When Choosing Vocabulary to Explicitly Teach Teachers Should Consider Which of the Following


When Choosing Vocabulary to Explicitly Teach, Teachers Should Consider Which of the Following

Vocabulary development is a critical aspect of language learning, as it directly impacts students’ reading comprehension, writing skills, and overall communication abilities. As teachers, it is our responsibility to carefully select and explicitly teach vocabulary to ensure that students acquire a robust word knowledge. However, the process of choosing which words to teach can be challenging. In this article, we will discuss some important factors teachers should consider when deciding which vocabulary to explicitly teach.

1. Relevance to the Curriculum:
When selecting vocabulary words, teachers should consider their relevance to the curriculum. Words that are directly related to the topics being taught will aid students in better understanding the content and enable them to express themselves effectively. For example, if teaching a unit on environmental science, words like “ecosystem,” “pollution,” or “sustainability” would be suitable choices.

2. Frequency of Use:
Frequency is another crucial aspect to consider when selecting vocabulary words. High-frequency words, also known as “Tier 1” words, are commonly used in daily language and are essential for effective communication. These words are often simple and can be easily understood by most students. In contrast, low-frequency words, or “Tier 3” words, are more specific and context-dependent. While it is important to introduce lower-frequency words, teachers should prioritize teaching high-frequency words that students are likely to encounter frequently.

3. Word Difficulty:
The difficulty level of vocabulary words should be considered to ensure that students are appropriately challenged. Teachers should strike a balance between introducing new words and overwhelming students with vocabulary that is too difficult for their current proficiency level. It is crucial to scaffold instruction and provide context and examples to support students’ understanding of challenging words.

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4. Relevance to Students’ Lives:
To make vocabulary instruction more meaningful, teachers should consider selecting words that are relevant to students’ lives and experiences. By choosing words that connect to their interests, hobbies, or cultural backgrounds, teachers can enhance student engagement and motivation to learn new vocabulary. This approach helps students see the practical value of the words they are learning, making the learning process more enjoyable and memorable.

5. Support from Authentic Materials:
Authentic materials, such as books, articles, or videos, can provide excellent opportunities for explicit vocabulary instruction. Teachers should consider selecting words that are supported by various authentic materials, allowing students to encounter the words in different contexts. This exposure to vocabulary in real-life situations enhances students’ comprehension and retention of the words.


Q: How many vocabulary words should teachers teach at a time?
A: The number of vocabulary words to teach at a time depends on various factors, including students’ age, proficiency level, and instructional time. Generally, it is recommended to introduce a limited number of words (around 5-10) in a lesson to ensure students can focus on understanding and retaining the words effectively.

Q: Should teachers focus on teaching only academic vocabulary?
A: While academic vocabulary is crucial for students’ success in school, teachers should also prioritize teaching words that are commonly used in everyday life. A balanced approach that includes both academic and everyday vocabulary will provide students with a well-rounded word knowledge, enhancing their overall language proficiency.

Q: How can teachers make vocabulary instruction more interactive and engaging?
A: To make vocabulary instruction interactive and engaging, teachers can incorporate various strategies such as word games, vocabulary journals, group discussions, or multimedia resources. Additionally, encouraging students to use new vocabulary in their speaking and writing activities fosters active engagement and deeper understanding of the words.

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Q: Is it necessary to assess students’ vocabulary knowledge regularly?
A: Regular assessment of students’ vocabulary knowledge is essential to monitor their progress and identify areas that need further instruction. Formative assessments, such as quizzes, vocabulary portfolios, or observations, can provide valuable insights into students’ vocabulary development and inform instructional decisions.

In conclusion, when choosing vocabulary to explicitly teach, teachers should consider factors such as relevance to the curriculum, frequency of use, word difficulty, relevance to students’ lives, and support from authentic materials. By carefully selecting and teaching vocabulary words, educators can empower students with a rich and diverse word knowledge that will enhance their language skills and facilitate meaningful communication.