Coursebooks and materials - Dictionaries

 

The next item we're going to consider is the use of dictionaries and here perhaps the first thing we should do is to make a distinction between the two main types of dictionary and that distinction is between the monolingual and the bilingual dictionary. In a monolingual dictionary you have a word and its associated meaning and those two are both described for example in English so the word and the description of that word are both given in English. Whereas in a bilingual dictionary that word meaning could often be for example the word given in English and the explanation given in Thai and vice versa. So what can we use a dictionary for? Well, within the dictionary itself obviously we can get things like how words are spelled or the spelling of the word. We can also get the pronunciation of that word because most dictionaries will involve the phonemic symbols that go along with that word and it's very helpful for the students to be able to pronounce it correctly. It can also give us ideas on what part of speech that that particular word can be used for. So quite often after the word in the dictionary there will be letters like N or ADV for noun and adverb and so on and so forth. Another thing that they can do is to sometimes show you a typical context of that word. So with in some dictionaries they actually give example sentences showing how that word can fit into context. It's quite important that we don't allow students to overuse the dictionary within the classroom itself but having said that there are some very useful homework activities that we can get the students to do by using their dictionary which is much more suitable.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

Unit 3 concentrated on various different English teaching approaches and methods, with the conclusion that a combination of methods gives the desired flexibility to avoid predictability and boredom during lessons, as well as allowing the teacher to tailor make lessons to the specific ability and needs of their student(s). Practice has shown that in general, students benefit from a stress free learning environment, where they are given as much exposure to the language as possible, facilitated by a certain amount of input from the teacher. Giving the students maximum encouragement to discover the language by themselves, most importantly through communicative tasks and thought-provoking questions, will increase the learning possibilities and student engagement. Next, we were given instructions on how to plan a lesson as per the ESA concept of 'Engaging' a student first, as a warm up to the upcoming lesson. In this phase, we would like to give each student equal opportunity to use the English language, either by sharing experiences or going through warm-up activities, getting them involved and interested. In this phase, we teachers refrain from correcting mistakes. It is paramount to increase the student talk time. Next is the 'Study' phase, where we will focus on teaching the language point or information, and how it is constructed. Important here is eliciting information from the students, which can be helped by using activities such as drawings, lists, miming games and gap fills. Again, the aim is to maximize student talk time. This phase is aimed at teaching new or correct points of language, and to correct any mistakes that have become apparent during the lesson thus far. Following on from the 'Study' phase is the 'Activate' phase, where students are encouraged to make fluent use of existing and newly learned language points and structures. We would like to see them use English freely and with as little restriction as possible, which can be facilitated by activities such as role-play, debates, communication games and story building. Towards the end, information is given on how to correct written work, which I found immensely practical and helpful. The supplied coding relates to issues such as tense, spelling and word order.

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