Checking Vocab KWIC-ly

The other day I had a lesson with my TOEIC class at one of the universities I teach at and we were having a vocabulary review. I decided to check knowledge of collocations by using some collocation forks and have my students check things out using COCA.
That part of the lesson worked well; after getting the students used to productive use of the corpus and reducing the number of lines, all was good. Checking things like ‘take in’ they found that it has mainly visual or cognitive stimuli that collocates.
It might have looked like my students were having a faff about on their phones but if I don’t teach them how to use a corpus in lessons, they probably won’t be able to use it without guidance at home.
I have in the past used Twitter as a corpus with students but it doesn’t work very well to give concordances all the time.
If you are interested in working with COCA, you should definitely give Mura Nava‘s Cup of COCA posts out.

4 Replies to “Checking Vocab KWIC-ly”

  1. hi Marc
    one option (for collocations) if you don’t want to guide students to use a fairly complex interface like COCA is to use a number of collocation tools available, some of which u may well know of:
    just the word –
    collocation checker –
    netcollo –
    TANGO –
    hask collocation database –
    your readers may also like to check out/join the G+ Corpus Linguistics community where such tools are shared –
    thank you for the mention 🙂

  2. If there is something I need to take learning about more serious, it is how to use these tools for myself and include them in my lessons. Thanks for the reminder Marc. Could we extend the day to who knows… maybe 24 hours longer? kidding! But desperately in need of more time to do all I want.

    1. I’m learning along with the students, actually. Even though I’m a so-called digital native I know that if they find corpus tools engaging my students’ abilities will outstrip mine.
      Unlike a lot of edtech, I think corpora have a lot to offer teachers, pedagogically speaking, in that they supplement our knowledge and don’t do digitally what we can already do with pen and paper.

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