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  • Oxford's teachhing methods of english language

    4. f ., to be led by the nose

    5. b ., to be all eyes

    6. c ., to be two-faced.

    II. Translate into English (the translated sentences should be the


    1. He is soft in the head.

    2. She is two-faced, always criticizes me behind my back.

    3. Mark has a sweet tooth, so he is not too slim.

    4. Will you hold your tongue if I tell you something?

    5. Why are you such a loose mouth?

    6. Don't be nosy! This is none of your business.

    Analysis of the results. Group I received an average mark of 3.9 as

    compared to 3.4 obtained by group II. In other words, the group which had

    learned vocabulary through games performed significantly better. However,

    it is especially interesting and surprising that group II also received

    high scores for the game. Even though learners in group I had the material

    presented by means of translation, most students got better marks for the


    Summing up. Even though the results of one activity can hardly lead to

    informative conclusions, I believe that the results suggest that the use of

    games for presentation of new vocabulary is very effective and enjoyable

    for students. Despite the fact that the preparation of a game may be time-

    consuming and suitable material may be hard to find, teachers should try to

    use them to add diversion to presentational techniques.

    Revising vocabulary

    Many sources referred to in this article emphasise the importance of

    vocabulary revision. This process aims at helping students acquire active,

    productive vocabularies. Students need to practise regularly what they have

    learnt; otherwise, the material will fade away. Teachers can resort to many

    techniques for vocabulary consolidation and revision. To begin with, a

    choice of graphs and grids can be used. Students may give a definition of a

    given item to be found by other students. Multiple choice and gap filling

    exercises will activate the vocabulary while students select the

    appropriate response. Teachers can use lists of synonyms or antonyms to be

    matched, sentences to be paraphrased, or just some words or expressions in

    context to be substituted by synonymous expressions. Doing cloze tests will

    show students' understanding of a passage, its organisation, and determine

    the choice of lexical items. Visual aids can be of great help with

    revision. Pictures, photographs, or drawings can facilitate the

    consolidation of both individual words as well as idioms, phrases and

    structures. There is also a large variety of word games that are "useful

    for practising and revising vocabulary after it has been introduced"

    (Haycraft). Numerous puzzles, word squares, crosswords, etc., are useful

    especially for pair or group work.

    I shall now present the games I have used for vocabulary revision.

    Description of the group. I gave teachers a questionnaire to determine

    their view of using games for vocabulary teaching. In response to the

    questionnaire, many teachers said they often used games for vocabulary

    revision. Some claimed they were successful and usually more effective than

    other methods. To see if this is really true, I decided to use a crossword

    puzzle with a group of first year students.

    The crossword puzzle. After completing a unit about Van Gogh, students

    wanted to expand their vocabulary with words connected with art. The

    students compiled lists of words, which they had learnt. In order to revise

    the vocabulary, one of the groups had to work out the crossword puzzle.

    Students worked in pairs. One person in each pair was provided with part A

    of the crossword puzzle and the other with part B. The students' task was

    to fill in their part of the puzzle with the missing words known to their

    partner. To complete the activity, learners had to ask each other for the

    explanations, definitions, or examples to arrive at the appropriate

    answers. Only after getting the answer right could they put it down in the

    suitable place of their part of the crossword. Having completed the puzzle,

    students were supposed to find out what word was formed from the letters

    found in the shaded squares.

    Students enjoyed the activity very much and did not resort to

    translation at any point. They used various strategies to successfully

    convey the meanings of the words in question-e.g., definitions, association

    techniques, and examples. When everyone was ready, the answers were checked

    and students were asked to give examples of definitions, explanations,

    etc., they had used to get the missing words.

    The other group performed a similar task. Students were to define as


    I. Define the following words: shade, icon, marker, fresco, perspective,

    hue, daub, sculptor, still life, watercolor, palette, background.

    II. Find the words these definitions describe:

    1. a public show of objects

    2. a variety of a colour

    3. a wooden frame to hold a picture while it is being painted

    4. a pale or a delicate shade of a colour

    5. a picture of a wide view of country scenery

    6. an instrument for painting made of sticks, stiff hair, nylon

    7. a painting, drawing, or a photograph of a real person

    8. a piece of work, especially art which is the best of its type or the

    best a person has made

    9. painting, music, sculpture, and others chiefly concerned with

    producing beautiful rather than useful things

    10. a line showing the shape (of something)

    11. a person who is painted, drawn, photographed by an artist

    12. a picture made with a pen, pencil, etc.

