Delta Publishing Catalogue

Teaching Lexically

Principles and practice


From the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series.

Authors: Hugh Dellar, Andrew Walkley

ISBN: 9781909783225

Series:Delta Teacher Development Series

Teaching Lexically shows what a lexical view of language looks like, and explores how it differs from a more traditional ‘grammar + words’ view. It then considers what implications such a view might have for classroom practice. At the heart of Teaching Lexically are three main ideas:

  • Grammar and vocabulary are both taught better in combination.
  • Context is absolutely central.
  • Classrooms need to be input-rich; and input needs to be useful.

Teaching Lexically contains three distinctive parts which focus in turn on theory, practice and development.

Part A provides a detailed exploration of the core ideas behind lexical teaching. The authors begin with the principles that explain how and why people learn, before presenting two competing views of language – ‘grammar + words’ (and skills) and a lexical view. They close with an in-depth exploration of how language looks when seen from a lexical perspective.

Part B contains a bank of activities that puts into practice the particular principles related to such areas of teaching as vocabulary, grammar, reading, listening, and so on. These activities are designed to be applied to any classroom material, and to help teachers build up their own repertoire of lexically-rooted techniques.

Part C addresses some of the issues and implications involved in where and how lexical teaching may be applied. It also considers how teacher training and development can become more lexically-oriented, finally suggesting ways to develop as a lexical materials writer.

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Hugh Dellar

Having graduated from Goldsmith’s College, University of London, with a first-class degree in English Literature and with a chequered career as a musician (of sorts) mostly behind me, I started teaching in 1993 – following a lucky accident in a Soho pub. Within a year, I found myself in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I was to spend three very formative years, before returning to the UK to take my DTEFLA. Flushed with how well that had gone, I enrolled almost immediately on a part-time MA TESOL, which dragged on until just after the turn of the century, by which time I’d already had my first coursebook – Innovations Intermediate – published by LTP.

I started working at University of Westminster in 1997, and it’s there that I met Andrew Walkley, who was to become my main co-conspirator, co-author, great friend and constant source of inspiration. Together, we went on to write five levels of Innovations as well as all five levels of both the first and second editions of the popular global General English series, Outcomes. In the early 200s, LTP were acquired by Heinle Cengage (now National Geographic Learning) and we moved along with the fittings and furnishings.

Throughout this time, we were also teaching both EFL and EAP – as well as several more specialized bespoke courses – to a wide range of levels of international students, and giving teacher training and development sessions to teachers in over twenty countries including Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Spain, Russia, Italy, Japan and Thailand. During this time, I spoke on such wide-ranging topics as the nature of English as a Lingua Franca, the uses and abuses of corpora, approaches to teaching grammar and vocabulary, and more more besides.

I left the university after 18 years and in 2014 Andrew and I set up our own training company, Lexical Lab. We have also recently started our own language school in the heart of the city we both live in – London Language Lab.

In what limited free time I have, I follow the travails of Arsenal Football Club, read voraciously, collect and write about obscure 1960s and 70s rock’n’roll records, sing in a blues punk band, cook, watch foreign films and try to catch up on my lost years of sleep.

Andrew Walkley

I grew up in Birmingham and I studied English at Nottingham University, where I graduated in 1990. Since then I have been involved entirely in ELT – apart from a brief flirtation with joining the civil service – more to show my Dad that I might consider a “proper career”, or at least something a bit more secure.

Fortunately for me, the civil service didn’t want me and I avoided a life in an office in favour of spending it with a little less security, but with a great array of people from all over, as a teacher in the UK and conducting training and author workshops around the world. On top of that, I get to be very nosy in class, asking things and having conversations you don’t normally get to ask strangers. And you get to consider the miracle of language every day. What job could be better!

I started teaching in Valencia, Spain in a language academy (later to be closed due to tax irregularities). I then spent a year working as a ‘freelancer’ teaching one-to-one. When I came back to the UK I worked briefly for a chain school in London before joining Kingsway Further Education College. I did my Dip TEFLA at Hammersmith and West London, and also trained as a CELTA tutor there. I then got some work as a ‘visiting lecturer’ at Westminster and continued to visit the university off and on for the next 17 years.

During that time I met Hugh Dellar who was writing a book for a small publisher called LTP and I ended up writing with him and that has turned into a very long partnership which now includes two coursebook series with National Geographic Learning, Teaching Lexically with DELTA, our materials writing and training venture Lexical Lab and now a school London Language Lab. My Dad finally stopped sending me job adverts!

Outside of ELT, I play a lot of football, grow stuff in an allotment, cook, sing in a choir, and try to ensure I get a kip in the afternoon.