Bring one new word to class

Hello colleagues, It's true that everyone's passive vocabulary is much larger than their active vocabulary; in other words, we understand a lot more words than we use. I've always been interested in supporting learners to actually use more of the words they are learning. I've also long wanted to find ways to support students to learn words from the language rich environment they are immersed in.

One way I have tried to provide a structure for these goals is by asking learners to bring one new word to class that they encountered outside of class. I provide students with a small slip such as the one below. This example is the one I've used with beginning-level students.

new word, translation, Where did I learn the word? Write a sentence using the word.









When students come to class, I offer feedback on their sentence. They then share their new word with a partner. One thing I've learned from engaging learners in an activity like this is that they often bring words to class that are common idioms from TV or that they hear from neighbors or people at work, etc. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this activity and any other ideas for supporting learners to use the words they are learning. Some members will be interested in checking out this TESOL blog post by A. C. Kemp on a similar topic, "7 Steps to Increasing Active Spoken Vocabulary."

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP