Thursday, September 21, 2023

How to Teach Vocabulary to Japanese Students

When teaching vocabulary, start with words that are used often in English, as these will be the most useful for the student. And when possible, use visuals. For example, pictures, flashcards, or videos. As they learn new vocabulary words, give the student many opportunities to practice using them.

Encourage the student to use newly learned words in sentences that are about something they know. For example, if they want to remember the word “tall”, they could write a sentence like, “One of the teachers I know is tall.”

Suggest that the student make a vocabulary journal/notebook. They could use it to write new words and their definitions, and perhaps add a picture as well. The student could also write sentences or short stories involving the new words.

Also, research has proven that online games can be used as an effective English learning tool. A 2014 study reported that low-level English learners in Iran who learned new words from an online game performed better on a test than the study participants who did not have access to the online game.

I wrote blog posts about good vocabulary games that your students may enjoy:

Common vocabulary mistakes that Japanese students make include getting confused between similar words, pronouncing words incorrectly, and using them incorrectly.

Pronunciation is one of the most important parts of the English language because no matter how many vocabulary words someone knows, they are useless if the speaker is not understood. When teaching a student how to pronounce a word, it’s very helpful to write out how the word sounds, so that they can get an image of the sound in their mind, which will make it easier for them to pronounce the word. For example, if the student is having difficulty pronouncing “rural”, write this:

Rural = RUR + UHL

And then help the student pronounce each part separately. When they can, then combine both parts into one word, with them repeating after you.

“First part ‘RUR’, second part, ‘UHL’…RUR UHL…RURUHL!”

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