Using bilingual dictionaries in the classroom

A good bilingual dictionary is far more than a resource for quick answers. In this article, Gwyneth Fox and Elisabeth Porter illustrate just how important bilingual dictionaries are for young learners.

Author: Gwyneth Fox & Elisabeth Porter

Why use a bilingual dictionary?

Bilingual dictionaries are and always have been very useful tools for language learners. Over the past twenty years or so, great improvements have been made in both the range and quality of information they provide. Many are targeted at a specific group of users and so the content can be tailored exactly to their needs.

How does a bilingual dictionary help learners?

Students should be encouraged to buy and use a good bilingual dictionary that is appropriate to their level, and one good way to introduce them to using a dictionary is to ask them all to bring one to class. If you have a range of dictionaries available, you can also provide some for them to look at. Students can compare the dictionaries, looking at their coverage and the different features they offer, and say what they think is good and bad about them.

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