Vocabulary development is vital for those using English as an additional language. Sheila Hopkins considers how teachers can identify key vocabulary during lesson planning and outlines strategies for teaching these key words to EAL learners


“The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

As proficiency in English is “central to understanding achievement” (Strand & Hessel, 2018), vocabulary development becomes a good candidate on which to focus instruction.

When we think of it, language pervades everything we do in education; making vocabulary development a critical component of learning for all pupils, but especially for those using English as an additional language (EAL).

Indeed, learners using EAL look to us for the informed lexical guidance that will allow them to comprehend lesson content, pass exams and make meaningful contributions to all aspects of school life; both social and academic. As such, educators across subject areas, phases and stages cannot afford to leave vocabulary instruction to chance.

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