Learning and teaching vocabulary in a second language : Testing three distinct techniques
Abstract: The purpose of this essay is to investigate what technique is the most successful one when learning and teaching English vocabulary. Focus is on three distinct techniques: one focusing on writing, one involving pictures, and one that uses the concept of social interaction with tasks and exercises in groups. To achieve results regarding the degree of success for each technique, three different lessons are planned and executed, each lesson designed according to one of the techniques. The pupils that are taught are three classes in year 7 at Östergårdsskolan, Halmstad. The students are given pre-tests, to see how much previous knowledge the students have, and an immediate post-test is also given after the lesson. Three weeks later, the same test is given to find out how much of the information had been transformed into long-term memory. The results from the tests were summarized to see which class had learned the most words, and the results were discussed. Furthermore, interviews were held with four English teachers and 24 students, regarding their attitudes to vocabulary learning. These answers are also analyzed and discussed. After the lessons had been conducted and the results processed, it was obvious that the class that had learned the most words was the class that used the method of writing. The problem was that this class had forgotten the biggest amount of words when looking at the delayed post-test, which leads to the conclusion that the method of writing only helps the information transfer into the short-term memory. When analyzing the delayed post-test, it is visible that the class that remembered the biggest amount of words was the one that used the technique of images. Although they learned the least words during the lesson, they also remembered the most words after three weeks. The conclusion drawn from this is that it is very useful for students to write the words down on paper, even though they already have them in their books. Using another sense, in this case writing, is a great way of transferring information into short-term memory. However, if the goal is for the students to remember the new vocabulary for a long time, the method of using images is the most effective one.
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