Determination Strategies Are Individual Learning Strategies English Language Essay

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Weder and Rubin believe language learning strategies includes sets of steps, operations, plans or routines applied by a learner to facilitate the storage, obtaining and use of information. A number of researchers tried to categorize language learning strategies.

"While without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed" (Wilkin 1972)

This statement clearly shows that learning vocabulary is an essential part for language mastery (Schmitt 2008); He suggests two main groups of strategies the first one is Discovery strategies that are used by language learners to discover learning of new words and the other is Consolidation strategies that is the consolidation of words once it has been encountered.

Schmitt (1997) categorizes vocabulary learning strategies in 5 sub-categories: 

1) Determination strategies are individual learning strategies.

2) Social strategies are strategies that learners apply to learn new words through interaction with others.0000

3) Memory strategies are strategies to link the existing or background knowledge with the new words.

4) Cognitive strategies are strategies that do not engage learners in mental processing but in more mechanical means, and

5) Metacognitive strategies are strategies related to processes involved in monitoring, decision-making, and evaluation of one's progress.

The extent and rate of using technology in the past 15 years has the greatest influence on Second language acquisition. Today, SLA has affected and it has integrated with technology (Smith, 1999). 

When video was introduced as a phenomenon, language teachers and curriculum designers quickly found out its benefits in teaching, and also the use of cassette player audio labs change the manners of instruction. Almost every language program in the United States use computer based technology and multimedia aids. Curriculum designers have redefined the old curriculums in order to include this type of instruction in teaching syllabuses. Even some of the ESL instructors and curriculum designers began to create their own multimedia teaching programs in the 1980's and 1990's.Today, professional instructors can create detailed and effective programs for different courses for the specific needs of students (Iwabuchi & Fotos, 2004).

The importance of multimedia aids in language learning and teaching became more obvious in 1983 after the annual TESOL conference in Toronto because more than ten percent of presentations in this conference were about multimedia aids and some learning soft-wares were introduced during the conference.( Chapelle,2001)

Obviously the idea of using multimedia aids in foreign language teaching and learning was introduced when technology and computers started to affect all aspects of human life. In the past, only specialists could use computers and technology but today ordinary people can easily use it too, and it is used in language instructions more than any time before.Therefore many teachers around the word had to change their methods of teaching into the new ways of foreign language instruction with the help of multimedia aids and computer because they seem to be more effective than the ordinary textbooks in learning.( Tangas,2002)

According to Moeller (1997), computers are unique medium for education because of their ability to interact with the student. Books can tell the students what the rules are and what the right solutions are, but they cannot analyze the specific mistakes the student has made and react in a manner which leads not only to correct his mistake but also to understand the principles behind the correct solution.

As the interest in vocabulary acquisition is growing, various kinds of aids are available nowadays for learners and students, among which audio-visual aids are the most important one. Audio-visual aids are available in many forms including: pictures, audios, videos, and games.

According to Dell (2006), learning experiences which encourage learners to work with words actively rather than to memorize definitions merely, improves learning of words .She also assumes that multimedia technologies which combine words with visual images and sounds, encourage learners to build complex mental schema, and this mental schema results in wider understanding of words.

Learners, teachers, and researchers all agree that vocabulary is an essential part of learning a second language. Vocabulary knowledge is not only the number of words that students know and recognize. There are different types of knowledge about vocabulary such as written and spoken form, meaning, word associations, and contextual constraints ( Smitt and Meara, 1997). 

Researchers believe that knowing a large number of words and having a rich knowledge about the words can lead to fluent vocabulary use.​We should consider the value of vocabulary. When learners don't know the necessary words, communication stops. Today, professional journals and teachers search for a more effective vocabulary teaching method. They believe that vocabulary should be thought to learners in a meaningful way.

Understanding, hearing, and seeing a word are the first steps of learning. Using senses in learning process would help students learn better. Seeing what a word means at the same time of hearing it is called accelerates learning process. Here, the two senses sight and hearing, attract students' attention.( Fairbanks,1997)

Audio-visual aids are teaching aids that  uses sight or sound to present information such as films, language tapes, video, overhead projection, TV, VCR, slide projector, OHP, LCD, film projectors, working models, posters, pictures, graphics, preserved exhibits, and motion picture.(Nation2000)

Audio-visual aids provide context for understanding, because learning happens in context. Seeing a word for the first time does not meant that it would be recognized in later stages. That is why in the process of acquiring vocabulary one should get to know a new word in context in order to keep it in his memory. In fact students learn more about the meaning of a word in context rather than learning it through translation and synonyms. Eventually, after contextual learning of a word, one can recognize it in other contexts or in isolation. (Beebe,2007)

1.2. Significance of the Study 

This study is significant for several reasons. It provides information for teachers, students, and textbook developers on how to use audio-visual aids.

