Intermediate learners of a foreign language tend to share certain features of beginners and those more advanced. On the one hand, they have learnt a considerable number of foreign language words and expressions, but on the other hand they still need teachers’ help in order to produce the target language. It seems that teaching intermediate learners is like raising a child who is not prepared to live on his own and still heavily relies on parental assistance. Teachers act as students’ “parents” and help them to achieve “maturity” so that they could become more independent and use freely the target language. One of the key factors to achieve this goal is acquiring a sufficient vocabulary size that enhances learners’ language learning process. Contrary to beginners, who are very enthusiastic about meeting new words and expressions in a foreign language, and advanced learners, who have gained a considerable vocabulary size and are able to use it effectively and this gives them a sense of satisfaction as they can perform well when doing different kinds of activities in the classroom, intermediate learners are no longer so motivated to acquire a foreign language vocabulary items because “[they] have become aware of the difficulties. Their efforts may bring less satisfaction, fewer rewards” (French Allen 67).
The United States still represents to the rest of world a land of opportunities. Immigration occurs when people from all part of the world make their way here to start new lives, find their new jobs or build new homes. Some leave their country to flee from oppression and injustice. Some want a life to escape poverty. Now the English Language Learners in America school constantly growing percent of ...
This does not necessarily imply that teaching vocabulary to intermediate groups is troublesome experience because teachers can encourage their students to use foreign language words and expressions in effective ways. Then students may be highly involved in the lessons and learning a foreign language may become a memorable experience.
Teaching vocabulary to different level groups requires various sorts of techniques that best apply to a particular group. It is obvious that teachers should not use long definitions of unknown words when teaching beginners, but rather short and easy explanations. As far as intermediate learners are concerned, a key way to make them eager to use and learn the target language is showing different human situations using pictures because it often interests students and makes them imagine what happened before the moment in the picture, or what might happen next. Pictures that suggest a story can be really valuable because when discussing such stories learners want to learn new words in order to express their ideas. This gives them an opportunity to use new vocabulary and a see how it is used in different contexts. Learning new words without using them in contextualised situations that best show words’ meaning does not account for building a working vocabulary. Wilga Rivers clearly expresses this view:
Excessive vocabulary learning in the course gives students the impression that the most important thing about learning is accumulating new words as equivalents for concepts which they can already express in their native languages. They often fail to realize that meaning is expressed in groups of words and in combinations of language segments, and that the meaning of an individual words is usually difficult to determine when it is separated from a context of other words and phrases. (254)
Acknowledgments: This work gratefully acknowledges the help of many individuals, who had contributed in doing this study. First, I would like to thank my module coordinator Mrs. Sanghvi for her effective feed back on my papers. Second, I would love to thank my family and especially my father Dr. Talib for his support of my work. Also thanks for every effort that has been made by my uncle Mr. ...
Wilga Rivers suggests that teachers should concentrate on involving their students in different sorts of discussions where the meaning of new vocabulary items is clearly presented. Pictures shows authentic situations and set a context and discussing situations on them may serve as the best way of activating new words. As they are not as motivated to language learning as beginners and advanced learners, they expect immediate rewards. The ability to use correctly words that were previously unknown to them may surely serve as a sort of reward.
Undoubtedly, grammar has been the most controversial issue of language learning. Those who advocate the theory that the language learning proces is learning about disagree with the theory of those who claim that language learning is learning a language. The former group has probably as many followers as the latter and the dispute has not been settled over the years. Some learners of a foreign language believe that being unfamiliar with grammar rules of the second may result in inability to formulate correct sentences and being clearly understood. However, even if one does not know perfectly the grammar rules, but one is able to combine appropriate words in a given situation, one is bound to be understood by native speakers.