Actually, if we're going to give it a definite name, that is, preface it with the definite article, then it should really be the Lexical APPROACH.
I don't say that to be nitpicking (and "lexical methodS" would be fine in my book - indeed, I may have used such a term myself on these very forums!), but simply to hint that there still isn't much (i.e. enough) in the way of materials and methodology to back up and flesh out especially Lewis's vision (hence Richards and Rodgers' opining in their survey of language teaching that the Lexical Approach is still [just, not yet much more than] "an approach in search of a method", or words to that effect).
So it's always going to be hard to get a grasp on the LA ("the" ~). But to me, that's the beauty of it: there isn't a cookie-cut pat plan sitting there for the purely average teacher to whip and further half-bake and produce tasteless but always slightly skew-whiffy robolessons from. Lewis is a finger pointing to the moon, and even without him and his syntesizing of lexical and phraseological research and insights, there was always COBUILD, the corpus revolution (re-volution?) going on from the mid to late eighties etc. Plus teachers often seem to forget the resource that is the wider language, and how little of it finds (or, to sound inspirational rather than critical, how much more of it could find!) its way into classrooms in order to go beyond the limits of whatever "standard" textbook, activity and and lesson plan.
The main value then IMHO of the LA lies in its altering thinking, and pointing teachers in the direction of resources (research findings, corpora, dictionaries, innovative textbooks etc) and individual R&D (in order to produce materials) by the teachers themselves. There are some mass-produced lexis-based textbooks available, as Alex points out, but apart from being too whatever-centric they can also go a bit too overboard with their choice (though it's not always much of an actual range
) of exponents (=phrasings that fulfil a certain function or notion).* Teachers can often come up with better, more locally-appropriate stuff themselves, given the right tools and inspiration (and dare I say it, freedom). There is too little individuality, no accounting for individual taste (at least, not the individual teacher's linguistic
taste) in language teaching, but such individuality is I would argue a prerequisite if identifying and selecting genuine "killer" examples (killer=those exemplars that will really come alive for a particular teacher and class) is of any concern (which it obviously should be to any genuine, even halfway communicative language teacher!).
Still, let's not forget that some learners at least (many?) were getting by just fine with slot-and-filler stuff before the advent of all this phraseological, idiomatic wizardy, and some learners may actually resent the extra workload or apparent fussiness or whatever that more lexical approaches (at least, those not implemented carefully enough) might well entail - the last thing everybody needs is the literal dumping of too much (yet more, ever more!
) data into classrooms. Selectivity is still key, in fact, moreso, given that the apparent choices have become wider given the new technologies available to us nowdays. (The most frequent items will keep on coming out on top across corpora plural though, provided those corpora are balanced enough! So there is a consistency in the findings, behind the seeming mass of data).
Anyway, a quick list of stuff that I think will prove useful to any lexically-oriented teacher:
-A good monolingual and/or bilingualized learner dictionary, such as the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Fifth edition
-The Oxford Collocations Dictionary (very helpful in confirming meaning senses, on the basis obviously of collocations ultimately (rather than too much definitionese, logic, knicker-twisting etc))
-Sinclair & Renouf's 1988 paper on lexical syllabuses, Willis's book The Lexical Syllabus
, and the COBUILD Grammar Patterns 1: Verbs
(see links over halfway through the following post: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... 1198#41198
-Perhaps a book or two on Discourse, Discourse or Conversation Analysis etc. (Thornbury & Slade's Conversation
wouldn't be a bad choice. Searches for 'Thornbur*' here on Dave's will however uncover mainly "Dogme"-related stuff - not that that isn't at all connected to issues of [a rationale and pedagogy for] more natural spoken discourse in language teaching!)
-Lewis & Hill's Practical Techniques for Language Teaching
(succinct tips that give inklings of the LA to come)
-and last but not least, obviously Lewis's The Lexical Approach
at the minimum (or at most? - His other LA-related books aren't really necessary to read once you've read this foundational work, though there are obviously a few reasonable activities to be found in 'em - see for example here: http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewt ... 2176#42176
. A search for 'Lewi*' here on Dave's will uncover stuff mostly relating to his views on the English verb and how to teach that rather than lexis per se, though the former is of course still worth reading; then, there is 'wordsurfing').
*For example, there was a thread once about "gambits", IIRC for agreeing, disagreeing, persuading and the like, but the stuff in the Keller offering seemed a bit of a hodge-podge compared to those from Goodale (both authors were published by LTP though, the publishing company that Lewis co-founded with Jimmie Hill).