First of all, the results might help teachers look at audio-visual aids positively. It enables them to teach better and facilitate learning of their students. Second, multimedia aids are also beneficial for students. They lower the levels of affective factors such as stress and anxiety and it motivates and encourages students to learn. It increases communicative competence and it provides fun. When students get to know multimedia aids, they become motivated to use them as a learning device for vocabulary and also other skills such as phonetics, listening, and speaking. Finally, the result of this study can help textbook developers in selecting various types of multimedia aids for different language skills in the syllabus of books.

1.3. Statement of the Problem

In recent year's multimedia technology such as games, movies, songs, etc., have played an important role in education sector. Most of the research projects in the field of education have been focusing on educational facilities provided by multimedia. Therefore, many foreign language teachers have become interested in audio-visual technology and the effect it may have on learning. However, some people don't believe in the effect of this type of technology. In addition, sometimes it is hard to get to know and get used to the new multimedia aids in vocabulary learning (k.Neo, 2002)

For an elementary student, learning the vocabulary of a foreign language can be difficult and time consuming. In order to make the learning process easier, many scholars have tried to develop devices which motivates learners and helps them to understand better. Moreover, vocabulary acquisition has not been emphasized by language teachers as much as grammar and other components. This is maybe because of the traditional way of teaching vocabulary. For example in Iranian schools teachers provide students word lists with their translations. However, drills, rote memorization, and related techniques can still be seen as useful, (Schmitt, 1997).

For many years teaching programs haven't focused on techniques of vocabulary learning. In fact teachers were told that they cannot teach vocabulary before their students had learned grammar and sound system of a language. The emphasis in using audio-visual aid is on pronunciation and grammar, but not vocabulary. It was believed that one could learn words only through experience. Also, in many EFL classes, even when the teacher spends so much time on vocabulary teaching, the results are disappointing. Sometimes many of the most important words are not learned. (French 1983)

Furthermore, lexical problems have a negative effect on communication. When a person doesn't know how to use right words, he cannot communicate with others. It should also be mentioned that very few studies have been conducted about the effect of context on vocabulary learning. (Liu Jiaying, 2006)

1.4. The objective of the study

This study will be done to help Iranian teachers and students become familiar with multimedia aids and its effect on learning and it helps them to know how to use it in teaching and learning. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to see whether using audio-visual aids have any effect on the elementary Iranian EFL learners' vocabulary achievement or not.

1.5. Research Question

Because of students' lack of vocabulary knowledge in most elementary classes in Iran and their focus on other skills such as grammar, dictation, and reading comprehension, the researcher is looking for better ways of teaching and learning vocabulary. Therefore the following research question may arise:

Is there any significant relationship between using audio-visual aids and vocabulary achievement of Iranian elementary EFL learners?

1.6. Theoretical framework

Chapter II

Literature Review

2.1. Introduction

Groot compared teaching vocabulary using bilingual lists with teaching vocabulary in appropriate context by the help of a multimedia program called CAVOCA (Groot, 2000). This program is designed on the basis of first language vocabulary acquisition theories according to which, several stages might be involved in learning: 

1) Observation;

2) Storage of linkage; 

3) Consolidation.

Learning will be more effective if learners go through these three stages in the process of learning. For example, in Groot's study, when a student is encountered by a new word, she/he can click on it and then its meaning is presented in the form of motion or motionless pictures and also its pronunciation is given,( observation stage), then some relevant English equivalents are given in order for the student to relate the knowledge he is learning to his background knowledge (storage of linkage), and at the end by doing some exercises and three games, the student can consolidate the new information( consolidation stage).(Cooley 2001)

The results of Groot's research supports the theory of vocabulary acquisition on three stages through multimedia aids. Groot also suggests that students who are learning a foreign language can also use the concepts of words in their own language at the time they are learning the vocabulary of a foreign language. He also assumes that a bilingual presentation which is simple and it is followed by some rehearsal practice can be more efficient.

This chapter is about various application of multimedia aids and its relationship with the acquisition of vocabulary. 

