Author Topic: Flash Cards for Vocab  (Read 1098 times)

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Offline ChrisHuh

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Flash Cards for Vocab
« on: May 05, 2015, 07:54:44 PM »
One of my students last semester practiced his vocabulary all the time.  He had flash cards with the word written in English on one side and the definition or translation written on the other side.  It was great that he was eager to learn vocabulary, but his method of learning vocabulary wasn't very useful for him.  In spoken and written production, he consistently misused vocabulary.  Flash cards are a convenient way to practice vocabulary.  One way that Aebersold and Field suggest using flashcards is to include more information on them than just the word and the definition or translation.  They suggest that students write the word, the pronunciation, and a sentence using the word on the front.  On the back of the card, the definition, collocations, and synonyms are written.  Although this would require a bit of work, I think that this is a good way to make sure that students are practicing vocabulary with more context involved.  It could be adapted for lower level students by using pictures and simpler language. 

Aebersold, J., & Field, M.L. (1997). From reader to reading teacher. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 07:55:45 PM by ChrisHuh »

Offline Colleen

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Re: Flash Cards for Vocab
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 10:43:33 PM »
I totally agree with Aebersold and Field (1997)! When I was learning English in China, I did not use flash cards, but I kept an error log for vocabulary and grammar in high school. Since we did a lot of grammatical drills and practices, whenever I made a mistake or encountered something I did not know before, i would write the word or use of grammar down. For vocab, i would write down the word first, and then included the definition, it's commonly used collocation and sometimes synonyms as well. For grammar rules, I would write down not only the rule itself, but also the contexts/ examples that were a bit less common and challenging. This did take some work, but it helped me a lot to review all the necessary words and grammar points before exams. It's a great way for preparing for tests (at least from my experience)! I think it takes several times of reviews before a person can finally internalize the word and grammar points.

Offline KatAnn

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Re: Flash Cards for Vocab
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 11:03:29 AM »
I know this post is from last year, but I think Chris makes an excellent point!  ;)

Offline msmiszoglad

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Re: Flash Cards for Vocab
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 02:56:47 PM »
I think flash cards are a great tool, but as Chris said, only when the collocations and appropriate context is also included on the flash cards.


Also, in addition, flash cards are great not only for vocabulary put in preparation of oral presentations. I think it looks a lot more professional when you are standing on the podium as opposed to holding a sheet of paper. They are also good for just writing down some key terms to remind the presenter of the important points he/she wants to make.


Last semester I taught Business Communication to international students and told my students to try using flashcards instead of printing out their presentation scripts. Students reported to feel as though they had a lot more freedom when presenting and did not feel the need to stick to the script they had written out for their oral presentations.