Which one?

Rather than just give learners a definition of a key word I like to give them multiple choices and then have them discuss with a partner or in small groups which definition is correct.  An example is provided below for a lesson in which my learners were going to write a summary of something that they had just read.

What is a summary?

  1. Describing the main character in the story.
  2. To write about why a person looks they way they do and why they behave in a certain way.
  3. Writing the main events in the order in which they happen.

As an extension, I also asked them to discuss why the other two definitions were not correct.  The other two definitions were actually examples from previous lessons that we had investigated.

Rather than just repeat / copy parrot fashion I believe this is a far more effective way to engage with learning the meanings of key words.

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