Want your students love the teaching? let them explore the learning strategies first!



Long time ago, I thought I could possibly learn new things just by reading what others have said, yet continuing with this myths made me read more works and develop my own learning strategy. The basic reason and motive to write this blog is that I want to discuss a very crucial topic that hasn’t been giving much attention in language learning. So let’s probe this topic deeper.

In language learning, “Self-regulation comprises such processes as setting goals for learning, attending to and concentrating on instruction, using effective strategies to organize, code, and rehearse information to be remembered, establishing a productive work environment, using resources effectively, monitoring performance, managing time effectively, seeking assistance when needed, holding positive beliefs about one’s capabilities, the value of learning, the factors influencing learning, and the anticipated outcomes of actions, and experiencing pride and satisfaction with one’s efforts.” (cited in Oxford, 2011, Dale H. Schunk and Peggy A. Ertmer, 2000, p. 631).

For several years, I have been busy exploring what I need to know to help me boost my language learning faster. And that was just as the traditional way of learning. By this, I mean that it was not fun at all to use your own style to flourish and enrich your learning capacity. The best in intellectual learning comes from making good strategies to learn new things faster and to retain them for the longer term. Every person on earth has and should develop his or her own self-learning strategy to master new knowledge. Learning in this personalized way will help more later, because you will realize that a learning strategy connects you more fully with the world around you. However, the influence and permanent effect of any strategy comes from constant and rigorous use of it over a long period of time. The growing need for language learning strategy came for one central reason which is vocabulary. This is true fundamental which vocabulary learning remain the most important aspect in learning new language.

The first time I thought of writing about vocabulary, I imagined how a language could work without vocabulary, or what if language users had only a very limited vocabulary? But also, the most crucial question is how can language learners build an infinite set of vocabulary to be a successful and competent at a certain language? While these questions and others may pop up in a new language learner’s mind, especially one who has just started to learn a language (whether their first or second), it is undoubtedly the case that learning vocabulary is a key element of skills we need for life communication. My attention and focus on this topic is specifically on one issue that I overcame during my second language learning process, in which I learned the English language, but it also showed up while I was a third language learner, of Spanish. My first empowerment flashlight for this strategy of learning vocabulary, named Vocab-Backup Strategy VBS, is my above-mentioned quotation: “I must build a library (of mine) to learn knowledge, but (first) I must build words to learn a language.” At that time, I was thinking of how best to articulate my past experiences as a language learner. Also, I wrote that quote to keep my goal and strategy alive in my mind. A simple slogan can help one to better understand what he or she is doing.

Then my language-learning story began. I had so many general questions in mind as I thought carefully about vocabulary strategy, especially how to build a new approach for better and sufficient vocabulary knowledge. You may be interested to learn this as well. Vocabulary acquisition as a field of study did not get much attention until the early 1980s. But what was popular then was like not using learning tool for the learners themselves. At that time, vocabulary learning was known “as a ‘neglected aspect’ of language learning” after Paul Meara, in 1980, characterized its negligence in second language acquisition research. Paul Meara was right! No one considered or developed ideas in this field as a learning resource and thought of how learners used their own strategies to learn a language. On one hand, research on vocabulary shows that the volume of vocabulary acquired by native English speakers is almost 1,000 words annually before college level, after which it becomes 2,000 words per year. On the other hand, for English as a Second Language learners, the vocabulary game is different than that played by those who pick up English as a native language. For these learners, the study of vocabulary acquisition for them must be doubled, especially when they intend to learn English for the academic purposes.

The independent study of vocabulary is undeniably essential to learning a second language, when every moment of life is full of words scattering into our ears. In doing so, students must pick the right strategy to accomplish a better understanding of the new texts they read. Hence, we might ask how ESLs study vocabulary, and which strategy do they follow? Once we have learned the possible strategies they might use, we should also ask which of these strategies are most effective. The most common strategy emphasized by learners is called cognitive or mental strategy. In this strategy, learners pick up new words by understanding basic meaning, categorizing them, and putting them in groups. There are also some vocabulary learning strategies used for teaching K-12 English learners. Teachers of these grade levels have introduced several vocabularies learning strategies, such as Total Physical Response (TPR), Webtools for Learning Vocabulary, Read-Alouds, and list-group-label. These tools can be used at many levels, from beginners up to self-assessment vocabulary strategy. However, in my theoretical and practical view of learning vocabulary, I saw the need to build a special strategy to assist ESLs from an ESL learner’s perspective. My strategy would foster mindful thinking and overcome the writing tasks so common at the earliest levels of their language development. I call this strategy Vocab-Backup.” To read more about my work, you can explore my book on Amazon titled “Vocab-Backup Strategy: 5 sequential self-learning steps to boost your vocabulary knowledge”



2 thoughts on “Want your students love the teaching? let them explore the learning strategies first!

  1. Hello, sir. Thank you so much for sharing.
    But as a student, I really don’t like open the dictionary to learn vocabulary on it.
    So, what should I do for this? Actually, I love English..
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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