t is the effect of verbal techniques (synonymy, exemplification, etc.) on vocabulary achievement of Iranian EFL students?
2-What is the effect of visual techniques (flashcards, pictures, photographs, etc.) on vocabulary achievement of Iranian EFL students?
3-Which one is more efficient? Visualtechniques, verbal techniques or a combination of these two techniques in enhancing vocabulary knowledge of Iranian EFL students?
1.1.8. Research Hypotheses
With regard to the research questions mentioned above, the following hypotheses were made:
H1: There is a positive relationship between verbal techniques (synonymy, exemplification, etc.), visual techniques (flashcards, pictures, photographs, etc.), and combination of these two techniques and enhancing vocabulary knowledge of Iranian EFL students.
H2: There is no relationship between verbal techniques (synonymy, exemplification, etc.), visual techniques (flashcards, pictures, photographs, etc.), and combination of these two techniques and enhancing vocabulary knowledge of Iranian EFL students.
1.1.9. Organization of the study
This study is organized in thesis whit following chapters:
Chapter one (introduction):
Introduction in which the problem of the study, research questions, significance of study are presented .
Chapter two (review of literature):
Literature review in which the paramount issues and influential studies are discussed .
Chapter three (methodology):
This chapter is devoted to the method of study which, in turn will thoroughly describe how the study is conducted encompassing participants instrumentation, procedure and data analysis.
Chapter four (result and discussion):
This chapter presents the analyzed results of the post-test and pre-test by mean of SPSS software in table in various types. In next step, some points are illustrated then the research questions based on the result and statistical analysis of the data are discussed.
Chapter five (Discussion)
In this chapter, Conclusion and implications of this study is here. Later on at the end of chapter, some suggestion for teachers about methods they want to teach. The final part of this study includes references and appendices.
Review of Literature
2.1. Literature review
2.1.1. Background to vocabulary teaching
English language, like any other language, has various areas that students should study, such as vocabulary, grammar, spelling, listening and reading. In the past, vocabulary teaching and learning were often given little priority in second language programs, but recently there has been a renewed interest in the nature of vocabulary and itsrole in learning and teaching (Richard&Renandya,(2002:255) .Language plays anfundamental role in making people communicate with each other. And as for English, it is considered one of the most important languages all over the world. It helps communicating with foreigners at home and abroad. Accordingly, The English language is extensively used in science, technology, computer services, politics, commerce and internet. Hence, many countries emphasize the importance of teaching English to their citizens. Richards (2001: 1) asserts that “Second and foreign language teaching is one of the world’s largest educational enterprises and millions of children and adults worldwide devote large amounts of time and efforts to the task of mastering a new language”. The English language has a special place in the world today. It has become an international language, both in the sense that it is now the native language of people from several continents and in the sense that many others have learnt to speak it as a
second language (Graddol, Cheshire& Swann,1987:3). Ardeo (2003:110) claims that during the last few decades there has been an increasing need to use the English language for the expression of knowledge within specific professional fields. This clarifies the importance and the essential role of vocabulary in learning a foreign language.
After a long period of relative neglect, language teachers and researchers have recently been cognizant of the fact that vocabulary is an important aspect of language, which is worth investigating. However, learners usually admit that they experience considerable difficulty with vocabulary and many of them identify the acquisition of vocabulary as their greatest source of problems. The problem is to discover which ways or skills will best help learners better learn, retain and retrieve vocabulary. Consequently, it is essential for language teachers to be aware of the effectiveness of different methods of vocabulary teaching to choose the ones that are the most effective to their students; this is what we follow in this experimental study. Vocabulary is regarded not only as one important component of language system but also as part of the language competence necessary for communication. Merrick(2010) This study describes an adaptation of puzzle-based learning to teaching an introductory computer programming course. Students from two offerings of thecourse–with and without the puzzle-based learning-were surveyed over a two-year period. Empirical results show that the synthesis of puzzle-based learning concepts with existing course content improves students’ learning experience by increasing their interest and participation in the course and developing their critical thinking skills.Birnjandi, Mosallanezhad&Bagheridoust (2003) state that vocabulary cannot be taught but it can be presented and then learned by the learners. The emergence of language learning strategies shift the perspective from having product oriented to process oriented methods which put more responsibilities on the learners’ shoulders. Since vocabulary has a tremendous effect on students’ proficiency and their production and comprehension of language (Gathercole, 2006), it can be claimed that “learning a second language means learning its vocabulary” (Gass, 1999, p. 325). Studies on the