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When to teach dictionary skills? 
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:35 pm
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Post When to teach dictionary skills?
I enjoy discovering new words when I browse through a dictionary, and I want my students to have the same passion.

I was wondering at what age or level are EFL students capable of learning dictionary skills?

What types of dictionaries are appropriate (e.g. picture dictionaries, learners dictionaries, mono/bi-lingual dictionaries, etc.)?


Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:08 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post Re: When to teach dictionary skills?
blueguyblue wrote:
I was wondering at what age or level are EFL students capable of learning dictionary skills?

Great question and to be honest I haven't really thought much about that. I don't do a lot of dictionary work with my own groups but maybe I should do more. (I generally try to encourage them to ask me and I try to explain the word in English.)

I'd say if the students can read on their own or have a grasp of IPA for pronounciation, then they can begin using a dictionary.

I know in Japan, they start using a dictionary with JHS students in their first year of English. It's a Japanese-English Dictionary.

blueguyblue wrote:
What types of dictionaries are appropriate (e.g. picture dictionaries, learners dictionaries, mono/bi-lingual dictionaries, etc.)?

I imagine that has a lot to do with the learner's age.

I personally am not a big fan of picture dictionaries, but I'd try distributing a few types of dictionaries out to the students and see which one they like best.

I do know that many students panic with an all English dictionary. Some of my advanced students (older teens and adults) like to use electronic dictionaries because they can toggle between translations and English-English definitions.

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Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:10 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:35 pm
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Thanks Mark,

I think I will ease my young learners in using dictionaries and other reference materials. I plan on buying a thesaurus, primary and picture dictionary for the classroom. I will instruct them to keep a vocabulary notebook. Hopefully they will start seeking these references before they ask me.


Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:30 am
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