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returning to old vocabulary 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post returning to old vocabulary
In the first few years of developing my curriculum I built everything on the idea of new vocabulary for each unit. I recycled old vocabulary in review of previous language tasks, but had something new for each unit.

I've been operating my English school for 6 years now and have had some students for that long and they are continuing on for more. After a few years, I realised I couldn't continue on the vocabulary tear. Students didn't really need more vocabulary but needed better use of the language. So, I started all over, back at animals one and just adjusted the language tasks up making better use of the vocabulary, instead of just learning the words and some target language surrounding that.

Well, I have a group that has gone through the system twice and I'm thinking about doing parts again. I'll let you know in a few years how that went :P

My question is do you recycle the same vocabulary for new language tasks? If so can you give some examples?

For example I teach Animals one first, working on 'What's this?' 'A bear.' as time progresses they learn 'he' and 'she.' Then we move on to 'It's a bear.' Is it a bear? via review and small building segments.

I return to Animals one full on with describing animals and working with the present tense. Examples; 'Bears eat fish. Bears live in the forest. Bears sleep all winter.' and so on.

In my third go with Animals 1, I work with comparative and superlative forms.

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:56 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 128
Location: Italy
I'm up to my ears in designing a syllabus at the moment. It's a bit different because it's for adults, but what I'm doing is kind of going fuzzy - letting the target grammar and functions decide the vocab content regardless of whether it's old or new, but at the same time loosely aiming to have around half old, old new. It must be quite hard because I really can't do it after a couple of glasses of wine, but I'm mostly pleased with the results.


Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:47 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
I am writing something now for my elementary school classes as we need a better plan. I go once sometimes twice a month.
My idea is very much about using the same vocabulary but adjusting it to different language. "More language, less vocabulary" is a phrase I liked from some readings about different language teaching methods. (I really liked the Silent Way).
Anyway for 1st and 2nd grade:
We do fruit and learn the words. Then "What is it?", "Is it a __". "Do you have a ____?"
"I like__", "___ is my favourite fruit"

Up to now the teachers have decided what we will do but I am trying to create a better plan with them to allow us to build on what has been learnt before.

Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:40 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Simon, I'm doing sort of the same thing.

I have a small group of elementary school first and second graders that have been coming since they were 3 years old, once a week for an hour. They learned the occupations set a couple years ago and in that I taught the difference between 'he' and 'she.' I also cover the question 'What's he?' and answer, 'He's a firefighter.' We revisited it for a quick review many times, and about a year later, I went through the set again teaching them the 'Is she ~?' and 'She isn't ...'

Now, I'm going back for a third round using the vocabulary as the main segment of the class again. I'm having them discuss the occupations and dealing with the nec. vocabulary as it pops up.

Example: 'A firefighter works at a fire station. He drives a firetruck. He wears a helmet and a uniform. He puts out fires. He helps people. Firefighters have a fire dog. I (don't) want to be a firefighter."

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:00 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:16 am
Posts: 25
At the moment I got a class of about 30 "teenagers", :lol: all retired, who decided to learn English, mainly because now, they have the time and the money to travel around the world, but, the majority of them only learned French, when they were students, so, they are adult beginners.

It has been funny, up till now, they are really motivated, they understand how much they need this second language to travel and be able to communicate.

I thought hard, when I was asked to be their teacher, what kind of syllabus I should try. We don't have time to go for and back, so there is no spiral approach, we just learn this today, next week we probably will be doing something quite different. Up till now we have had some lessons on greeting and introducing people, identification, booking rooms in hotels or flights, requesting meals in a restaurant, shopping, asking the way ...

So, when I begin a new topic I give them a list of vocabulary, and I decide what functions and grammar structures must be used. I usually begin with a Power point presentation, introducing a few words of new vocab. and a few examples, with pictures, of possible dialogs. They read them, and then, when they feel comfortable, they have a set of possible transfer exercises; some they do them just speaking, in pair or group work, some they ask me to write down, when they feel the task is more difficult .

They don't speak fluently, but what they learned, they can talk about it, so I suppose they won't get lost, they won't eat anything they really don't want and if they don't understand something they are able to say they don't understand and they can explain they are foreigners, they can ask to speak more slowly and so on.

Obviously, this doesn't work with my children of nine, ten; I always need to go back, now and then, new grammar structures, with some old vocabulary, or the other way round, new vocabulary using some old structure.
Even with children, in my opinion, they usually learn the vocabulary quite easily, the problem is to use it in real speaking situations, but I have the experience that no grammar structure is more difficult than any other. If we begin with a simple structure they are going to get used to it, and they
will repeat it for ever. For instance, they learn " Yes,it is "or "No, it isn't " and then it is difficult to get something like "Yes, I can", or "Yes, I do". But if you teach some two or three different structures at the same time, it seems to me that they don't get asleep and they think before they answer, because they know there is a choice of different answers which demand their attention.

Well, that's all for the present, time to go back to my classes, sorry
happy teaching


Sat Mar 01, 2008 3:41 am
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