Here is an exercise to help expand and enhance vocabulary. It is a way to make words come alive! You and your students will enjoy a lifetime of learning from it…
Words, words, words! We use them all the time, thousands and thousands every day.
Do you feel that your words really connect? Does your use of language truly communicate what is going on in you? Does your language open things up, promote inquiry and wonder in yourself and in your students? Or does it close things down?
We are talking about connective language! It is to do with the living value we give to the words we use.
Let’s start with a word. How about the word LEARNING – why not?
Imagine the word LEARNING at the center of a web, a vast and beautiful, vibrant three dimensional word web.
Ask – what words are connected to the word LEARNING? What words are its closest friends and relatives?
Here we go: assimilate, gather, comprehend, apprehend, ascertain, master, find out, search, acquaint, detect, determine, realize, acquire, understand, study, pick up, discover, familiarize…for starters.
These are some of the close in connections to the word, each with its own nuance and connotation describing, circumscribing the word LEARNING.
But now, let’s add a new layer to our word search. For example – what color is learning? Why not? Is there such a thing as red learning, blue learning or green learning?
Or…how about using the qualifying word – speed? What is fast learning or slow learning?
Or…what is soft learning or hard learning?
Or…what about auditory learning, visual learning, kinesthetic learning? We learn with many parts of us. Finding the language that describes our many modes of learning recognizes and encourages it!
O.K., you get the idea.
Let’s go a little deeper with one example. Let’s expand our holographic word web researching the word LEARNING through the lens of COLOR:
The nature of the color red is compressed and compact; bold and bright; commanding, outstanding. Red reasoning is lineal, deductive, logical, sequential. You see red related to martial arts, marching, mars, and the month of March… Red seems to work really well as a Stop sign, doesn’t it? Arterial blood is red – charging, oxygenating, nourishing! Things working together in unison; order, organization, rank and file, military cadence etc… all seem to go well describing the nature and frequency of the color RED.
So what is RED LEARNING?
Perhaps we could look at it this way:
- RED LEARNING PROCESS Words
- Repetition, Rote, Assimilation, Deduction, Concentration, Focus, Linear, Sequential Reasoning, Logic, Symmetry, Pattern, Precision, Result Oriented, Targeted, Question and Answer, Diagnostic…
So the word LEARNING now has greater value, depth and scope.
Let’s try one more.
- What about the color blue? Let’s look at the process of learning through the influence and expression of the color blue.
The nature of the color blue is expansive, cooling, calming, fluid, balancing, regulating, cleansing. It is connected to the nerves and the senses, the venal, purifying blood system. It goes with the instinctive, intuitive, maternal side of things…for starters.
So how would we describe the process of BLUE LEARNING?
BLUE LEARNING PROCESS WORDS
- Intuitive, Instinctive, Inductive Reasoning, Acclimatizing, Naturalizing, Catching the Way of It, Wonder, Musing, Expanding the Territory, Oblique and Adjacent, Process Oriented, Sensory based…
We’ve taken one word; in this case, the word LEARNING, and we’ve expanded its scope and deepened its meaning. It is now connected to a living web of value and meaning. When we use the word LEARN or LEARNING now, it can activate the same connective process in others!
The same process can be done with just about any other word… Life, Respect, Freedom, Love, Responsibility, Humanity, Art, Movement, Communication…