Techniques in presenting vocabulary
As Hubbard (1983:50)claims, vocabulary should be presented in a memorable way in order to foster the long memory retention. This can be done in a number of ways, the best of which is a combination of several presentation techniques which should be selected in accordance to the item’s nature. Yet what is essential is to reinforce students’ understanding of the words taught. The helpful techniques (Irfan Tosuncuoglu 1997) are as follows:
- flashcards – useful for presenting vocabulary as well as creating situations or contexts, etc.,
- realia – presenting by means of real objects (which is rather limited though),
- body language – useful for teaching verbs through actions, gestures, facial expression, etc.,
- definition – description of a word meaning, providing detailed information as well,
- examples – conceptualized word use adjusted to the students (in order to be meaningful),
- word building elements – teaching new items in relation to the already mastered vocabulary; affixes may be demonstrated through splitting the word into morphological segments, e. g.: length – a noun from long; beauty – a noun from beautiful; unforgettable – un-forget-able; childish – child-ish
- synonyms and antonyms – useful in establishing links / lexical relations between words,
- contrasts – explaining meaning by means of the opposite: big vs. small; new vs. old; full vs. empty,
- concept forming – using students’ common knowledge by presenting situations and eliciting the item in question, like: you read it in the newspaper or a magazine when you want to buy something. What is it? What do you do with bread if you want to make a sandwich? What happened to “a road” when there is ice on it?
- cognates – pointing to similarities between borrowed forms: concentrate, football, surf;
- translation – although useful in case of infrequent words, it must be remembered that certain items may have no direct equivalent in students’ native language.
The selection of an appropriate technique depends on the age of the students, their skills, interests as well as what in the opinion of a teacher will bring desirable results.