All teachers need to develop content related vocabulary. If students are to be successful in the content area that they are being taught, teachers need to compose a list of words that they need to master. Teachers can look at the table of contents of the textbook that they are teaching to organize the words that students need to learn. A vocabulary list may also be found at the back of the textbook. The list of vocabulary words should be organized in the order that they need to be mastered. Vocabulary words should be integrated with all assessments to assure that students are learning them. There may be words that are not included in the textbook that should be defined for students. Before assigning homework or administering an assessment, teachers should look at words being used and determine if there are any that may not be included in a textbook. In mathematics, students may need to be familiar with some of the following words (evaluate, solve, simplify, reduce, list, illustrate, depict, check, sketch, etc.).
If a word students do not understand is being used in the lesson being taught, they should be encouraged to ask for help. Ask students to make a list of any words that they need help with. Students should realize that they could benefit by being active participants in the learning process. Teachers can teach students how to make use of dictionaries or the Internet to acquire definitions for words that they do not comprehend. As teachers get more experience, they can develop a list of words that their students are going to need in mastering concepts that they are being taught. Teachers can even lay the groundwork for vocabulary that they will need in the future.