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THE USE OF EXPLANATORY DICTIONARY AT THE ENGLISH LESSON.

2009.12.14
THE USE OF EXPLANATORY DICTIONARY AT THE ENGLISH LESSON.

The use of explanatory dictionary is not a frequent occurrence at the lessons. Occasionally, many teachers forget about the resources that primarily are considered to be “native speakers”. Some people believe that the explanatory dictionary was exclusively made for Americans or Englishmen, or for some students of philological department but not for us, simple Russians. In fact, all of these are seen as huge mistakes and it would be wonderful if we, teachers of English and you, students could look at this great “invention” in a new fashion. For this reason, I will provide you with some examples how to maximize a dictionary's usefulness referring to experience of mine and my colleagues.

 

Firstly, the dictionary can be used as a handy tool to start the lesson-“warming-up” and you can apply this in both ways, teaching English online or in real time. Before the lesson, the student chooses the word in advance in the Longman Active Study dictionary and then writes out or learns by heart a dictionary phrase about this word. The”leader” (it can be you or your student) tells you the first letter of his/her word and the dictionary phrase. The other player of the game has to guess the word. Then you change the roles. The simple game helps students get understanding of the word by its definition and it also helps broaden the student`s vocabulary.

 

Secondly, with great help of dictionary you can keep individual Vocabulary Books. In these books students keep a record of new words (for active usage) learnt at each lesson. Next to each new word, students are advised to put:

 

  1. the word definition
  2. grammar information (transitive, countable, irregular, plural, etc.)
  3. any types of collocations (verb+gerund,etc.)
  4. illustration of the word taken from the coursebook (or from any another source) and one example made on his/her own. For such work it`s quite difficult to overestimate the use of dictionary. Vocabulary Books help students see and realize the multiformity,combinatorics and polysemy of the English language.

 

Apart from that, in Longman Active Study dictionary you will see that the “active words”- the words which are frequently used in the English language, are put in italics. In other words, these 3000 vocabulary items have to become a remembered part of your natural vocabulary. While teaching English over phone they also might be very effective. In order “to activate” these words you can take this exercise into consideration. You write out (in our case you type over Skype) 5 words. Then you give 5-7 minutes to find/remember the following information on each word: the part of speech, pronunciation and an example. After that a student has to “familiarize” you with these words.

 

On each dictionary page there is helpful information on grammar or some particular use cases of words. Give your students the opportunity to scrutinize the help articles in a better way. In some cases this task can work as a revision. But sometimes students can also extract absolutely unexpected novelties from this useful activity.

 

In the end, I would like to add that this dictionary has a built-in workbook that can help you do some tasks. The dictionary also has a CD-disk that stores all its material. You can offer your students to work on vocabulary not only with the help of the book but also with a CD-disk.

 

They like working in this way very much, so it means that in any English course they get a lot of enjoyment from learning how to use the dictionary.

 

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