ELT Traveller box

about teaching English to young learners, web tools and iPad teaching

Multi-word verbs and young learners

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“Without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed” (Wilkins cited in Thornbury, 2002:13)

(Last year for one of my DELTA assignments I focused on teaching multi-words verbs to young learners, which I think is an important area to reflect and investigate on)

Seven years ago I started teaching English to elementary young learners and one year later also to intermediate young learners preparing for the FCE. Although they are very close in terms of age, their approach to learning vocabulary, especially multi-word verbs (MWVs), is completely different. Younger teenage elementary learners are more curious and enthusiastic towards them, while intermediate students are almost scared.

I have recently asked to both groups why they simply like or don’t like them and the results showed that the elementary group likes multi-word verbs  just because they study them very rarely and when it happens they have the feeling they are using “real” English, while the intermediate group hate multi-word verbs because there are just too many of them.

I have therefore decided to focus on multi-word verbs for elementary learners. First to meet the needs of my students, and secondly because I think it would be challenging and, in a sense, innovating as teacher.

Here is the complete paper:

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