Context-Rich Learning #1

I have a hunch: something many L2 learners are deprived of is sufficient context for words that they learn.

Schools (in the UK, at least) are very happy to:

  1. Give students lists of L1-L2 word pairs to learn.
  2. Give students grammar exercises devoid of real-life context.
  3. Present all information about L2 in English.
  4. Allow students to ditch learning activities as soon as possible, because they’re not fun.

L1 learners, on the other hand:

  1. Always associate nouns with pictures, verbs with actions etc.
  2. Learn ‘grammar’ (tenses, prepositions etc.) in real-life situations.
  3. Do all L1 learning using L1.
  4. Achieve massive repetition of words, sentence structures etc. because they’re fun.

Thus, in an effort to give myself at least some of the advantages of an L1 learner, I bought a sketchbook last month and have been busily trying to fill it.  (There are currently no picture-dictionaries for Cantonese).  My logic has been that if I can immediately associate words with pictures, and practice saying them more (points 1, 3 and 4 in the list above), I should be able to produce words much faster and with much more accuracy.

Anyone else tried something similar?  If so, leave a comment.  There’re a couple of examples below:


* Notes: I’m no artist, so don’t laugh at my drawings.  You may notice that some tones are marked, too: this is to clear up confusion when memorising vocabulary.


One thought on “Context-Rich Learning #1

  1. Pingback: Context-Rich Learning #2: What is a Word? | Thousand Mile Journey

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