FAH – DENG Distinguished Lecture Series – “Vocabulary Development through Conceptual Understanding and Sociocultural Experience” by Dr. Hanfu Mi


4 Nov 2015





In contemporary vocabulary instruction in the United States, various forms of five major word recognition approaches, namely, sight words, context clues, phonics, structural analysis, and dictionary study, are generally introduced to students to increase their vocabulary. While these approaches are all considered essential to a student’s vocabulary development, no one single approach is appropriate for all students for all words at all times. Learning words is primarily to understand concepts. Therefore, the best way to remember new words is to achieve conceptual understanding. Even if when more structural, graphophonic, memory-oriented, and less contextual analysis and semantic strategies are used in vocabulary instruction, no one can ever overemphasize the function that word meaning, versus spelling and pronunciation, aspects play in the development of students’ word recognition abilities. Furthermore, although a simple concept might represent the same, or at least similar, denotation cross-culturally, the connotation invoked by this same concept might be different, or even directly opposing to one another, with diverse sociocultural backgrounds. Therefore, word recognition strategies, individually or in combination, should be taught through conceptual understanding and authentic sociocultural experiences.


Dr. Hanfu Mi, chair of the Department of Elementary Education and Reading at the State University of New York at Oneonta, Dean of the College of Education & Human Services (EHS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Mi’s record of scholarship includes publications and presentations on a variety of topics involving social and cultural aspects of language and instruction, and he has extensive experience serving as a program reviewer for the International Reading Association and National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education. Dr. Mi is a member of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers and the International Reading Association. He has received a number of academic honors and awards, including the honorary title of Distinguished Professor in China.


All are welcome




Department of English