Becoming a Better Learner: Put your Words in Order!

Becoming a Better Learner: Put your Words in Order!

Nick Michelioudakis’ column Becoming a Better Learner suggests techniques to engage, empower, and facilitate students through a series of simple activities. This month, vocabulary retention through clines in the spotlight!

A great way of remembering words better is to organise them on a cline, that is to put them in order depending on their level or degree. Here are some examples:

  • Adjectives: If you want to learn adjectives related to temperature, you can organise them on a cline from colder to hotter, e.g. ‘freezing’ – ‘cold’ – ‘cool’ – ‘warm’ – ‘hot’ – ‘scorching’.
  • Verbs: If you want to learn verbs related to how much you like or love something or someone, you can again use a cline. E.g. ‘loathe’ – ‘despise’ – ‘hate’ – ‘dislike’ – ‘like’ – ‘love’ – ‘adore’ – ‘worship’.
  • Adverbs: To learn adverbs of frequency so that you can express how often you do something, you can again arrange them on a cline. E.g. ‘never’ – ‘rarely’ – ‘sometimes’ – ‘often’ – ‘always’.

This way of storing words makes it easier for you to revise them. Simply give yourself the name of the group (e.g. ‘Frequency’) and see whether you can recall all five of the words. So, whenever you record new words ask yourself: ‘Can I put them on a cline?’

Nick Michelioudakis (B. Econ., Dip. RSA, MSc [TEFL]) has been active in ELT for many years as a teacher, examiner, presenter, and teacher trainer. He has worked for a number of publishers and examination boards and he has given seminars and workshops in many countries.

He has written extensively on Methodology, though he is better known for his ‘Psychology and ELT’ articles which have appeared in numerous newsletters and magazines. For articles or worksheets of his, you can visit his YouTube channel [] or his blog [ ].

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