THE LEXICAL APPROACH: WHAT IS IT AND HOW YOU CAN USE IT
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As EFL teachers, it is necessary to be equipped with a toolbox of teaching methods and approaches. These days it is common for teachers not to adopt only one teaching method but instead use an approach of principled eclecticism, so it is essential that we are aware of the different methods available to us.
Michael Lewis introduced us to a teaching method which became known as the lexical approach, in 1993. A lexical chunk is a pair or group of words often found together.
(Lexical chunks differ from collocations in that collocations are content words while lexical chunks may incorporate a grammatical function word.
For example: by the way is a lexical chunk but totally convinced is a collocation.)
Lexical chunks are used frequently by native speakers and they contribute to fluency. According to Lewis, “Language is grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised grammar” (1993). In other words, language is based mostly on lexis while grammar plays a supporting role.
This should seem quite natural to us, as the majority of what we produce is made up of lexical chunks. While we use grammar to convey meaning, the content of our productions depends on chunks and our access to our store of chunks is reflected in our fluency.
In practical terms, what this means is that you should draw your students’ attention to lexical patterns. Words shouldn’t be taught in isolation, regardless of which part of speech they are.
Urge/encourage/advise someone to do something
An important/major/central theme
The brain is then able to store these chunks as wholes rather than individual words, thus effectively increasing the storage capacity of our short term memory. (Schmitt, 2000).
Of course, it is not possible to teach our learners each and every lexical chunk. Rather, by increasing exposure to chunks our learners will develop the habit of analysing language in this way, which will help their future learning. As they notice chunks, they will internalise the language and so learn it.
Learning chunks will help our learners not only increase their vocabulary banks but help them become more fluent in their natural speech.
Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.
Schmitt, N. (2000). Key Concepts in ELT: Lexical Chunks. ELT Journal, 54 (4): 400 – 401.
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LAST UPDATED: 27th August 2021
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If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
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You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
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- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.