Teaching Lexically Reflection Paper
Gary Yauri Mayorca November 2012 Lima-Centro ELT Course Reflection Paper: “Teaching Lexically” Having had the opportunity to take different ELT courses, I cannot stress how much methodological-insight I gained upon my successful completion of this course. “What should I emphasize during each lesson-objective? ” and “How will this activity maximize the students learning-awareness? ” This course made me see that these two questions are pivotal to the development of any lesson plan or didactic material to be used by students.
A person’s word bank, Lexis, or Lexicon if you will, is the ultimate means to successfully break a language barrier even if with a poor grammar usage (although the term “poor” could be argued since it can now be considered not as poor but rather as the “inter language” stage between L1 and L2). Why would I be so certain about such claim being based on a single course? I say this because I lived it myself during my experience in the U. S. s a second language learner, when I had to communicate with native speakers in order to get by, using “lexical chunks” that worked effectively time after time while most of the time I really didn’t have a keen understanding of each grammatical structure that held together the “chunk” of Lexis that I used. “How much is this/are these _____? ” “I’d like to have a/an _____ for here / to go, please” How did I know that these expressions were the appropriate ones to use having not had a “formal” classroom explanation of “much vs many” or “I’d like vs I like”? he answer, a “natural” intuitive awareness of high frequency Lexis being used in context right in front of me, most of the time, while waiting in line and listening to those ahead of me having successful exchanges, some other times while sitting on the bus and over hearing language-rich strangers’ conversations, and once again taking such and other opportunities to pick up repetitive random Lexis, thus becoming more aware of the different contexts of different collocations, sometimes used formally, sometimes used in a colloquial manner, sometimes even understanding “made-up” words such as “brunch” (a wholesome late breakfast hat more closely resembles lunch time) or “I need change to use the _____” vs “I need to change _____ (x) so I can _______(y)”. Nowadays, this approach to the natural discovery of language is supported by strong scientific research (e. g. The Corpora program) giving teachers new insight on the way students can better acquire, (therefore making a more solid attempt at communicating effectively with others), making lessons both, more meaningful and engaging to pupils.
Having worked with the Word link series for a year and half, it doesn’t really take an up-close look to notice how much of the “Lexical Approach” is embedded course after course; take for example the “in-context vocabulary“ presented at the beginning of every lesson, the set of useful expressions that can be combined with the previous vocabulary begging for the build-up of lexical chunks which ultimately are to be used at their fullest during the communication activity.
At this point, It is imperative to point out that although the book series present a natural inclination towards the lexical approach, the job is not done there but it’s rather to be taken up by the teacher in order to provide students with the maximum number of opportunities to notice and become aware of the strong link between Lexis and how people really communicate in real life outside the classroom; this way helping students develop a more “educated” language-understanding intuition that can be applied to all four skills, being speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Finally, I would like to thank the institution for allowing me and my colleagues the opportunity to further expand our expertise by providing the chance to take these courses at no other cost but the clash of less effective and more effective teaching notions to be reflected on.