Academic Word List [AWL] Teaching Words

 

A great way to help students develop an understanding of what is considered academic or formal vocabulary is to introduce them to the Academic Word List on a weekly basis. Obviously, it takes time to learn and acquire the words so by using a kinaesthetic activity this can help consolidate the words and make learning more interesting. 

Lesson Plan

Aim: to develop the students’ awareness and lexical repertoire of the Academic Word List. Level: ***** [B1/B2/C1/C2]

1.Preparation

  • Copy one Academic Word List per student https://www.academic-englishuk.com/awl 
  • Photocopy and cut up one sublist word set for a group of 3/4 students
  • Disclaimer: only the most frequent words in the sublists are in the table sets.

2.Academic Word List Sheet

  • Give out and explain the rationale behind the Academic Word list sheet (if necessary). The Academic Word List (AWL) contains 570 word families which were selected because they appear with great frequency in a broad range of academic texts. The list helps identify academic vocabulary and formality.
  • Only focus on one sublist per week. Give time for the students to read through the sublist first (or set for homework) - highlight and check unknown words.
  • Give out a set of cut up sublist 1 words per group of 3/4. Stds share out words.

3.The activity

  • Students explain their words to the group without saying the word using synonyms, definitions and explanation (do NOT show your words). Use websites like https://dictionary.cambridge.org, http://www.thesaurus.com  - for more  helpful websites go here. While they explain the word the other members use the AWL sheet to identify which word is being explained.

4. Language

  • My word is noun/verb/adjective/adverb
  • A synonym of this word is... / a similar word is... It means... / one possible meaning is...
  • It can be defined as... / an example would be...
  • Give time (10 minutes) for students to prepare what to say and check synonyms.
  • Allow 20 minutes for the activity and whoever guesses the correct word gets the word card. At the end whoever has the most cards is the winner.

5.Extras

  • BINGO - share out cards per 3/4 group / tutor calls out words from the sublist.
  • Word Forms -  in groups of 3/4 put the pile of words face down. Each student takes a word and identify the form and then says its noun, verb, adj, adv form. The other student check using an English dictionary.
  • Write sentences using your words to contextualise understanding - must be based on the student's discipline (business / psychology, etc...). This can be a a class writing or homework activity. 
  • Next lesson - share out one set for a class / students explain to whole group.
  • As students leave the classroom, they must tell you a word they have learnt today from the sublist.
  • You can give students a copy of the sublist word sheet and they can cut up the words and learn them independently.
  • The cards can be used as warmers or fillers. 

 

Academic Word List

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Academic Word List - Kinaesthetic Lesson (cut up words)

Academic Word List Lesson - Sublist 1-10 

This lesson includes the 10 sublists of the Academic Word List put into tables to be cut up and used as a teaching tool. Give out one set of words to a group of 3/4 students and they take it in turns to explain their word using synonyms, explanation and definition. There are lots of other activities included too.  Level ***** [B1/B2]

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Free AWL exercise / practice

Academic Word List Exercise x3

Three more Academic Word List gap fill exercises. Great way to improve awareness of academic words and word formation.  Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]      Example

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More Academic Vocabulary Exercises

Collocation (verbs / adjectives)

Collocation is words that go naturally together. This sheet refers students to use a collocation website (www.ozdic.com) to ensure fluency through the correct use of adjectives and verbs with key nouns.    Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]  

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Academic Word game - Verbs to Nouns

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the noun for each verb. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality. Medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]      Example

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Academic Word game - Nouns to Adjectives

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the adjective for each noun. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality. Difficult Level ***** [B2/C1]      Example

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Academic Word game - Word + preposition

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the corresponding preposition for each word. The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality. medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]      Example

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Academic Word game - Word forms [n/v/adj]

100 high frequency words taken from the Academic Word List and put into grid. In groups of four, students guess the correct form (each word in the grid has an acronym of the word to be guessed). The objective is to get as many four-in-in row as possible. This is a fun lesson to improve awareness of academic words and formality. Medium Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]      Example

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