23 de setembre 2021

Learning to learn; using bilingual dictionaries to learn English

As students grow up and come into the last years of primary school we want them to become more independent learners. The use of bilingual dictionaries in the English and Let's write classes plays an important role in helping our pupils in this process. 

It may seem outdated in this day and age to still be using print dictionaries in the classroom. However, there are some advantages of paper  dictionaries over online dictionaries. Yes, it takes time to look for a word, but in the classroom it’s much easier and faster to pick an actual book than  to have a child get their chromebook, log in, find a decent dictionary (not just the awful google translate) and then find the word. 

In any case, dictionary use needs to be learnt and this is one of the many things we’re doing these days in the 5th and 6th grade classes.  And since enjoyable lessons are much more memorable and meaningful, we try and teach basic dictionary skills through some playful activities. 

  • Find the page with many sports pictures!  

  • Who can find a map of the UK?

  • What is the first English word in the dictionary?

  • What is the last Catalan word in the dictionary?

And for a little competition “Dictionary races”: 

  • Who is going to be the first student to find the word … and run to show me? Who is second? Who is third?

A little bit of movement always helps the brain to activate. 

After that, we get more serious and start learning about headwords, types of words, phonetic symbols, diversity of meanings, etc.  

It’s a loooong journey!