The discussed example of the exercise remains effective because of several reasons. First of all, in the majority of Indo-European languages, there are several similarities in the meanings of words and their pronunciation which makes the understanding of the context easier for a learner. The given task utilizes this fact and encourages students to read the whole text to find hints that can help them to understand the main idea of the given message, the central actors, their names, and occupation.
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For this reason, the majority of the assignments that do not presuppose the additional explanation of new words rest on the idea of certain similarity between languages belonging to the same group (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2013). At the same time, scanning texts, students can acquire an improved understanding of how learned languages are connected and what common features can be used to master skills.
The ability to answer true/false (T/F) questions also comes from this very idea. The fact is that the given type of task does not presuppose that a learner should understand and know the meaning of all words presented in the text. However, to provide correct answers, he or she should grasp the main idea conveyed by a particular message, the central discussed topics, and issues needed for the context’s analysis. In this regard, they will be able to predict the meaning of other words and answer T/F questions correctly. These exercises can be considered an effective approach to teach learners to understand the meaning of unknown words due to the increased attention to the context in which they are presented and analysis of the central idea of the discussed unit which is critical for real-life communication.
The use of the exclusive knowledge of the target language (TL) can also be a potent tool in teaching students new vocabulary and mastering their skills. The fact is that the existence of a certain knowledge base among learners helps to achieve better results while discussing new words and analyzing their use in a particular context. However, this approach can be effective only if there is the appropriate level of the knowledge of TL and students can understand various linguistic situations regardless of the existence of unknown words in them.
Under these conditions, exercises that presuppose reading authentic documents and deciphering the meanings of the new words can help to achieve the new level of TL’s understanding. First of all, an explanation of new words and their use in the context are always more effective than simple translation (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2013). It helps not just to find the corresponding word in the native language but to achieve an improved understanding of how TL works and in what contexts or situations the new vocabulary can be used.
Finally, the use of the exclusive knowledge of the learned language helps to assess the overall level of students, as this sort of tasks presupposes that the current competence is enough to analyze texts without the complete understanding of all words that can be found in it. For this reason, only if a learner has a solid background, the goal can be achieved, and the meaning of new units will be explained using the already known words studied during the previous classes. The given sort of assignment should be provided only to advanced level learners; otherwise, it will have decreased effectiveness because of the absence of the TL’s improved knowledge.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2013). Techniques and principles in language teaching (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.