News Update on Vocabulary Learning : April 21

[1] Vocabulary learning

This article addresses the question of how to account for the growth in vocabulary knowledge that occurs during the elementary school years. Areas examined include the ways that word meanings are communicated, direct teaching of meanings vocabulary instruction as a part of reading instruction, and deriving and learning word meanings from verbal context. Taken singly, neither direct instruction of meanings nor learning word meanings from context seems to account all that well for the growth in vocabulary that is thought to occur.

[2] Vocabulary Learning: A Critical Analysis of Techniques

This article evaluates more than a dozen vocabulary learning techniques for students of a second or foreign language. These techniques are divided into four broad categories: decontextualizing, semi-contextualizing, fully contextualizing, and adaptable. Each technique is evaluated in terms of underlying theoretical assumptions and practical utility. Specific classroom implications are also offered.

[3]  Human simulations of vocabulary learning

The work reported here experimentally investigates a striking generalization about vocabulary acquisition: Noun learning is superior to verb learning in the earliest moments of child language development. The dominant explanation of this phenomenon in the literature invokes differing conceptual requirements for items in these lexical categories: Verbs are cognitively more complex than nouns and so their acquisition must await certain mental developments in the infant. In the present work, we investigate an alternative hypothesis; namely, that it is the information requirements of verb learning, not the conceptual requirements, that crucially determine the acquisition order. Efficient verb learning requires access to structural features of the exposure language and thus cannot take place until a scaffolding of noun knowledge enables the acquisition of clause-level syntax.

[4] Learning Styles and Keyword Association Variations on Vocabulary Retention

The present study investigates the effect of learning styles and keyword method associations on English vocabulary retention of EFL learners. The study addresses the following questions: a) Does learning style of EFL learners affect EFL vocabulary retention performance? b) Are words of similar suffix presented in groups better retained than those presented randomly? c) Are words with keyword associations made by teachers better retained than those made by students? d) Do various keyword associations of English words affect vocabulary retention of learners? A total of 48 intermediate EFL learners joined the study. The independent variables include group vs. rote presentation, the learning styles (using VARQ questionnaire) as well as various keyword associations (teacher-made vs. student-made), whereas dependent variables are instant and delayed vocabulary retention measures. Results indicate some keyword associations are found distinct from others, and the interactions among independent variables were also found, yet failing to find any significance on learning styles.

[5] Enhancing English Competences in Tanzania: Developing Activity-oriented Learning Materials in Poetry Lessons

The competence-based English syllabus was introduced in Tanzania in 2005. The use of activity oriented lessons is believed to engage students’ minds actively as envisaged. A decade has passed yet no improvement in students’ performance in English language has been registered. Current studies revealed a shortage of effective learning materials especially in poetry. Moreover, the lessons’ materials of such nature appear new to teachers. This study aimed at engaging teachers and other education stakeholders in developing activity oriented lessons focusing on the poetry topic. Two questions guided the study:  What are the characteristics of the Poetry lesson materials that may potentially improve English learning in Tanzania? What is the best approach to be used to provide a research driven solution in developing such materials?




[1] Jenkins, J.R. and Dixon, R., 1983. Vocabulary learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology8(3), pp.237-260.

[2] Oxford, R. and Crookall, D., 1990. Vocabulary learning: A critical analysis of techniques. TESL Canada journal, pp.09-30.

[3] Gillette, J., Gleitman, H., Gleitman, L. and Lederer, A., 1999. Human simulations of vocabulary learning. Cognition73(2), pp.135-176.

[4] Guey, C.C. and Chang, C.L., 2014. Learning styles and keyword association variations on vocabulary retention. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, pp.19-33.

[5] Prosper, G. and Mastura, S., 2017. Enhancing English competences in Tanzania: Developing activity-oriented learning materials in poetry lessons. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, pp.1-14.

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