The significance of vocabulary in teaching and learning | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Автор:

Рубрика: Педагогика

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №9 (195) март 2018 г.

Дата публикации: 05.03.2018

Статья просмотрена: 77 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Салихова Н. Н. The significance of vocabulary in teaching and learning // Молодой ученый. — 2018. — №9. — С. 171-173. — URL https://moluch.ru/archive/195/48544/ (дата обращения: 14.11.2019).



The growing need and importance of English language at the present day has made the acquisition of this language as an important requirement for today’s student. As English is perceived as an indispensable tool in order to survive in the global economy, the demands for English language have grown. Despite the importance and need of English language, it has generally been observed in the developing contexts that students having strong language competencies easily get entry into higher institutions while such entry is denied to those who have poor background in English language. The importance of English language is even more intense at secondary level as this transitional stage prepares learners to the modern life where English is everywhere. As a result, English language has been a means of either success or failure. Support for this interpretation comes from Beglar David who argues that it is the language which facilitates all other learning [2].

So every language acquisition, without any doubt, is based on building and learning vocabulary as it is considered to be one of the significant aspects of any language learning. Acquiring new words will have more benefits besides making students better readers. Fair or not, people do judge others by their level of vocabulary, and surely as learners acquire new words, they can begin to use some of them when they speak. Educated speakers tend to have good vocabularies, and they usually command respect and admiration for this quality.

For these reasons, it is important that language teachers embark on systematic vocabulary-acquisition lessons for their students. One of the most wide-spread and influential methods used in EFL/ESL teaching to present new vocabulary today is the use of various teaching materials and techniques in English classes. For the time being English has become a global language and there is a strong demand to learn and teach it, the best way to do so is through the medium used by the English language instructors taken from real life. That’s why teaching English through different materials and teaching techniques is of high importance now in every English teaching and learning setting. Therefore, majority of EFL/ESL teachers try to use different teaching materials and the techniques for presenting new vocabulary consistently in their lessons which one more time proves the article’s actuality and significance.

Based on the high significance of teaching and learning vocabulary the hereby article aims to grow language teachers’ awareness of implementing various techniques during their lessons to expand students’ vocabulary and identifying the difficulties in teaching the language.

The object of this article can be considered as one that gives the general review of the implementation of various techniques in teaching specific vocabulary. It also helps to improve one's understanding of the principal indications of vocabulary generating techniques which play a leading role while processing the foreign language.

The subject of the article is to present one of the most widespread aspects in the theory of teaching — vocabulary which is considered to be a potentially useful way to understand others' ideas better and to have the satisfaction of getting own thoughts and ideas across more effectively.

While teaching foreign language we should put the following tasks forward:

– to be aware of the importance of teaching vocabulary to students

– to implement different techniques to present new vocabulary denoting the theme

– to identify the difficulties in teaching the vocabulary and present some guidelines to overcome language troubles

We should mention that learning language represents a great theoretical value for those willing to take up their future carrier in the field of teaching as valuable reference to the methods and the ways of expanding students’ vocabulary on teaching and learning settings, identifying the widespread problems in teaching such vocabulary and developing special mastery for coping with this real problem.

And the practical value of this article involves the idea that the usage of various techniques represents a field aimed at training teachers and instructors to develop their understanding and awareness in growing and improving their further instruction of the specific vocabulary.

The source information for this has been carefully studied and investigated before it was applied to the given work. The thorough analyses of the topic-related literature were made in order to show the reliability and validity of the present work.

