• The role of vocabulary learning strategies in lexical progression in an ESL context

      Jafari, Nuzhat (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2017)
      This study explores vocabulary learning strategies (VLSs) behind the lexical progression in adult learners assessed by productive vocabulary tests. Previous research has provided some insights into this issue (Ahmad, 1989; Gu and Johnson, 1996; Wu, 2005). Such research, however, tended to focus on individual or a small number of strategies, and very few studies looked at a group of VLSs as a whole (e.g. Schmitt, 1997) particularly in the Pakistani tertiary ESL context. This large-scale, longitudinal study was therefore designed to fill this gap, by examining the impact of some curricular and extra-curricular VLSs on vocabulary gain assessed by two types of a productive vocabulary test. The two types of test (i.e. general and course-related vocabulary tests) were administered twice to 578 Pakistani tertiary students who were learning English as a second language with a one-year gap in between to assess the learners’ vocabulary progress. They also responded to the VLS questionnaire to report on the VLS they adopted, and 120 of them also took part in four weeks’ structured vocabulary learning diary reports (N=120 x 4 weeks) as well as interviews to elaborate on their VLSs use. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks tests identified the learners’ significant vocabulary gain between the pre-and post-tests. A series of multiple regression analyses showed extra-curricular, self-initiatives and selective-attention strategies significantly predicted general vocabulary progress, whereas the curricular, dictionary for comprehension, association and imagery and selective-attention strategies turned out to be best positive predictors of course-related vocabulary progress. Structured weekly diary reports and interview data indicated complex nature of VLSs use, such as the use of certain VLSs in particular contexts and two or more strategies in combination. Students who progressed in both general and course-related vocabulary seemed to use a variety of strategies in combination, and their balanced and integrated approach appeared to be the most efficient in general and course-related vocabulary progression. i turned out to be best positive predictors of course-related vocabulary progress. Structured weekly diary reports and interview data indicated complex nature of VLSs use, such as the use of certain VLSs in particular contexts and two or more strategies in combination. Students who progressed in both general and course- related vocabulary seemed to use a variety of strategies in combination, and their balanced and integrated approach appeared to be the most efficient in general and course-related vocabulary progression.