Author Topic: Teaching Collocations with COCA  (Read 10206 times)

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salinmiso

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Teaching Collocations with COCA
« on: August 25, 2011, 10:00:27 PM »
Topic: Collocations
Level: Advanced ESL Writing Class (College level)
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Objectives
: Students will be able to...
 
  • understand the concept and importance of collocations;
  • know how to use various functions of Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) to study collocations
Note: Preparation needed before class (preferred)
 Register to COCA website, http://www.americancorpus.org, before class and familiarize yourself with basic functions. (Students also need to register in order to continue using the corpus after the first 10-15 queries)

 
 Teacher Instructions:

 1. (20 minutes) Understanding Collocations: Hand out “Collocation Worksheet” to students. Go over definitions and examples with students. Then, have them do the simple practice. Emphasize the importance of learning collocations when learning a new word or phrases. Here is the teacher's version of the worksheet.
 
 2. (10 minutes) How to Improve Collocations: Ask students how we can avoid bad collocations in writing and what they have tried so far to do this. Answers may vary: build up your intuition by a lot of reading, ask native speakers, use google search engine, or use a collocational dictionary. Discuss pros and cons of each method.
 
 3. (20 minutes) COCA Tutorial: Introduce the concept and usage of a corpus concordancer as a collocational dictionary and explain how it can be useful in searching for appropriate collocations. Then, go to COCA website, http://www.americancorpus.org. Explain various display options and types of queries using explanations provided in the teacher’s guide, p.2. As you explain each function, demonstrate how it works on the website.
  4. (30 minutes) COCA Exercises: Have students complete COCA exercises Step 1~4 using COCA. You may refer to the "detailed teacher's guide" to help students solve problems.   

Materials:

Collocations Worksheet (Student)

Collocations Worksheet (Teacher)

COCA Worksheet (Student)

COCA Worksheet (Teacher)


Sources:
Zimmerman, C. (2009).  Word Knowledge.  New York: Oxford University Press Davis, M. (2010). Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) http://corpus.byu.edu/coca
This lesson plan has been modified from "Collocations" lesson created by Jin Kim, available in UIUC ESL 500 TA Resources.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 10:01:13 PM by salinmiso »

Offline kovajou

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Re: Teaching Collocations with COCA
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 07:33:51 PM »
  COCA for ESL students
 
I think that COCA is a very useful tool that could help ESL/EFL students to learn vocabulary.  It could also make vocabulary and collocations teaching easier for an ESL teacher. I heard about this tool a year ago but did not dare to use it until our last class.  I was very exited to learn how to use this collocations database, though it seems that the complexity of it could be difficult to master in a short period of time. When I tried it myself in class, I realized that it was not as easy as it seemed based on the demonstration.             
The fact that this is an on-line database that one could “play” with in order to produce different combinations of collocating words, could be very attractive for our computer savvy tutees. For example, in my native language, Russian, a word collocating with “debate” would also be "hot” (not “heated”), and besides, it would be mostly used in its plural form (“hot debates”).  So for a native Russian low intermediate ESL student, COCA would be a great opportunity to check if he/she translates literally from his native language into English.  Also, a lesson, attempting to teach collocations with the aid of COCA, could be a great hit with our mostly engineering ESL students. However, I would not feel comfortable teaching something that I still don’t know how to use myself.  And it seems to me that one could spend almost an unlimited time trying to figure this thing out.

Offline jbrenna2

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Re: Teaching Collocations with COCA
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 05:35:55 PM »
Jin,
 
You had a nice and very useful presentation. I hope to use this lesson sometime when I am working with advanced learners. Were you able to use the diagnostics I gave you? Are you doing research on diagnostic exams?

Offline kristinbouton

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Re: Teaching Collocations with COCA
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2011, 09:36:21 AM »
I adapted this activity and am trying it with intermediate students today. We'll see how it goes! Thanks for the handouts they were very useful.

Offline jbrenna2

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Re: Teaching Collocations with COCA
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2011, 12:07:47 PM »
Jin I am going to attempt your lesson today with my 300 intermediates. I also converted your worksheets to a slideshow. See attached. We are covering gerunds as the object of prepositions and I thought this may be a good time to introduce COCA. Also, just so you know, Andy and some of the folks at the IEI are making a "COCA Video" a play on the song "At the Copa, Copa Cabana"
Wow look at those moves! Go Barry!
Don't watch too much Barry or you might get hooked.