Friday, June 22, 2012

Vocabulary at the center part 1

I am reading Vocabulary at the Center by Amy Benjamin and John T. Crow. I did not start with this idea, but as I was writing, it developed and I thought I would capture it. The sad thing is that this is what teachers do day in and day out.

10 Misbegotten strategies of vocabulary instruction:

1. Present list Monday, test on Friday. Repeat with a new list on Monday.
2. Randomly select words for the list or just use that SAT vocabulary list. It is virtually the same thing.
3. Pick every hard word from the reading- if they don't understand the words they can't get the meaning of the text- who cares if they have never seen the word before and are not likely to see it, perhaps ever, again.
4. Ask students to use the word in a sentence. They will do it poorly 90% of the time because they only know the surface meaning of the word, but keep it up. Maybe they will catch on.
5. Select words that are specific exclusively to minute subject areas- after all, if you don't teach it, no one will. Epigenics or fardels anyone?
6. Let your only practice be x means y. They will, for the test, know that x=y.
7. Do not show how words are connected, similar and/or different from concepts they know. That is work they can obviously do on their own. Have thesaurus will misuse words.
8. Be sure they do not hear the words more than twice. Who cares if they can say them. They have that schwa thing to help them know how to pronounce it.
9. Do not ever show them how to change the word with prefixes or suffixes. Students worth their salt can figure out that on their own. Inlogical anyone?
10. Make the lists long. There are lots of vocabulary words to know. The more you present- the more they will forget.

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