essential issues in the realm of vocabulary take into account the learners, the words, and the teacher (Folse, 2006). Since vocabulary has a tremendous effect on students’ proficiency and their Lexical learning represents a corner stone in foreign language education. Vocabulary is indispensable to both oral and written communication and often regarded as a major source of problems by foreign language learners. For EFL adult learners, effective vocabulary use is a real challenge when they are engaged in language production as they need to bring into focus their active vocabulary. Lexical recognition may also be a real threat when they are indulged in comprehension processes as it exposes their not only active but also passive vocabulary and puts it to the test (Bossers, 1992; Coady, 1993, 1997; and Grabe&Stoller, 1997).production and comprehension of language (Gathercole, 2006), it can be claimed that “learning a second language means learning its vocabulary” (Gass, 1999, p. 325). Studies on the essential issues in the realm of vocabulary take into account the learners, the words, and the teacher (Folse, 2006). Research concerning the learners, focuses on the strategies that they employ in learning vocabulary (Gu, 2003; Kojic–Sabo &Lightbown, 1999; Nassaji, 2003); the way in which they make gains in knowledge of vocabulary (Ellis, 1995; Laufer, 1998; Laufer&Paribakht, 1998); and their differences regarding the acquisition of second language vocabulary (Bauer, Goldfield, &Reznick, 2002; Speciale, Ellis, &Bywater, 2004). There are also studies that investigate the kind of words that second language learners have to know (Liu, 2003). Furthermore, studies related to vocabulary teaching investigate the effect of different types of exercise (e.g., Folse, 2006) and different methods of vocabulary presentation on the vocabulary learning (Brown & Perry, 1991; Zimmerman, 1997). Knowledge of words and their m
eaning is a crucial component of language proficiency both for first language acquisition and for second and foreign language learning. One cannot learn a language without vocabulary. Even though there are some language teachers who believe that vocabulary does not need to be actively taught, many students suppose that learning of new words requires tremendous effort (Nation, 1990). In fact, language learners generally agree that many of their difficulties in both receptive and productive skills arise from their inadequacy in vocabulary (Meara, 1980; Nation, 1990).Vocabulary knowledge plays a basic role in acquiring other skills of language (speaking, listening, reading and writing). For many years vocabulary had been considered as the neglected “Cinderella” of applied linguistics (Carter& McCarthy, 1997; Laufer, 1986; Meara, 1980). It was given a little attention in many language programs and textbooks. Although course curriculum gave priority to some aspects of language such as grammar, reading or speaking, little importance was given to the role of vocabulary. Most of interest had been given to structures. Course books had provided a little guideline except word units, so that due to a few supplementary materials such as dictionary and workbooks, teachers were not able to satisfy their students’ demands for words. This situation no longer exists and vocabulary and vocabulary teaching and learning have gained more attention in EFL/ESL research for the last few decades (Beck &McKeown, 1991; Goodfellow, 1995; Hulstjin, Hollander &Greidanus, 1996; Zimmerman, 1997; Taylor, 1990). Specialists and researchers in second and foreign language acquisition see the need for more emphasis on vocabulary for several reasons. First, vocabulary acts like a bridge between other language skills (reading, writing, speaking &listening) which are essential for the learners’ communication. Learners is required to learn certain words in order to understand what other people say and speak to him/her and later to reply to them or to read a document and later speak or write about what s/he had just read (Shmitt, 1998).
Second, L2 language learners have difficulty with vocabulary learning. Only a small number of students come close to the threshold level in terms of breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge (Nurweni& Reed, 1999). So there should be more emphasis on vocabulary instruction. Third, it is important to systematically design the learning and teaching of a large number of new words. A more direct and organized study of vocabulary and vocabulary instruction would be helpful for learners, although they certainly acquire word knowledge incidentally while engaged in various language learning activities (Schmitt, 1998). A fourth reason for stress on vocabulary learning and teaching is the consistent growth of technology applications in language curricula. In the context of computer-assisted language learning technologies, vocabulary should be one aspect of language learning that instructors and curriculum designers focus on. It is one of learning tasks that can be practiced easily outside the classroom, especially when compared to a pronunciation or dialogue practice in which feedback from a qualified teacher is very valuable (Nesselhauf&Tschichold, 2002). However, this study aimed to investigate if students in high school can improve their vocabulary knowledge in English studies with the help of visual and verbal techniques.
2.1.2. Vocabulary and Its Importance
Vocabulary learning strategy (VLS) is an approach which facilitates vocabulary learning and has attracted considerable attention. It is a movement away from teaching- oriented approach toward one that is interested in seeing how actions of learners might affect their acquisition of vocabulary (Schmitt, 2002b).Strategies can help learners both in discovering the meaning of a word and consolidating it and are specially needed when they are encouraged to learn independently(Celce-Murcia, 2001).