Vanessa Beal, MQ ELC
Building with words: Engaging with Vocabulary learning

Vocabulary acquisition is sometimes seen in a supporting role to grammar with regards to second language learning. The objective of this presentation is firstly to outline the importance of focused vocabulary exercises as a core component in courses and secondly to present activities supporting engagement in vocabulary acquisition within the broader context of language learning in university language institutes. Vocabulary learning can often be presented as lists and memorization tasks; whilst this is still a component, the focus here is to show students how to address their own needs for a more extensive vocabulary, to develop critical thinking, and to discover ways to learn, apply and create in their second language.  The emphasis is on creating a student-led learning environment where the teacher choreographs and provides tools to implement vocabulary learning, group work and integration into a challenging new educational environment.

Vanessa Beal is currently an English language teacher at Macquarie University ELC. She worked as a teacher, teacher trainer and course coordinator in Montreal before relocating to Sydney. Originally from the UK, Vanessa has undergraduate degrees in History of Art, Design, and Film (Middlesex) and Second Language Education (McGill) and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Concordia with research focusing on vocabulary acquisition. She is a curriculum writer with research interests in reading and writing, vocabulary and motivation theory.