This is a guest post by Halima from BlackboardEnglish.com.
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I used to teach vocabulary differently than I do now. I taught single words and grammar. I had taught in a classroom setting before I started teaching online. My students learnt all the new words well. I even had tests to help them remember new words. They always did well when they did the tests. However, when they tried to use the vocabulary during a speaking or written activity, they would sound so unnatural. That’s when I started my collocations journey. I started researching, and reading and I found out about the Lexical approach by Michael Lewis. A new approach to teaching vocabulary and grammar. It was the most exciting thing I had read about as a teacher. I started implementing its teachings straightaway.
These are some of the points I found most useful:
- The brain stores and retrieves word chunks quickly
- Collocations are words that sound natural together to native speakers of English
- Collocations help you produce natural English
- It improves your spoken and written fluency
- It helps you to build a larger vocabulary bank
- Successful language is more important that accurate language
What should you do now that you know this information?
- Use a collocations dictionary online and if you can buy a hard-copy (watch my video to help you learn how to use a collocations dictionary)
- Start taking notes of new word chunks
- Start listening and reading more
- Learn the seven different types of collocations and examples and start noticing them (download the poster to stick on your wall)
- Don’t be afraid to start using your English!
I hope this article helps. Send me an email and let me know what you think! HS@BlackboardEnglish.com
Written by Halima from BlackboardEnglish.com.
Lewis, M. (1993). The lexical approach: The state of ELT and the way forward. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications.
The free poster link: