University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching International and Multilingual Students

Helping Students Improve Vocabulary

In order to be successful in your course, your students will need to have a clear understanding of both instructional and course-specific vocabulary.

Instructional vocabulary includes terms specific to tasks you might assign and expectations associated with them (e.g., “response paper”, “literature review”).

Course-specific vocabulary includes key words and concepts frequently found in class readings, materials, and lectures.

To help your students, consider offering a list of instructional and course-specific terms at the beginning of the semester and/or before the start of a new unit. The list doesn’t have to be long or exhaustive; a list of 10-20 words per unit will do.

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