NORTHAMPTON, MA – Research shows that a student’s working vocabulary is a strong predictor of his or her success in school. But teachers know that engaging students in learning lists of vocabulary words is easier said than done.
Many students learn new words just long enough to repeat them back on a test, but over time, they slip out of their vocabulary.
Teachers who attended Cultivating Academic Language for Diverse Learners workshop last month, however, say their students are engaging with and enjoying language in a whole new way. The training was presented by Claire White, founder of the Word Generation technique for teaching vocabulary.
White’s technique focuses on teaching new words that are embedded in short passages about social and cultural issues that students find interesting and relevant. According to White, all students, particularly those who are struggling readers or learning English, are more likely to develop lasting knowledge of new words if they learn and use them in meaningful contexts.
Therese Chehade, a fifth grade EL teacher at Wildwood Elementary School in Amherst, put the Word Generation technique to the test with some of her fifth grade students shortly after the workshop.
So far, the results have been very positive. “The kids are responding well to it,?” Chehade said, “It has given me and them a chance to really look at language and the different meanings of words in different contexts, which is very useful.”
Cultivating Academic Language for Diverse Learners was coordinated through the Collaborative’s Center for English Language Learning (CELE). CELE offers a wide range of consulting and professional development programs to meet the needs of educators and others working with English Learners, World and foreign language learners, and students who struggle to learn.
For more information about CELE visit: http://www.collaborative.org/programs/english-language