Making use of word puzzles for effective vocabulary acquisition of a subject

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Many educators, teachers and researchers hold that word puzzles can be effective cognitive tools for acquiring new words since they provide challenge, encourage conscious thinking, inculcate a habit making mental effort and acquire correct spelling. Word puzzles as learning and thinking tools can be explored further since the practice of such in a classroom, which can yield some encouraging and interesting results.

In some courses, creating word puzzles can work to upswing the learning curve. An intervention cum action research was undertaken for acquiring new vocabulary with intent and mental effort on environment and health topics through the teacher constructed three types of word puzzles. The ten word puzzles created were the word-search, word-fare and word criss-cross types.

These puzzles were used by the practitioner during one-hour zero-session daily for a fortnight. The puzzles were used at grade level five. Also, the process of creating puzzles was demystified to enable children to create and share their own puzzles on different lessons of the environmental studies textbook.

The intervention was favoured by the students (N=20, bridge school rural girls, age: 9-14) at 0.05 levels of significance. The typical comments of students involved the words like think; play with words; challenge and fun.

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In some teacher training sessions by Frank Educational Aids in Jammu and Kashmir this year, science teachers were given the experience of creating word puzzles and urged to make children to acquire science vocabulary by creating word puzzles as part of weekly homework.

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