Centre Combined TESOL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

J. S. - South Africa said:
Dictionary TrainingImagine that you are learning english in school for the first time whether you’re young or mature. You start reading a story and all of a sudden very frightening, unknown words appear. Words such as “conversation” or “mystery.” What do you do? To answer that there is no tool more useful and necessary than a dictionary. With over one million words, the dictionary will increase the speaking and writing accuracy, vocabulary, and general ability to understand new material. It has been proven to improve grades because students get in the habit of looking up anything that is strange. But how do you use a dictionary? The process begins with a general familiarization of the dictionary. The first step is to become adept with the alphabet. The book is arranged alphabetically and it is important to take note of the desired word as a reference. Lets say that there is an english as Foreign Language student named Boris. He is trying to find the word “responsible.” He would also make note that it began with “r.” The next step is to open the dictionary to the letter’s section and identify the guidewords on the top of the page. The top left corner guideword is the first word and the right corner is the last word of the page. In this case, Boris finds “Respighi” on the left and “restitution” on the right. Then one has to narrow down the words by looking at each consecutive letter in the word. The student, Boris, looks from “r” to “e” to “s” and so on until he finally finds the word. It is very advisable at this point to suggest consulting the dictionary’s guide for abbreviations and identifying similar sounds. For beginners it may be necessary that a teacher show how it’s done and allow the student to practice looking up words. Once the word is found how can the dictionary help? Obviously, every entry includes the definition but it has many more elements. It shows how to pronounce the word and where the stressed syllables are located. An example of this would be “re-spon-si-ble” where the underline highlights the stress. Another critical part is the symbol pronunciation but before looking at the phonetics of the word everyone should consult the dictionary’s guide. In addition, it might explain the usage, synonyms, example sentences, plurals, and other varieties in other english forms. There may even be an explanation of where the word originated. What happens if the definition has more than one option? This is a common problem and understanding the context of the word desired best solves it. Many students examine how its read in a sentence, write it out several times, and even use a process of elimination to find the right definition. Ultimately, it comes down to if it helps to explain the word in question. The words in a dictionary can be use more than just for looking up. They can also be used to improve letters, official reports, geographical data, statistical information, and other facts. For those who are learning english as a foreign language it may be beneficial to use a dictionary in conjunction with a bilingual dictionary. In today’s technologically advanced world, the dictionary still plays an important role in education and reference. Online search engines add the convenience of audio and vague request assistance. However, many people have still need computer training in order to make it useful. schools have incorporated games for students to learn how to use a dictionary. For example, the guessing game establishes one person as the definition reader and the class has to postulate the word. Or the true or false game gets students to identify whether a word exists or not. Although, others use the dictionary to study the differences between British and American english or the informal slang that deviates from the formal usage. The options are endless with the use of an up-to-date dictionary and an active imagination.

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