Episode 30: Specific Word Learning

For the majority of my teaching career, I have been teaching vocabulary using the specific word learning technique. According to the Vocabulary Handbook, this technique falls under intentional vocabulary teaching. Hence, many of the passages from our anthologies and basal readers utilize specific word learning as an intentional instructional approach to teaching vocabulary.

Based on the figure above, vocabulary instruction is generally centered around specific word instruction and word-learning strategies. Still, according to Stahl and Nagy (2006), the majority of the words that students learn are incidental. Hence, in order to build word consciousness, there should be a balance between incidental vocabulary learning and intentional vocabulary teaching. “Vocabulary is closely associated not just with intelligence, but also with knowledge” (Stahl and Nagy, 2006). Hence, when vocabulary is taught, then students are given the gift of knowledge and power, what Foucault called, Power/Knowledge.

Reference:

Diamond, L., & Gutlohn, L. (2009). Vocabulary handbook. Baltimore, Md: Brookes.

Stahl, S. A., & Nagy, W. E. (2006). Teaching word meanings.

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