Beyond Memorization: Teaching Russian (and Other Languages‘) Vocabulary



ABSTRACT  As foreign language instruction becomes more proficiency-oriented, the majority of theorists favor placing vocabulary into a meaningful context. Nonetheless, the presentation and learning of vocabulary remains problematic, principally because acquiring vocabulary, which must involve its repetition, often is boring. Ensuring daily practice of new and already learned lexical items need not be a chore dreaded by both teacher and students, but can develop into one of the most eagerly awaited parts of each new lesson. Effective classroom techniques go far in aiding learners in their own search for efficient acquisition strategies, helping to render them more independent of the instructor, more able to work on their own. This article presents a number of methods, including context-related activities, board games and filler exercises, developed and tested in the Russian classroom, designed for stimulating vocabulary learning and retention.