LEARNING AND PLAYING WITH NEW WORDS
By: Solihin Agyl
From many classroom strategies of introducing new words, the following activity might be one of the simplest techniques with relatively short list of teacher?s instructions so that students can directly apply it in one go. This is an initial activity before the students deal, for instance, with a reading text in which most of the words become the essential vocabulary or they are subsequently used in a more contextual activity to develop the students? deeper understanding (Coxhead, 2014).
Prior to the class implementation, teacher prepares 10 words (the smallest number of words to be introduced in one meeting) in slips of paper and in 2 different colors; for instance, Yellow (English words) and Green (Indonesian Words / or other L1 with which most of the students can work well).
Each word is displayed on both sides of the paper; the one with complete spelling shown on the surface (Top View) is the ?Source Word? and the other one spelled with some missing letters?known as the ?Translated Word??is displayed on the other side (Bottom View). See samples in the images: Yellow 1-2. And also the other one with the same word in different color (See Samples in the images): Green 1-2.
Procedure: Estimated total of student: 20 people.
Alternatively, this particular vocabulary build-up technique can also be applied in bigger groups consisting of 10 students, for instance. Nevertheless, out of its simplicity, it is suggested to be implemented in a class of beginner or elementary level.
Furthermore, as most students of this particular level love games, the activity will definitely satisfy their thirst for fun activities which arouse their intense curiosity through the discussion to find, to compare, and to attribute the words (Tarlinton, 2003).
As groups are following the steps as in Procedure, teacher divides the board into 2 divisions for group A and B. Teacher then yells out each word and the representative of each group will immediately have to write down the matching words on the board. The first group can list down all matching words correctly is the winner.??
The word-matching activity, moreover, apparently aims to improve the students? analysis skills through the word-finding discussion in which students attempt to comprehend the vocabulary items and other aspects of the words to explore their understandings and the relationships among the words (Tarlinton, 2003).
In this activity, completely new words are strongly suggested to use as they take a pivotal role to spark the students? curiosity through some features of autonomous and student-centered learning such as noticing, wanting, challenging / taking a risk and experimenting (Paul, 2003).
Noticing is when the students have an opportunity to notice the new words while they are playing. Wanting comes when something attracts their interest and they want to find out more about the words. Challenging or Taking a risk is when the students feel challenged and want to have a try. In their efforts, they are not afraid of making mistakes in which learning process is taking place well. Thus, furthermore, students are carrying out some Experiments with the new words and are eager to learn more.
Otherwise, if students have to deal with every single word they have already known very well in both English version and the translated one, this will be an awfully boring word-matching activity.
In a nutshell, this is a simple yet challenging classroom activity with a simple technique but with a great atmosphere of autonomous and student-centered learning. Teacher can even lead the class to a fun activity with a sense of class / group competition.