What’s a morpheme and why does Immediate Immersion™ use them?

Posted on June 15, 2013 by Scott in Articles

Morphemes are word parts like roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

It is common practice for students to memorize 100s and 1000s of vocabulary words in preparation for high-stake tests like the SAT. The problem with this approach is that most students cannot retain these words for any length of time to actually be useful on these exams. Furthermore, many of these words are so far removed from everyday usage, that there’s no real-world value to learning this vocabulary.

In contrast, learning what the parts of a word mean is much more practical. First of all, there are far less morphemes than there are SAT vocabulary and each of these morphemes apply to dozens of words rather than a single definition. When a student knows a morpheme, he can use this base knowledge along with the context to make an educated guess as to what a previously-never-before-seen word means. Not only does this make much more practical sense, but is also teaches higher-order thinking skills getting students to exercise their brain to make new meaning and new connections.

Immediate Immersion’s approach to teaching the morphemes is to take an English Latin-based morpheme and to present it and it’s meaning to students for an entire week. Each day a new word in the target language derived from the week’s morpheme is presented to the class. It is not meant that the students will memorize these daily words, but will use them to reinforce the meaning of the original morpheme.

By working with English morphemes, we are addressing the Core Standards and interdisciplinary teaching of English-language skills: students learn how to decode both English and target-language vocabulary and increase their base, active vocabulary.

We hope that you find the incorporation of morphemes in the Immediate Immersion™ curriculum useful and another tool in your toolbox to help reach your classroom goals.

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