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Adult Learner > Strategies > Direct Instruction: Vocabulary

Direct Instruction: Vocabulary


Seeing and using new words repeatedly and across contexts is critical for vocabulary acquisition. In discussions, reading, and writing, instructors can provide explicit vocabulary instruction and give learners multiple opportunities to see, understand, and apply new words, as well as chances to use strategies for identifying unfamiliar words.

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Instructors and tools should explicitly teach the meaning of new words, especially academic vocabulary, and then provide repeated opportunities to hear and practice using these words in writing and speaking. This is also extremely important in content area courses where learners need to improve their understanding and use of subject matter vocabulary with complex morphologies. Instructors should introduce strategies for identifying word components (e.g., prefixes, roots, suffixes) and using reference materials which can promote Disciplinary Literacy skills. Direct instruction in using work-specific vocabulary is also critical for developing learners' Oral Communication Skills in real-world contexts.

Developers can expose learners to new vocabulary through direct instruction by teaching them the meanings of words, showing the words in multiple contexts, and la