Making Connections in Vocabulary Instruction

Vocabulary teaching and learning constitute a major problem for EFL instructors and students. The pretest showed that freshman students at COLT have difficulty in pronouncing, recognizing the meaning of, using and spelling English words. In their first semester, freshman students are required to take a vocabulary course that consists of 50 lessons (2000 words), each consisting of a presentation page and a practice page. To help the students learn, retain, apply and relate word, the instructional approach focused on connecting the printed form of the word with its pronunciation (the hidden sounds, double & silent letters, and homophones), with its part of speech, singular or plural form, synonym or antonym, English & Arabic meanings, usage, component parts, previously-encountered words and others while presenting the new vocabulary items in each lesson. Categorization, association, and visualization skills and mnemonic approaches were emphasized. Out of class extensive reading and listening activities were also encouraged. Quizzes required the students to make the above-mentioned connections. Comparisons of pre and posttest results and of the experimental and control groups' test scores revealed significant differences in vocabulary knowledge and skills. The experimental approach proved to be effective in enhancing vocabulary learning by struggling EFL college students.

Prof. Reima Al-jarf
King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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