What is the best way of teaching vocabulary?

That is, indeed, the question!

It was in the recent English teachers’ exam in Italy and it is one of those questions that bug us as teachers. Should we teach a lot of vocabulary all together, intensively (i.e. massed practice), or space it out over a longer time (spaced practice)? Should we teach lexical sets?

Well, we’ve reviewed a recent interesting study on this and here is an infographic summarising the answers:

infographic on teaching vocabulary

The reference for the research study is:
Nakata, T. & Suzuki, Y. (2019). Effects of massing and spacing on the learning of semantically related and unrelated words. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(2), 287-311. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263118000219

You can also find a very handy one-page summary on the OASIS database.


How do you teach vocabulary? Let us know in the comments!

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