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Teaching & Learning
Practical Strategies for Teaching Difficult Vocabulary. Part One

Practical Strategies for Teaching Difficult Vocabulary. Part One

January 28, 2016

Dictionary Look Up.
In order to use this strategy effectively, the learner must first think about the entire sentence in which the word is found and consider how much they about the sentence before looking up the word. After analyzing the sentence carefully, students may see some familiar aspects of the word, such as the part of speech that may help; however, if after these steps reasonable meaning has not been found, the dictionary is used to resolve the uncertainty.




Therefore, students must be guided in how to make the best use of the dictionary. Following is an example taken from Scholfield (1982, pages 186-193)

  1. Find the word(s) in a sentence that you do not understand.
  2. If the unknown word has endings, take them off to discover the form to be looked up.
  3. Look up the unknown word by following the order of the alphabet.
  4. If the word is hard to find as a main entry, try to:
    1. If the word is an irregular verb or has unusual spelling, look at the nearby main entries.
    2. If the unknown is a phrase, such as an idiom, compound word, look up each main word in the phrase.
  5. If there is more than one definition for the unknown word, reduce each definition by comparing it to the context where the unknown word was found.
  6. Think about the definition and then make it fit into the context where the unknown word was found. This may involve:
    1. imagesLooking up words in the definition that you do not know.
    2. Thinking about how the definition makes sense with the rest of the context and arranging the words so that they fit together correctly.
    3. Remember to make changes for the part of speech.
    4. Make sure that the definition matches the meaning of the context.
  7. If none of the definitions of the unknown word seems to fit, try to pick the one which seems closest in meaning to the context from the definitions you have. If more than one definition fits, search for more context clues in the sentences and paragraphs before and after the unknown word.
January 28, 2016
Teaching & Learning