Lesson 2: Rethinking the Place of Vocabulary

Pedagogical Sequences

A typical pedagogical sequence for vocabulary learning often contains multiple progressions. For example, there is often a progression from receptive skills to productive skills combined with a progression from decontextualized to contextualized vocabulary.

From Input to Output

Following Lee and VanPatten (2003), we advocate the principles of Processing Instruction, an input-oriented approach to grammar instruction, to the teaching of vocabulary. Within processing instruction, learners must understand the meaning of the words in order to perform a given task. Early input-based activities that emphasize receptive skills slowly give way to output-based activities that require production.


From input to output.

Duration: 02:48

From Vocabulary Lists to Words in Context

The second kind of vocabulary progression focuses on the level of contextualization of a vocabulary word. Learners first encounter vocabulary words in minimal contexts such as vocabulary lists. As the sequence progresses, learners encounter the same vocabulary items in more richly contextualized speech and written texts.


From decontextualized vocabulary lists to contextualized speech samples.

Duration: 01:15