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ERIC Number: EJ788581
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Thinking Critically about Words
Kahn, Elizabeth
English Journal, v97 n4 p14-15 Mar 2008
When thinking about teaching vocabulary, what typically first comes to mind is having students learn new words or learn strategies for inferring the meanings of unfamiliar words, such as analyzing context clues or studying affixes and roots. Another aspect of teaching vocabulary is enriching students' understanding of words or concepts for which they may already know basic meanings--concepts such as courage, honesty, loyalty, maturity, justice, prejudice, and so forth. Often complex concepts such as these are examined in the context of literature that students read. This article describes how scenarios can be written to engage students in exploring concepts such as loyalty, misplaced or misguided loyalty, friendship, justice, fairness, maturity, bullying, and so on. Well-designed scenarios spark lively discussion and debate that help students draw a line between true examples of the target concept and what may seem at first glance to be examples of the target concept but are not. As they wrestle with a key concept in a literary work, students not only gain a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the concept but also learn strategies involved in analyzing and interpreting literature.
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A