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Teaching vocabulary through different learning styles

Two school girls playing games

Helen Stepanova is an English language teacher, teacher trainer and author, currently working as a Business English teacher in Latvia. Here she talks about teaching vocabulary using different learning styles.

Nowadays vocabulary teaching seems of especially great importance. The English language is becoming more and more popular all over the world in all spheres of social life. Therefore any individual who wants to succeed in our business world has to be able to speak English.

English teaching / learning is a hard and many-sided process, where both participants – learners and teachers – should follow certain rules. Only through mutual co-operation are good results possible.

Knowledge of vocabulary seriously influences the knowledge of the foreign language in general. The more words a person knows the more secure he/she feels himself/herself, the more willing he/she is to communicate.

How to memorise new words? How to make it easier for the students to perceive new words and to keep them in mind for a long time?

According to the physiologists there are three ingrained learning styles of perceiving new information, so-called VAK styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.

The teacher can try to help his/her students to define their styles of perception and to facilitate them to memorise new foreign words using the techniques most appropriate for their learning styles.

Visual style

This style suggests that students turn the words into pictures as they have a great visual memory. 35% of students have such style.

Auditory style

This style suggests that students perceive the world through sounds of voice, its tone and timbre. 25% of students possess this style.

Kinaesthetic style

This style allows students to perceive the information through feelings, emotions, instincts, contacts; their muscles play a huge role in learning.  40% of students have such style.

In reality the pure type is rather rare, however it is often the case that students have a blended style – visual-kinaesthetic or visual-auditory. Knowing the students’ style the teacher can choose the most appropriate tools and tasks to teach the students.

I have been working as a teacher for more then 14 years and have collected a number of techniques that have been extremely useful in helping to teach vocabulary.
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