First it focuses on the concept of vocabulary acquisition, then various ways to improve vocabulary acquisition with the help of technology will be explored. After that, different technological aids which improve vocabulary acquisition will be introduced and finally, some teaching principles based on technology which have been effective in teaching vocabulary in language classrooms will be introduced. This study is done in order to gather information about unresolved issues, significant problems, and unanswered questions requiring investigations. (Mauch and Birch, 1983).

2.2. Vocabulary Acquisition

Vocabulary plays an important role in second language acquisition and academic achievement. This study will provide ways to enhance vocabulary acquisition with the help of technology.

2.2.1. Introduction

The role of vocabulary knowledge in second and foreign language acquisition has always been neglected. However, currently teachers and educators are emphasizing on its role in the language teaching curriculum. This is because of several reasons, such as the influence of comprehension-based approaches to language development, the research efforts of applied linguists, and the exciting possibilities opened-up by the development of computer-based language corpora (Nunan, 1999). 

As Tozcu and Coady (2004) point out, learning vocabulary is an important aspect of second or foreign language acquisition and academic achievement, and learning as a language based activity is fundamentally dependent on vocabulary knowledge.

Becker (1977) emphasized on the importance of vocabulary development by linking vocabulary size to the academic achievement of disadvantaged students (Baumunn& Kameenui, 1991). Therefore, he says that lack of necessary vocabulary is the primary reason for academic failure of disadvantaged students especially in grade 3 to 12. In addition, investigations show that students who begin school before typical students in areas such as vocabulary and language development can gain reading skills more quickly and easily, (Carnine, Silbert, & Kameenui, 1990).

2.3.2. The scope of vocabulary learning challenge

2.3.2.1. Vocabulary size

Many researches have been conducted to determine the number of vocabulary needed for language use. In the past scholars believed that about 90 percent coverage of words was enough (Laufer, 1989), but new researches suggest that it should be 98 to 99 percent (Hu & Nation, 2000). 98 percent coverage means that one word in 50 is unknown, which doesn't make comprehension easy (Carver, 1994). It means that students need to know 5000 to 7000 word families to be able to join in conversations, and 8000 to 9000 word families to read a range of authentic texts (for example, novels or newspapers) (Schmitt2008).

If we account this number for spoken discourse, and if we assume that the proper nouns in discourse are known, we can determine the number of words needed to understand informal daily conversations. These vocabulary sizes are essential for learners who wish to reach an advanced level in English, and size tests can be used to find potential shortcomings either in learning or teaching manners.

However, size tests are not enough by themselves. A high score on a vocabulary size test does not necessarily indicate that the individual words are known very well. On the other hand, a student might recognize the words very well, but only know a few of them. Moreover, many lexical problems are not cause by a small vocabulary. Most teachers agree that frequent problems are as follows:

1. Students know only a limited number of words (Laufer 2000).

2. Students have limited knowledge of secondary meaning senses (Schmitt 1998)

3. Students have limited awareness of the different derivative forms of a word (e.g., silly, silliness) (Schmitt and Zimmerman 2002).

4. Students use L1 translations when understanding the meaning of L2 words (Jiang 2004).

2.3.3. Depth of vocabulary knowledge

In addition to requiring a large number of lexical items, a learner must also know a lot about each item in order to be able to use it correctly. This is often referred to as quality or depth of vocabulary knowledge and it is as important as vocabulary size. Many teachers and learners think that a word is learned if the spoken or written form and meaning are known. It is true that that the form-meaning link is the first and most essential lexical aspect that the student need to acquire, but a learner also needs to know much more about lexical items. Lack of depth of knowledge can lead to misuse of vocabulary, such as in the following example: 'the food is very nutrients'. In this case the student knows the word nutrient, but does not know its adjective form nutritious test on size of vocabulary which only includes the firm nutrient cannot identify the problem. In order to detect such problems we need vocabulary tests which determine how well words are known by students.

Nation (2000) provides the best description of different types of word knowledge which need to be known about vocabulary, including written and spoken form, meaning and association connections, grammatical characteristics, collocation, and contextual constraints like register and frequency. Some researchers have tried to develop tests which measure these various types of vocabulary knowledge. For example, Read (1993) developed the Word Associates Test to measure association knowledge of words, Gyllstad (2007) created collocation tests  for Swedish learners of English, and Laufer and Goldstein (2004) developed a computerized test ( CATSS).

However, most of these scholars have focused on a single word knowledge aspect and very few researchers have looked at the interrelationships between the different aspects of word knowledge. And the researches which have been conducted on this issues have used time-consuming procedures (for example Schmitt 1998).therefore, instruments which at the same time look at various aspects of vocabulary knowledge are not yet available.

