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I. The organization of the study

I. The organization of the study

Tải bản đầy đủ - 20trang



I. Reason for choosing the subject

1. Importance of vocabulary

Since learning English is very popular in non-English speaking countries,

developing modern assisted-learning tools that support effective English

learning is a critical issue in the English - language education field. Learning

English involves memorization and practice of a large number of vocabulary

words and numerous grammatical structures. Vocabulary learning is a principal

issue for English learning because vocabulary comprises the basic building

blocks of English sentences. Therefore, many studies have attempted to improve

the efficiency and performance when learning English vocabulary. With the

accelerated growth in wireless and mobile technologies, mobile learning using

mobile devices such as PDAs, tablet PCs, and cell phones has gradually become

considered effective because it inherits all the advantages of e-learning and

overcomes limitations of learning time and space that limit web-based learning

systems. Therefore, this study presents a personalized mobile English

vocabulary learning system based on Item Response Theory and learning

memory cycle, which recommends appropriate English vocabulary for learning

according to individual learner vocabulary ability and memory cycle. The

proposed system has been successfully implemented on personal digital assistant

(PDA) for personalized English vocabulary learning. The experimental results

indicated that the proposed system could obviously promote the learning

performances and interests of learners due to effective and flexible learning

mode for English vocabulary learning.

2. Vocabulary in real high school

In real high school When introducing new vocabulary, the teacher just

explains the meanings quickly with Vietnamese equivalents and asks the

students to take notes. Although this translation technique is time-saving, it is

not effective at all. The students may find it sheer torture to stuff their pitiful

heads with meaningless words and rigid definitions.

Since teaching method determines learners’ success in learning English, it

should be updated so that every vocabulary lesson becomes more interesting and

effective. In fact, more teachers have lately begun to adapt visual techniques,

verbal techniques and combine different techniques in presenting new

vocabulary. However, not many teachers have known how to make the best of

this newly-employed technique. Some teachers even belittle the importance of

innovating teaching methodology and refuse to update or apply new techniques

to teach new words.


While the traditional method is being criticized and discouraged, the new

method also demonstrates many shortcomings. It is unquestionable that the new

teaching method makes a lesson more fun and lively to both the teacher and the

students. However, it can be very time-consuming. There may be not much time

left for the students to do the tasks in their textbooks and they will not remember

the main grammatical points. “The lesson cannot be effective enough with the

new method if the load of knowledge is so overwhelming while the teacher

cannot find a sensible way to arrange the time properly between revision and

practice” (Anh, 2006).

Practically, the two techniques are co-existing and each has its own merits

and defects. What matters is whether visual aids – the new technique mentioned

in Anh (2006) are really beneficial to students’ vocabulary improvement as

compared with translation technique. Additionally, another question is raised,

that is, whether students can be motivated with visual teaching aids, verbal aids,

and combining different methods

- According to old method ( only translate new vocabulary) In reality

teaching vocabulary gets the following results ( Unit 2 –personal experiences

and Unit 7 world population period A : reading- class 11a1- Nguyen Thi Loi

high school- Thanh Hoa province).






















The number of




II. Aims of the study

The present study aims at assessing the effectiveness of visual aids in

improving students’ performance as compared with translation technique.

Equally important, the authors make an attempt to find out whether this

approach positively contributes to creating a good motivation for students in

learning vocabulary. With the aims of the study, we try to seek the answers to

the following questions:

1. Is there any difference in high school students’ performance when

learning vocabulary with visual aids and when being taught with translation


2. Are high school students motivated in vocabulary lessons that employ

visual aids , and verbal method and combine different methods in teaching?

In accordance with the above research questions, two main hypotheses are made

by the researchers: (1) Teaching vocabulary with visual aids, verbal aids and

combine different methods does positively enhance high school students’

performance as compared with translation technique; (2) High school students

are highly motivated when visual aids, verbal methods and combine different

methods are applied in vocabulary lessons.


I. Types of vocabulary

1. Active and passive vocabulary

Vocabulary items can be classified into two types: active and passive

vocabulary. Active vocabulary is defined as “words which students will need to

understand and also use themselves.” (Doff, 1988, p. 19) 1 In teaching this type

of vocabulary, it is necessary that teachers spend time giving examples and

asking questions to check students’ understanding. Teachers also need to show

the students the possible contexts where these words can occur so that students

know how to use them appropriately and effectively. Active vocabulary words

are vital for the productive skills such as speaking and writing.

On the other hand, passive vocabulary is characterized as “words which

we want students to understand (e.g. when reading a text), but which they will

not need to use themselves.” (Doff, 1988, p. 19) 1 Therefore, teachers only

present passive items quickly with simple examples or leave them for the

students to guess from the context. Passive vocabulary words are especially

useful for receptive skills of reading and listening.

By carefully picking out the important words to teach, teachers can

improve students’ vocabulary learning ability and make students become more

eager to learn new words.

2. Concrete and abstract vocabulary

Vocabulary can also be classified into concrete and abstract types.

Concrete vocabulary represents “the entity that can be physically perceived


through the sense either in the form of objects or in the form of events”

(Mallikarjun, 2002). In other words, people can see or touch the things. In

contrast, vocabulary items representing “the entity like love, soul, and fear

can be called abstract vocabulary” (Mallikarjun, 2002) 7 This is because

these concepts cannot be physically perceived. People need to use their

imagination to sense them mentally. In other words, people can only feel or

experience them but can not touch such concepts as real objects. In terms

of teaching, due to the diverse features of concrete and abstract words,

teachers have to apply various ways of teaching to present their meaning.

For concrete ones, teachers can show meaning visually such as using

miming, realia, pictures, actions, gestures, facial expressions or objects.

Meanwhile, the meaning of abstract ones can be showed through examples,

situations or translations. Teachers have difficulty in explaining abstract

words to students because they are not physically represented in teaching

environment (Igbaria, n.d). “It is easier to remember concrete words like a

chair and a dog than abstract words” (Přibilová, 2006, p. 18) 10

3. Aspects of vocabulary

As mentioned above, learning vocabulary is a big challenge for students

in high school. Students need a lot of guidance right from the very beginning.

Therefore, the teacher’s role in teaching vocabulary is very important. In

addition to selecting the essential vocabulary to teach, the teacher must know

what aspects of lexis need to be taught in the classroom. Vocabulary knowledge

should include such aspects as the form of the word, its grammar, collocation,

different aspects of meaning and the word formation (Ur 1996, as cited in

Sussane Flohr, 2008). 2 Basic dimensions of a lexical item are presented as


4. Form

The first important aspect that defines vocabulary is the form of words,

consisting of pronunciation and spelling. Pronunciation refers to the way a word

is spoken. It includes word stress, sentence stress, intonation, and word linking.

“Pronunciation has been seen as the Cinderella of language teaching due to its

complexity” (Kelly, 1969, as cited in Qian-Mei Zhang, 2009) 1 “It is believed

that only few learners can ever attain native-like pronunciation in the foreign

language, especially those who learn to speak a second language after puberty”

(Lenneberg, 1967, as cited in Qian-Mei Zhang, 2009) 1 Generally, not every

learner is capable of sounding like a native speaker, yet it is possible to develop

correct pronunciation. Bad pronunciation often confuses the listener and

sometimes causes unexpected misunderstanding. That is why it is crucial to

teach students the right pronunciation so that they will not come up against any

difficulties in expressing themselves.

Spelling is another factor contributing to a learner’s language competence.

As defined by Kress (2000), “spelling is knowing how to write words correctly”


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I. The organization of the study

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