It is widely known that vocabulary learning is only one aspect in mastering a foreign language. While grammar is important for meaning, without vocabulary no message is conveyed.
Undoubtedly, a rich vocabulary makes the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing easier to perform. Students need to develop their vocabulary base to state their viewpoint and comprehend a speech. As they learn how to use more vocabulary properly, you will see an improvement in their writing and speaking. Unfortunately, new vocabulary is not always fun to learn.
Vocabulary needs to be taught from “natural” environment and exposure must occur in various ways (such as speaking and writing), before students will be able to remember the words. The following ideas and exercises illustrate this point :
Sorting and ranking activities: In the case of learning a list of animals, for instance, learners can separate the new animals by dangerous / not dangerous, or eat / don’t eat meat. For a list of food, learners can rank the food items from those they like most to those they like least. For a list of human feelings and emotions, learners can rank words by positive / negative. For a list of sports, learners can rank them by indoor / outdoor. For a list of job, learners can rank the titles by manual / professional and so on.
Synonyms / Antonyms: These can be effective since this activity is based on words and phrases that students already recognize. So students can be given a dialogue or a text with bold words or phrases. They should read the dialogue and replace the words in bold with their synonyms / opposites from the list. Then they can act a similar dialogue using the given adjectives.
Matching exercises: Students are given a list of words from a text and a list of definitions that need to be matched.
Drawing: For visual students, drawing can be a fun medium to explain new vocabulary. For doing this task you do not have to be a perfect artist, basic sketches will...