Academic challenge 1: Implementing the Lexical Approach (Notes 1)

Hey everyone. It's been so many years I wanted to read this book and I've finally started it this week. So here are my notes on Chapter one and some ideas on how to go about it.

 

Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis

Chapter 1:

What to remember about:

Collocations

  • Collocations is the phenomenon whereby certain words co-occur in natural text with great random frequency
  • Some collocations are more common and co-occur with the same words (fixed collocations) such as make/do a mistake, chase/ miss the bus e.t.c
  • Some others are not fully fixed but can be filled with a limited number of partner-words. 

 Fixed expressions and Semi-fixed expressions

Types to take into consideration.

  • Fixed expressions are rare and many are short, verbless expression in everyday situation Not too bad, thanks
  • Almost fixed expressions, which permits minimal variation It's/That's not my fault. 
  • Spoken sentences with a simple slot: Could you pass…….. please?
  • Expressions with a slot which must be filled with a particular kind of slot-filler. Hello. Nice to see you. I haven't seen you + time expression with for or since.
  • Sentence heads which can be completed in many ways. What was really interesting/ surprising/annoying was. . . .
  • More extended frames such as those for a formal letter or the opening paragraphs of an academic paper. For example, There are broadly speaking two views of. . . . 

(See page 11)

 The significance of Lexis 

' Language consists of grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised grammar' Raf Erzeel, review VVLE Newsletter 3/96

Checklist of some changes in content and methodology:

More attention will be paid to:

  • Lexis- different kinds of multi-word chunks
  • Specific language areas not previously standard in many EFL texts
  • Listening (at lower levels) and reading (at higher levels)
  • Activities based on L1/L2 comparisons and translations 
  • The use of the dictionary as a resource for active learning
  • Probable rather than possible English
  • Organizing learners' notebooks to reveal patterns and aid retrieval  
  • The language which learners may meet outside the classroom 
  • Preparing learners to get maximum benefits from text. 

My reaction and how to go about it. 

I decided to set the next academic goal and implement this approach in my teaching. First I will draw my students' attention to chunks and also find ways to help learners achieve the three highlighted above (A) talk about what is probable in English and not what is possible (B) organize their notebooks (C) and get maximum benefits from texts. 

(A) Organised notebooks:

  • Encourage learners to write down chunks  and avoid writing single words. Example: Instead of writing down the word 'lack', write 'lack of' and common words that follow 'lack of food', lack of money' e.t.c. 
  • The lexical Notebook should be personalised, learners should free to write down lexis that are particularly helpful to them.  
  • Train students to use a dictionary and look up more expressions related with the target word. For example, as seen in Oxford Advance Dictionary, Idioms with lack – not for want/ lack of trying. 
  •  Ask them to formulate their own example, it can be personal or something they made up.
  • Get them to find more examples at home (using the web) or write down more examples. 
  • Give students pre-designed pages to encourage the recording of particular patterns. I am planning to start with the following:  

 

 

(B) Probable English than possible English:

  • Take notes when students are speaking; write down common expressions students usually translate from their L1  but don't sound natural in English.
  • To encourage them do that I adapted the 'Thought-Speech-Bubble from the book (as seen in page 82).   

    
Download the document here  

(C) Get maximum benefit from the texts:

  •  Start of with a discussion related to the topic, a debate or a role play. Write down interesting words,expression or collocations on the whiteboard. Students schematic knowledge will be activate and students learn from one another.
  •  After reading, get students notice patterns, collocations and expression and WRITE them down in their notebook. 
  • Another activity is 'Find the expression that means…..' from the reading texts. In this activity ss work on synonyms and scan the texts to find the answer.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECORDING AND REVISITING

New lexical items should be recycled by students.We therefore, have to encourage ss to look back and do something with the language they recorded. Make sure you ask questions such as:
– What was the word you recorded for……?
– Can you put three expression you put in your notebook last week?  

 To be continued :D………..

 

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