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June 06, 2007

Teaching Tips and Tricks- Mind Maps

Hello Readers,

Back when I did my CELTA course, I remember how eager teachers were to show that they could present vocabulary in an interesting way to the students. Some of the trainees spent hours coming up with riddles about key words and phrases to help elicit the words from the students. While I find elicitation to be an effective method for vocabulary teaching, there are quick ways and incredibly time-consuming ways to do this.

It is well-known that it is easier to remember a set of words that have something in common than a set of random words. While the key words in a text may not always belong to one common group, ...

... often times, at least some of the words do. In order to teach these words, I find drawing up a mind map on the board an effective way to elicit some of the key words for a lesson.

Let's say you have a text about holidays. In the text, the words "all-inclusive", "beach holiday", "honeymoon" and "relaxing" occur. Before having the students read the text, you can simply write "holidays" on the white board, draw a circle around it, and ask the students to describe different kinds of holidays that one could take. Write up the words the students come up with on the WB around the main word (in this case, "holiday"), draw a line from the elicited word to the main word, and draw a circle around the new word. Students will shout out words that aren't in the text; that's fine. Write them up anyway. By doing this, students are testing their own personal vocabulary knowledge, using words that they've learned, and are able to learn from each other. If the students do not come up with the words you're looking for, then you can give hints to get the word out of them. You might be surprised with how easy it is to do this.

What are some other ways you can present vocabulary to the students? Feel free to add your comments below.

Hope that helps!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*For more ESL Tips & Tricks from ESL-Lesson-Plan, please click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students of all ages and levels. She worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at June 6, 2007 12:49 PM

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