    Analysis of results. The results show that the crossword puzzle, though

    seemingly more difficult since it required the knowledge of words and their

    definitions and not mere recognition and matching, was easier for 27.4% of

    the learners and granted them more points for this part of the test. For

    the majority of the students (nearly 60%) both activities proved equally

    easy and out of the group of thirteen, eleven students had the highest

    possible score.

    Summing up

    These numbers suggest that games are effective activities as a technique

    for vocabulary revision. Students also prefer games and puzzles to other

    activities. Games motivate and entertain students but also help them learn

    in a way which aids the retention and retrieval of the material (This is

    what the learners stated themselves).

    However, the numbers also show that not everyone feels comfortable with

    games and puzzles and not everyone obtains better results.

    Although one cannot overgeneralise from one game, student feedback

    indicates that many students may benefit from games in revision of



    Recently, using games has become a popular technique exercised by many

    educators in the classrooms and recommended by methodologists. Many

    sources, including the ones quoted in this work, list the advantages of the

    use of games in foreign language classrooms. Yet, nowhere have I found any

    empirical evidence for their usefulness in vocabulary presentation and


    Though the main objectives of the games were to acquaint students with new

    words or phrases and help them consolidate lexical items, they also helped

    develop the students' communicative competence.

    From the observations, I noticed that those groups of students who

    practised vocabulary activity with games felt more motivated and interested

    in what they were doing. However, the time they spent working on the words

    was usually slightly longer than when other techniques were used with

    different groups. This may suggest that more time devoted to activities

    leads to better results. The marks students received suggested that the fun

    and relaxed atmosphere accompanying the activities facilitated students'

    learning. But this is not the only possible explanation of such an outcome.

    The use of games during the lessons might have motivated students to work

    more on the vocabulary items on their own, so the game might have only been

    a good stimulus for extra work.

    Although, it cannot be said that games are always better and easier to cope

    with for everyone, an overwhelming majority of pupils find games relaxing

    and motivating. Games should be an integral part of a lesson, providing the

    possibility of intensive practise while at the same time immensely

    enjoyable for both students and teachers. My research has produced some

    evidence which shows that games are useful and more successful than other

    methods of vocabulary presentation and revision. Having such evidence at

    hand, I wish to recommend the wide use of games with vocabulary work as a

    successful way of acquiring language competence.


    A Useful Device

    by Clara Perez Fajardo

    Has it ever happened that you read or listen to something, and

    shortly afterwards when you want to recall it, you can only remember

    a small part? Have you ever thought of how many interesting ideas you

    have missed, just because you have not taken a few seconds to note

    them down as they occurred to you? Everyday happenings pass through

    time and can never be recalled again if they are not recorded either

    on a tape or with a video camera. But, not many of us have these

    devices always handy. What we do have available is a simple sheet of

    paper, a pencil, and our five senses. Taking notes on what takes

    place not only permits us to remember but also facilitates our oral

    and written communication.

    Regardless of their age or level, students tend to rely too much on

    their memory, instead of taking notes. For this reason, I began

    devising different tasks which demand the recall of facts that the

    students would have only if they had taken notes. The results have

    motivated me to do further research on the topic through interviews,

    reading, and analysis-all the time noting down the information I was


    The note-taking process

    In order to reconstruct a complete account of what one perceives through

    listening, reading, observing, discussing, or thinking, it is necessary to

    take notes either simultaneously with the act of perception or after an

    interval of just a few seconds. We cannot expect to remember everything we

    perceive, and despite the advantages of training our memory, it is better

    to have notes taken at the moment things happen.

    Language educators have approached note-taking from different perspectives.

    McKeating (1981) sees note-taking as a complex activity which combines

    reading and listening with selecting, summarizing, and writing.

    Grellet (1986) advises helping students to establish the structure of a

    text so they can pull out the key ideas and leave out nonessential

    information. Nwokoreze (1990) believes that "it is during the note-taking

    stage that students reach the highest level of comprehension."

    Two main aspects concerning note-taking:

    It involves the combination of different skills, i.e.; listening or

    reading, selecting, summarizing, and writing.

    It requires the selection of relevant information from the nonessential.

