Dutch dictionary. I really didn't, and still don't, understand why I couldn't use a bilingual dictionary in the first place. It would have saved many hours.

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