Delta Publishing Catalogue

Teaching Lexically

Principles and practice

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

Authors: Hugh Dellar, Andrew Walkley

ISBN: 9783125013612

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

Hugh Dellar has over twenty-five years’ experience in the ELT field and is the co-founder of Lexical Lab. He has co-authored two five-level General English series, Outcomes and Innovationsboth published by National Geographic Learning, as well as one level of the high-school series Perspectives. His first methodology book, Teaching Lexically, came out via Delta Publishing in 2016.

Hugh has given teacher training and development sessions in over twenty countries including Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Japan and Thailand. He has spoken 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 many others. 

He graduated in English Literature from Goldsmith’s College, part of the University of London, in 1991, before drifting on to a CELTA course, which was soon followed by a DELTA and an MA TESOL. His first book was published in 2000. 

In his somewhat limited free time, he continues to play in a band, The Beatpack; he DJs occasionally and writes for a music magazine called Shindig!; he reads voraciously, enjoys cooking, and is a life-long Arsenal supporter! 

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.