Vocabulary knowledge is often viewed as a critical tool for second language learners because a limited vocabulary in a second language impedes successful communication. Underscoring the importance of vocabulary acquisition, Schmitt (2000) emphasizes that “lexical knowledge is central to communicative competence and to the acquisition of a second language” p. 55) [7]. Nation (2001) further describes the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and language use as complementary: knowledge of vocabulary enables language use and, conversely, language use leads to an increase in vocabulary knowledge [6]. The importance of vocabulary is demonstrated daily in and out the school. In classroom, the achieving students possess the most sufficient vocabulary. Researchers such as Laufer and Nation (1999) [5], Maximo (2000), Read (2000), Gu (2003), Marion (2008) and Nation (2011) and others have realised that the acquisition of vocabulary is essential for successful second language use and plays an important role in the formation of complete spoken and written texts. In English as a second language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (EFL) learning vocabulary items plays a vital role in all language skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading, and writing (Nation, 2011). Rivers and Nunan (1991), furthermore, argue that the acquisition of an adequate vocabulary is essential for successful second language use because without an extensive vocabulary, we will be unable to use the structures and functions we may have learned for comprehensible communication.

Vocabulary learning is an essential part in foreign language learning as the meanings of new words are very often emphasized, whether in books or in classrooms. It is also central to language teaching and is of paramount importance to a language learner.

According to literacy expert Beck, “vocabulary means learning meanings of new words” and it can also mean “words that a reader recognizes in print” [1]. Although these meanings are easy to grasp, delving into them a little deeper exposes some complexities.

There may be gradations of word knowledge that range from no knowledge to “rich decontextualized knowledge of a word” [1], and to what degree does word recognition extend to variations of a word or word parts? To help address these important issues, literacy experts generally agree that a systematic and multifaceted approach to vocabulary and word-building skill instruction is necessary. Specific components include (a) providing students with direct instruction of keywords and word-learning strategies, (b) exposing students to extensive and vocabulary-rich reading, and (c) creating an environment that encourages students to develop a “word consciousness,” described as interest in and curiosity about words [3].

Vocabulary, as one of the knowledge areas in language, plays a great role for learners in acquiring a language (Cameron, 2001) [8]. Harmon, Wood, and Keser (2009), as well as Linse (2005) state that learners’ vocabulary development is an important aspect of their language development. Although it has been neglected for a long time, researchers have increasingly been turning their attention to vocabulary.

Vocabulary is central to English language teaching because without sufficient vocabulary students cannot understand others or express their own ideas. Wilkins (1972) wrote that “... while without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. This point reflects the experience of many teachers with different languages; even without grammar, with some useful words and expressions, students can often manage to communicate. Lewis (1993) went further to argue, “lexis is the core or heart of language”. Particularly as students develop greater fluency and expression in English, it is significant for them to acquire more productive vocabulary knowledge and to develop their own personal vocabulary learning strategies.

Students often instinctively recognize the importance of vocabulary to their language learning. As Schmitt (2010) noted, “learners carry around dictionaries and not grammar books”. Teaching vocabulary helps students understand and communicate with others in English. Voltaire purportedly said, “Language is very difficult to put into words.” I believe English language students generally would concur, yet learning vocabulary also helps students master English for their purposes.

Learning how to build a better vocabulary can be a pleasurable and profitable investment of both students’ time and effort. At least fifteen minutes a day of concentrated study on a regular basis can bring about a rapid improvement in their vocabulary skills, which in turn can increase students’ ability to communicate by writing, conversing, or making speeches. Acquiring a large vocabulary can benefit them everywhere: in school, at work, and socially. It will enable them to understand others' ideas better and to have the satisfaction of getting their thoughts and ideas across more effectively.

Of course, majority of students already have some storage of everyday vocabulary with the help of which they socialize and “exist” in the real world. The fact is that many of the words they know were probably learned simply by coming across them often enough in their reading, in conversation, and even while watching television.

While there are not any magic shortcuts to learning words, the larger students vocabulary becomes, the easier it will be to connect a new word with words they already know, and thus remember its meaning. So students’ learning speed, or pace, should increase as their vocabulary grows.

References:

  1. Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. New York: Guilford.
  2. Beglar David and Alan Hunt (2002). Implementing task-based language teaching.
  3. Graves, M.F. (2006). The Vocabulary Book: Learning and Instruction. New York: Teachers College Press; Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  4. Jack Richards and Willy Renandya (eds). Methodology in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press
  5. Laufer, B. & P. Nation. (1999). A vocabulary size test of controlled productive ability. Language Testing 16, 33–51.
  6. Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  7. Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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