    Moreover, most authors see note-taking as a complex activity which must be

    approached gradually. When teaching the skill, Raimes suggests that

    elementary-level students can be given a skeleton outline to work with when

    they take notes, so that their listening is more directed. Advanced

    students can listen to longer passages and make notes as they listen.

    Murray refers to a "rehearsal for writing," which begins as an unwritten

    dialogue within the writer's mind: what the writer hears in his/her head

    evolves into notes. This may be simple brainstorming-the jotting down of

    random bits of information which may connect themselves into a pattern

    later on.

    Note-taking involves putting onto paper the data received through any of

    our senses. These data could range from simple figures, letters, symbols,

    isolated words, or brief phrases to complete sentences and whole ideas.

    Most teachers instruct students to take notes while perceiving . However,

    Nwokoreze insists on the need for first listening long enough to make sure

    the essence of the information is perceived before taking notes. The

    decision on whether the notes are to be taken at the moment of perception

    or shortly afterwards depends on the complexity of the task and the ability

    of the note-taker. Consequently, if we are to take notes with figures,

    letters, or single words to fill in a pre-designed skeleton, we can do it

    at the same time we receive the information; whereas notes which require

    selection, summarizing, and organization ought to be taken later.

    Guided note-taking

    As teachers, we must decide what sort of help our students need for every

    task we assign. The guidance we give for taking notes will depend on

    various aspects. One of them is language level. Raimes suggests providing

    beginners with a skeleton outline to fill in or expand to make their

    listening more directed. She also proposes letting the advanced students

    listen to longer passages and make notes as they listen.

    Guidance provided will depend on the degree of difficulty of the task

    involved. The reasons for taking notes and the follow-up activities are

    also important. If the students only take notes of simple figures, letters,

    or single words as the basis for a discussion to take place immediately,

    they will not need much guidance. But if they are supposed to take notes of

    a higher complexity to use in writing a report for homework, they will need

    more preparation.

    Using note-taking in our classes

    Assuming an extreme position when defining the concept of note-taking, we

    can say that even checking or ticking items on a list is a form of note-

    taking, as long as what students have to "tick" represents the content of

    the reading or listening passage. If we give students a multiple-choice

    exercise, a list, or Yes/No questions, and ask them only to tick the

    correct answer, they will be taking notes. This could be considered the

    most basic form of note-taking. Nevertheless, if we analyze the task in

    detail, we find it is not as simple as it seems. To answer accurately, the

    students will first have to understand the statements and determine whether

    their choices are correct or not. Furthermore, they have to predict and

    speculate about what they are going to perceive.

    When revising any topic we may practice it and use this technique giving

    students a skeleton to fill in while listening. Example:

    |Hypertension |

    |Instructions: |

    |Listen to the interview with the patient and tick (v) the correct |

    |answer: |

    |Patient's |Mrs. Kelly. | |

    |name: | | |

    |Main |high blood pressure headache | |

    |Symptoms: | | |

    | |dizziness | | |

    |Other |obesity |blurred vision | |

    |Symptoms: | | | |

    | |trouble breathing |swollen ankles | |

    | |urinary problems |pain in the back | |

    | |chills and fever | | |

    |Past |heart disease |chest pain | |

    |History: | | | |

    | |kidney infection | | |

    |Family |hypertension |diabetes | |

    |History | | | |

    | |kidney disease |stroke | |

    | |heart attack | | |

    |Any other information? |

    With this last question, we are prompting the students to note down

    other information, not limiting them only to what the chart asks for. Not

    all the students will be able to take further notes, but the most skilled

    will not get bored while their classmates are engaged at a more elementary


    Another instance that calls for note-taking is reporting on medical cases.

    To do this, the class may be divided into teams of three or four students.

    Each team prepares a case for the others to analyze. One variant would be

    having each team first brainstorm, then prepare a skeleton outline with the

    sort of information they need the other team to provide in order to write a

    full case report. Once ready, they exchange skeletons, brainstorm again,

    and note down the information the skeleton forms ask for. The teams should

    give neither the diagnosis nor the treatment. As soon as they finish, they

    swap these "problem-cases," analyze them, and confer on the diagnosis,

    treatment, and prognosis of the patient. Next, they write a full case

    report that everyone reads and discusses. The class then moves around,

    reads, and comments on them. Finally, they decide which of the skeleton

    forms are better and which reports are the most coherent and faithful to

    the information provided.

    A simpler variant would be having each team ask for the information orally

    from one another, take notes on it and then report on the case orally or in


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