This is the presentation I made to the Russian Teachers Group in 2017: "Vocabulary Learning in the Russian Classroom."

Tips for teachers

I would have been a much better Russian student, and much better at Russian much more quickly, if I'd had a better attitude towads vocab learning.  So now I'm a teacher, I'm passionate about giving busy pupils the best support I can.

Given how little contact time non-native pupils have, and how much progress they aspire to make in a relatively short time, how we help them to acquire and retain vocabulary is crucial.  There is so much I could say, but here are a few things that immediately spring to mind:

1)  In the early stages repetition, repetition, repetition is key

2)  Pupils love structure:  regular tests, targets, rewards

3)  Use a book like Quad-Vocab to help them know which words to focus on

4)  Use frequency lists

5)  Encourage a regular vocab learning routine (5 mins in the car each day)

6)  Make the most of apps (e.g. Quizlet), but encourage a range of techniques

7)  Help pupils to spot slavic 'roots' of words

8)  After 3-4 years, there seems to be a 'tipping point' where pupils start to acquire vocabulary more 'naturally', having simply met words in texts 2-3 times

9)  Make lists for your pupils.  Make them in EXCEL!  Easy to import into apps

10)  TEACH the pupils how to use apps like Quizlet fully.  Do it in class!

There are of course, many aspects to the teaching and learning of vocabulary, a few of which I have outlined below - certainly food for thought!

Join the discussion!   If you have any top tips, please add them to the forum below!

© 2019 by

Jon Drury