Recently I enjoyed some EAL training that spoke about the importance of  teaching students techniques of inferring the meaning of vocabulary rather than teaching key-words. My response was:

a) How does a teacher go about this in the mainstream classroom?
b) What kind of skills for discerning vocabulary do you aim to teach? And what techniques might you use?

Of course, many worksheets and textbooks exist for aid the acquisition of vocabulary. But there is always a dearth of how to give students knowledge of the skills.

A first step in learning words is to have students write words and find dictionary definitions for them.
The next step is to have students to record new words, and to find definitions for them later. This can be done on an interactive word-wall.

A better step forward is for students to record key words as they appear on a worksheet that is glued into books (perhaps at the back…).

This sheet (and practice here) is brilliant. It also contains what my students might need, too.

The key thing is that students are reflecting on the skills that they use to understand words as they appear. The ability to use these words again in context (as a starter, for example) is essential for them to place these words as part of their working word-banks.