The role of English as a unifying language in the dynamic trade environment powered by globalization, beyond any perceptible doubt is very crucial for the successful transaction of any business. A good deal of research has been taking place in the field of English Language Teaching in India too. As a result of the research inside and outside India a number of changes in the past decades took place in the methods of teaching, materials to be used for teaching and curriculum planning. But most of the changes suggested have been taking place in the field of methods and strategies of teaching rather than teaching vocabulary, the most important content. Over the years a great diversity has developed in the methods of teaching as opposed to stability in the principles underlying the choice of the content to be used for teaching.
To focus on the necessity to develop appropriate methods to teach vocabulary items in English to the students of professional courses who wish to build careers in this globalized scenario. Research in English Language Teaching so far has focused primarily on how to teach English.
Historical Background of Language Teaching: Though a comprehensive history of language teaching is not available all the existing material helps one to track the progression in the research. A detailed study of the Language Teaching makes it clear that there were two distinct aspects in the research. The first aspect of research was about the ideas of language teaching and the second was about the practices of language teaching.
Historical Background of Vocabulary in Language Teaching: It is believed that comprehensible input given to the learner results in language learning. A strong belief in this adage made the researchers to focus on syntax, learning styles, effective teaching materials, curriculum design, methodologies etc. The method of explicit teaching of vocabulary slowly is gaining ascendancy. Nation and Waring show that some words make more sensible items for explicit teaching. This worked attempts to focus on those items which can be imparted through explicit teaching methods.
Vocabulary in Curriculum: The vocabulary content for all the traditional curriculums is chosen according to certain criteria. The criteria for choosing words are formed in relation to their usefulness, frequency, range, availability, familiarity, and coverage. Syllabus constructors commonly choose vocabulary items that mainly ‘operate’ the basic patterns of the language.
Why explicit teaching: For instance, words like cantankerous, contrite, belligerent, Pusillanimous, etc found on Graduate Record Examination conducted by ETS, United States of America, to screen students for admission in American universities provides an opportunity to think about the selection of the vocabulary for our curriculum and also about the teaching methods to be adopted to impart this kind of vocabulary. This kind of a problem emerges because of the lack of proper understanding about the size of the vocabulary to be acquired by the students by the time they complete their graduation. Guessing meaning while reading and extensive reading are always suggested as the best means to acquire new vocabulary. But when it comes to retaining the words exposed to a student has to purely on his memory rather than on his ability to recognize a word on the basis of its function. This is the place where explicit teaching can help in finding a workable solution. The explicit method of teaching can be successful only if a set of words that cannot be guessed through a text be located and listed. So the emphasis is on the identification of those set of words which require explicit teaching.
Developing Vocabulary Instruction: There are four steps in the proposed obvious method of teaching Vocabulary items.
Step one is developing a method to identify the set of words. Students feel difficult to be guessed through a text. Step two is to categorize them in order to find out a suitable method of instruction.Step three is to develop the plan to teach words of each category through an appropriate method.Step fourth acquisition is evaluated using standard tests.
In the globalization scenario classroom teachers are the ones who have a feel for their students’ needs and they are the ones who can decide whether to go one way or the other. But a balance is necessary to be found in developing one and ignoring the other.