Using Lextutor as a departure point for systematic selection and treatment of vocabulary

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleCommunication


The National curriculum for English (FFM 2014) calls for a systematic approach to vocabulary teaching and learning in the primary and lower-secondary school. In short, this call summons teachers to devote greater instructional resources to the explicit teaching of vocabulary in the classroom, in addition to creating in-school as well as out-of-school opportunities for incidental vocabulary learning. This ministerial summons for systematic vocabulary teaching is far from new in the context of formal English instruction in Denmark; nevertheless, the recently issued Teacher’s guide to the National curriculum for English does introduce a new and (hopefully) welcomed element to the prescription. This element entails the principled selection of vocabulary, whereby words targeted for further classroom treatment are selected primarily on the basis of their frequency of occurrence. Knowledge and application of this selection criterion will (I strongly believe) not only enable English teachers to select vocabulary with greater confidence. It will also empower them to improve their pupils’ proficiency outcomes. This article takes a closer look at both elements of explicit vocabulary teaching, namely that of both selection and treatment. With respect to selection, I first present the rationale for the selection of high-frequency words. Then I go on to look at a digital tool called Vocabprofile. This tool, which is freely acccessible online at Lextutor, generates a lexical profile of any uploaded digital text. This lexical profile can serve to inform the teacher’s selection of vocabulary for explicit teaching and learning. In relation to the treatment of selected vocabulary, I recommend a three-pronged approach, where the target words each are contextualized, decontextualized, and re-contextualized.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)22-24
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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