Teaching English Vocabulary to the Fourth Graders of Elementary School
Teaching English to elementary school students as a local content is the students are expected to have skills of the language in simple English with emphasis on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skill using selected topic related to their
Related to the objective above, the material for the fourth grade, most topics are about center of interest that they often face in their life. The topics include things inside a class and things around a school. Those topics are so familiar with students
that may see it everyday when they attend to their school. So, it is easier for them to perform and absorb the words given which are about things inside the class and things around the school.
There is no basic rule on how many words should be given to the fourth graders of elementary school. As ten up to eleven years old children, the fourth graders should not be given too many words. It is better to give them about seven or eight new words at one time. To help the learners in learning foreign language Marry Slaterry and Jane Willis (2003:4) suggest some ways to teach them:
a. Make learning English enjoyable and fun
b. Don’t worry about mistake, be encouraging; make sure children feel comfortable and not afraid to take part.
c. Use a lot of gestures, action, pictures to demonstrate what you mean.
d. Talk a lot to them use English, especially about things they can see.
e. Play game, sing a song, and say rhymes and chants together.
f. Tell simple stories in English, using pictures and acting with different voices.
g. Don’t worry when they use their mother tongue. You can answer a mother tongue question in English and sometimes recast in English what they say in their mother tongue.
h. Consistently recycle new language but don’t be afraid to add new things or to use words they won’t to know.
i. Plan lesson with varied activities, some quiet, some noisy, some
sitting, some standing and moving.
According to the explanation above, I conclude that teaching vocabulary to the fourth graders; teacher should not give the students too many new words in a lesson. It is better to give them about seven or eight new words rather than giving
them many words. It is better to practice the words given in order to achieve comprehension. Few words would help them memorizing the words quickly and to internalize them. In order to help language learners to develop their language ability,
language teacher can refer to the suggestion stated by Marry Slaterry and Jane Willis in their book (2003:4) about how to help young learners in learning English as their foreign language.
Strategy of Teaching Vocabulary to Elementary School Students
Since teaching has not been an easy work, especially in teaching to elementary school students. Teacher is required to be careful in choosing the match teaching strategy to them if he wants to get satisfactory result of teaching.
This study involves “TPR” or “Total Physical Response”, it attempts to teach language through physical (motor) activities that requires the teacher to teach them consists of primary commands, which children (elementary school students) respond
physically before they begin to produce verbal responses. To calm lively students and focus them, I try to use some basic TPR activities, which demand their concentration.
For example, “if you’re ready to start the lesson, touch your head”, “if you’re ready to start the lesson, raise your hands” and so on. Teaching English vocabulary to young learners needs an extra work and an appropriate teaching technique which is adjusted to the students’ need. Many strategies can be applied to teach young learners and give very enjoyable for them in
learning English as a foreign language; one of techniques that are possible to apply is game. It involves the elements of fun that make them really enjoy following the lesson. The way of teaching used to be based on TPR, where it involves an activity dealing with movements and it is very possible to reduce learners’ stress. Moreover, the teacher will be facilitated to create a positive mood to his learners in a class.
On the other side, to encourage students to keep good personal vocabulary records. Just a list of new words that came up in the lesson is not very useful after a couple of days. Olha Madylus (2007) in his article gives some tips on teaching vocabulary that students may find it useful to use any of the following:
b. Examples e.g. furniture e.g. table, chair, wardrobe
d. Definition in English
f. Word within meaningful example sentence (‘I like rollerblading’ does NOT help students remember what rollerblading means, whereas a picture or translation might).
g. Collocation e.g. to apply for a job
h. Diagram or picture e.g. for parts of the body
Reading extensively doesn’t automatically improve students’ use of
vocabulary. To encourage their expansion of vocabulary, get students to collect new words they have learnt and to use them soon in their own writing.
Collect new words learnt in class on large sheets of paper on the classroom walls and refer to them often, encouraging students to use them in spoken and written English.