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Using the Academic Word List

Challenges of Teaching Vocabulary

Students come knowing many commonly used words


Know the simplest forms Know the most frequently used meanings of multi-meaning words

Students need content area vocabulary Students also need all-purpose academic words

Category labels Words for thinking Abstract, hard to picture terms

Snow, C.A. (2007). Learning all-purpose vocabulary words. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from www.cal.org/create/downloads/CREATEwebcast_snow9-6-07.ppt

Challenge: Students need all-purpose academic words, e.g.

Words for thinking: hypothesize, evidence, criterion Words for classifying: vehicle, utensil, process

Words for communication: emphasize, affirm, negotiate Words for expressing relationships: dominate, correspond, locate

Snow, C.A. (2007). Learning all-purpose vocabulary words. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from www.cal.org/create/downloads/CREATEwebcast_snow9-6-07.ppt

What is the Academic Word List?


List of 570 words with their families Does not include first 2000 most commonly used English words

Result of Averil Coxheads MA work at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Find a copy at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/wordlists.htm Find lists with families: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/staff/Averil-Coxhead/awl/sublists.html Find list with hyperlinked definitions: http://simple.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Academic_word_list#Sublist_1 Find list with hyperlinked definitions to multiple (25-30) online dictionary definitions: http://elc.polyu.edu.hk/CiLL/eap/wordlists.htm

For detail on the development and evaluation of the AWL, see Coxhead, Averil (2000) A New Academic Word List. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2): 213-238.

Where did the words come from?


Academic corpus covering 28 subjects Corpus had 3.5 million words from journal articles, book chapters, course workbooks, laboratory manuals, and course notes Words divided into 4 main subject headings: Arts, Commerce, Law and Science These were further divided into seven sections each Words additionally had to appear in at least half of the 28 subject areas and be represented in all 4 main areas 94% of AWL words appeared in 20 or more subject areas of corpus

What words were excluded?

First 2000 most commonly used English words

Latin forms et al, etc, ie, and ibid


Proper nouns Words which occurred in fewer than 4 faculty sections of the Academic Corpus or which occurred in fewer than 15 of the 28 subject areas

What are the first 2000?

In part, this is heavily influenced by The General Service List (GSL) created by Michael West in 1953 Words were selected based on frequency and semantic value To see: http://jbauman.com/gsl.html Use of corpora continues to inform vocabulary study

Use any text to teach AWL

http://www.nottingham. ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/ awlhighlighter.htm Enter text Choose word list All words from this list will appear in boldface

http://www.nottingham. ac.uk/~alzsh3/acvocab/ awlgapmaker.htm Enter text Choose words list All words from this list will appear as a gap and words appear as list on bottom of page

How can this be applied to classroom instruction?


Use articles, book passages, benchmark passages Enter text into highlighter and choose AWL 1 Read text together, using context clues to understand meaning Enter text into gap maker Without using highlighted text, can students enter correct word from choices? For texts with AWL words already highlighted: http://www.uefap.com/vocab/exercise/exercise.htm

Research-based Principles of Vocabulary Instruction

Introduce and discuss words Ensure affective engagement Engage students in using the words Ensure recurrent exposures Celebrate successes Encourage experimentation

How do we choose specific words to teach directly?


Use information gleaned from AWL highlighter Choose at random from AWL list Introduce about 5 per week to focus on Direct instruction on Monday Continue to focus on throughout week Use frequently! Whenever possible draw attention to the word in a text Encourage students to use the words in context Create a Word Wall to remind everyone

How can a Word Wall contribute to vocabulary instruction?


Must be visible to all students Must grow organically as well as methodologically Must be consistently referred to by teacher For ideas on dealing with space issues: http://www.eslteachersboard.com/cgibin/articles/index.pl?noframes;read=2625 To see a video of a teacher implementing this strategy: http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewke y=8b375a3269223e13dab5

How do I build a Word Wall?


Choose a format that works for you Half sheets of scrap paper Chart paper White or chalk board

Add words daily. Refer to the words whenever possible. Add words that are directly taught or which come up in discussion of text.

How can the students use the Word Wall?

Students will look to the wall when teacher draws attention to a word Students will remember where the word is, and use the wall as a reminder for recall and for spelling Students can take the burden off the teacher by being responsible for adding that days words

Can students study on their own?


Note cards Computer note cards Vocabulary notebooks Foldables A way of presenting information that is fun and creative For ideas see: http://www.lauracandler.com/reading/VocabF oldDir.pdf

Knowledge Rating Scale Know It Well Word Have Seen or Heard It Have No Clue

Knowledge Rating Scale Word Know It Well Have Seen or Heard It Have No Clue What It Means

How can students learn and remember the meaning of the words? Look up the meanings of the words in the dictionary Link the words to previous knowledge Make a spider diagram for each word For example, a spider diagram for concept could look like this:

What about dictionaries?

Dictionaries are of course useful, but direct instruction on how to use is imperative Have students work in small groups to find meanings Try having dictionary races to decrease amount of time spent looking up words

Which Dictionary?
Lower Levels The Oxford Students Dictionary The Longman Active Study Dictionary The Macmillan Essential Dictionary The Oxford Wordpower Dictionary More advanced levels The Longman Contemporary English Dictionary The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary The Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners The Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary Many dictionaries have study skills pages, CD-ROM and on-line resources for students.

Dictionaries on the Web

Macmillan www.macmillandictionaries.com Oxford University Press www.oup.com/elt/catalogue/teachersites/o ald7/?cc=tr Longman www.longman.com/dictionaries/internation al.html Cambridge University Press http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

Using a Vocabulary Profiler


lextutor.ca Allows us to see what level the words in a text are Can help inform vocabulary instruction

How to use lextutor.ca


Use Internet Explorer as a browser Go to http://lextutor.ca/ In the second column, click on Vocabprofile Click on VP English v. 2.9 Highlight everything in textbox Paste your copied text into box (Control + V) Below textbox on right side, click submit_window Scroll down to see the color coded text

Resources

Waring, R. & Nation, P. (n.d.) Vocabulary size, text coverage and word lists. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.fltr.ucl.ac.be/fltr/germ/etan/bibs/vocab/cup.html Vicotoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. (September 3, 2007). The Academic Word List. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/staff/Averil-Coxhead/awl/links.html McCullah, W. (2003-2007). Word surfing: Recommended vocabulary tests and exercises. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.wordsurfing.co.uk/17.html UEFAP. (n.d.) Vocabulary in EAP: Selecting vocabulary to learn. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.uefap.com/vocab/vocfram.htm English Corner (n.d.) English grammar exercises. Retrieved January 30, 2009 from http://www.angelfire.com/wi3/englishcorner/vocabulary/vocabulary.html#cloze For product information: http://elt.heinle.com/cgitelt/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M80&discipline_number=301&subject_code=VA I02