This is a problem because researches show that having both an adequate size of words and having enough knowledge about the words are required for efficient and fluent vocabulary use(Schmitt 2008). It means that both of these aspects should be tested in order to determine learner's vocabulary knowledge.

2.5. Multimedia Aids

As mentioned earlier, audio-visual or multimedia aids are teaching aids based on computer technologies using sight or sound to present information. Such as, films, videos, motion pictures, slide projectors, language tapes, multimedia games, etc.

2.5.1. Benefits of Multimedia Assisted Language Teaching for Vocabulary Acquisition

Multimedia technologies can help learning in some ways. Many features of the computer can help vocabulary acquisition. Multimedia is one of them. Multimedia refers to computer-based systems that use various types of content, such as text, audio, graphics, animation, and interactivity. Therefore the most important concepts on multimedia are 'computer-based' and 'interactive'.

Some researchers have assessed the value of ESL/EFL software programs for improving vocabulary (Busch, 2003). Also recent studies have assessed the effect of extended use of computers on reading achievement, the effect of computer instruction rate and reading comprehension, the effect of multimedia software on reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition, and the relationship between vocabulary development and reading comprehension (Singhal, 1998).

2.4.4. Benefits of Multimedia-Enhanced Dictionaries

Some other research projects on vocabulary acquisition with the use of multimedia have emphasized on the effectiveness of multimedia enhanced electronic dictionaries designed for English language learners with various aids that books cannot provide for students. For example, the Longman Interactive English Dictionary, the Oxford Picture Dictionary Interactive, etc. (Butler-Pascoe and Wiburg, 2003)

Chapter III

Methodology

In this chapter we will discuss about factors such as the participants, instrumentation, procedure, and data analysis.

3.1. Method of the study

The design of this study is quasi-experimental design, due to the fact that having a randomly selected students to experimental and control groups will not be applied. It is a pretest -posttest design and the subjects serving as experimental and control groups are homogeneous, since the variables of age, sex, linguistic background and proficiency level will be controlled.

3.2. Subjects

The subjects who participate in this experimental research are 22 Iranian students who shared the followed characteristics:

a) They are all within the age range of 10 to 14

b) They are all females.

c) They are all at Elementary level (11 of them were students in one class and the other 11 were students in another class)

d) They share the same linguistic background.

e) They are studying at First Global Village Language Center.

3.3. Instrumentation

12 English audio-visual stories were selected from Bookbox. All the stories are selected from stage 2 which is suitable for Elementary level.

12 story books will be provided from these audio-visual stories which is a simple printing just with 2 or 3 pictures in each page.

A pre-test which is a placement test will be administered to the participants before the treatment.

A post-test will be provided containing 60 vocabulary multiple choice questions selected from the stories.

3.4. Post-test

When selected subjects are divided into two groups to form the control group and experimental groups the subjects in 2 groups should be similar in many respects. That is, there shouldn't be significant differences among the members of the two groups regarding the variable under investigation. To be more cautious and to avoid any potential differences between the groups on the variable under investigation, the researcher will administer a pretest in order to check

the equality of the groups. The pretest here is the placement test which has 2 parts written and spoken.

3.5. Post-test

60 vocabularies will be selected from the story, approximately 5 vocabulary from each story, then 60 multiple choice tests will be designed to test the participants' knowledge of the vocabulary. This test will measure the effect of treatment and the differences between the two groups.

3.6. Procedure

To achieve the objective of the study, the researcher employs two groups of subjects from two different class in Elementary level .All the classes are in 2 days a week (Monday-Wednesday / Tuesday/Thursday) for 3 hours and the last 30 minutes of each class is dedicated to story book.

The first group is the Experimental group and the other is Control group. The experimental group receives the "treatment" which is learning new vocabularies through the audio-visual stories, on the other hand the control group does not receive any treatment they learn new vocabularies from the written texts like before.

3.6. Data analysis

1-First, after collecting scores from 22 subjects, the simple numerical computations such as measuring the frequency, relative frequency, percentage, cumulative frequency, relative cumulative frequency, and percentile rank of each score will be computed.

2-After that the researcher will try to describe the data by considering measures of central tendency and measures of variability.

3-The next step is converting the raw scores into standard scores.

4-Then, at the end in a section, an independent and matched-group t-test on the scores will be obtained from the scores.

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