Teaching vocabulary in the context

Teaching vocabulary is really a problematic task for every teacher. Once, a Peace Corps volunteer went to a grade XI class in Palpa and asked the students to write down all difficult words in their copy. The students wrote down more than two dozen of words from a single paragraph. Then he came back to the Office and told expressed his surprise how I could teach them so many difficult words everyday. Every English teacher has a long list of difficult words to translate by giving synonyms or explaining meaning in simple words or paraphrasing the paragraphs or translating them.

Teaching meaning in isolation: In this technique teacher gives meanings of words in isolation, i. e. word to meaning translation or simplifying or paraphrasing. Some of better ways of this technique are given below.

Teaching vocabulary in context:  This technique is found very much interactive, cooperative and students enjoy this lot. Here different tasks are given which provide students clues so that they can predict correctly. In reading also students have to predict and guess the meanings in context. Therefore, it necessary to develop such skills while teaching vocabulary. The following tasks were tested at grade 10 students of Mohan Kanya HS School, Palpa. The text is taken from Grade 10, Unit 13, Page 96. The students selected the words: aghast, conspicuous, despair, dilemma, grumbling, intervene. The selection of difficult words was based on the following procedures.

Selection of difficult words:

i.    Mostly teachers select difficult words which they assume that they are difficult. Some teachers ask the students to write or tell the difficult words and they give meanings. But these procedures do not ensure that all difficult words are covered.
ii.    One of the very effective techniques of selecting vocabulary is to make the students select them. For this:
a.    The teacher divides the class into different groups, 4 or 5 or. .  . according to the number of students.
b.    Then the students read the passage in groups and select the difficult words.
c.    While they are working in groups, one student can help another and they select only those words which all the group members do not know. This encourages cooperation among the students and the number of words is also limited.

d.    Then the group leaders write the group list on board. The lists cover different words. Some words are difficult for all or more groups and the others not. If so, one group can help another at this stage. Thus the word list becomes shorter. Then the teacher can teach them.

Tasks for teaching vocabulary in context

Task 1. Write T for true statement and F for false.
i.    The boy couldn’t decide whether he should go to School. He was in despair. (   )
ii.    The teacher was aghast when he saw the boy in half paints. (   )
iii.    The boy got chance to have photograph taken due to the Head Teacher. (   )
iv.    The father was in dilemma when he saw the photograph. (   )
v.    The boy was grumbling at his parents for neglecting him. (   )
vi.    The photograph conspicuously aroused sympathy on the boy. (   )

Task 2. Fill in the blanks choosing appropriate words from the box.

•    The boy was ignored so much that his parents didn’t buy him trousers. In ……., he decided not to go to School.
•    He didn’t get any trousers so he was ……….. at his shorts.
•    He had no trousers but the Class Teacher asked him to go to School in trousers. Therefore he was in …………… whether to go.
•    The Class Teacher looked ………… when he saw the boy in shorts.
•    The boy could have been excluded from the photograph but the Head Teacher ……….and asked him to sit on the front line.
•    The photo conspicuously exposed his naked knees that changed his father.

Task 3. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate forms of the words from the box.

•    The boy had no other idea. The situation was so confusing that he was in …. .
•    The parents asked the boy not to ………….. .
•    The boy got chance to have photograph taken due to Head Teacher’s …… .
•    When the teacher saw the boy in shorts ready for the photograph, he was …. .
•    The boy didn’t find any trousers that suit him. So he kept quiet in ……. .
•    The father changed his opinion due to the photograph with his son’s  ……. posed knees.

Task 4. Answer the following
questions in brief.
•    What might the boy have been feeling when he got notice to go to School in trousers?
•    What did the boy feel when he didn’t find any trousers that fit him?
•    What did his parents tell him on the day of taking photograph?
•    How was it possible for the boy to be included in the photograph?
•    What was the teacher’s reaction at the boy when he saw him in shorts?
•    What’s specialty about the photograph for the boy?

Task 5. Match the words in column A with their meaning in column B.

Task 6. Meanings of the words from the text are given below. Find the words in the crossword puzzle and encircle them.

Meaning: i. state of being in problem to choose something  ii. loss of hope  iii. complaining  iv. filled with horror or terror  v. get involved to improve something  vi. noticeable or attracting attention.
Instructor, Educational Training Centre, Palpa

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