A STUDY ON USING VISUAL AIDS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING ENGLISH VOCABULARY FOR FIRST YEAR NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS AT COLLEGE OF SCIENCES

                                   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to a number of people, without whose support, this graduation paper would not have been completed.

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincerest and deepest gratitude towards my supervisor, Ms. Phan Thi Hoa for her dedicatedly invaluable help and useful corrections. It was she who continually reminded me about managing time despite her busy schedule at school and at home. Her kindly constructive guidance, suggestions and comments have made it possible for me to finish this study.

Next, I am very grateful to the teachers of Department of Basic Sciences, who have enthusiastically participated as informants for the study without their attending questionnaire survey, the methodology section of the study could not be accomplishedly completed.

Moreover, I want to show my special attitude to the first year non- English major students inCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversitywho help me finish the survey questionnaire of this research.

Last but not least, I am truly grateful to my family and friends for their continual encouragement during the time I conducted the research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                    

 

ABSTRACT

The acquisition of vocabulary has long been left to be a crucial component of learning a foreign language. Therefore, techniques for teaching and learning vocabulary become the matter of concern in many studies. There are a lot of different techniques for teachers to help their students improve their vocabulary. However, the current teachers’ methods of teaching vocabulary do not satisfy with their students’ expectation. Students are not interested in learning English vocabulary.

The application of visual aids is considered one of the effective ways to teach English vocabulary to students. So, it is necessary to get teachers and students familiarized with this relaxing but useful and effective technique. This research intends to examine the use of visual aids to teach English vocabulary to the first year non- English major students atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity. More specifically, the researcher strived to investigate the current situation of teaching and learning vocabulary of first year non- English major students atCollegeofSciences, TNU, the specific use of visual aids and propose some recommendations for teaching vocabulary at this College.

The researcher has conducted a survey with the participation of seven teachers and 100 first year non- English major students atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity. The data on participants’ using visual aids in teaching and learning English vocabulary was collected through questionnaires.

The result of this study indicated that all teachers and students were fully aware of the importance of teaching and learning vocabulary. However, the quality of teaching and learning vocabulary was not really good. Besides, teachers used different techniques to teach vocabulary and they also used visual aids as an effective aid when teaching vocabulary. Furthermore, each technique still has some limitations so this study also provides some suggestions for teachers to partly deal with them.

 

                 TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgement

Abstract

Table of contents

List of figures in the study

List of tables in the study

PART A:  INTRODUCTION.. 1

1.       Statement of the problem and rationale for the study. 1

2.       Objectives of the study. 4

3.       Significance of the study. 4

4.       Methods of the study. 5

5.       Scope of the study. 5

6.       Research questions. 5

7.       Design of the study. 6

PART B: DEVELOPMENT.. 7

CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW… 7

1.1. An overview of vocabulary. 7

1.1.1 Definitions of vocabulary. 7

1.1.2 Roles of vocabulary. 8

1.1.3 Classifications of vocabulary. 10

1.1.4. Aspects to be taught when teaching vocabulary. 11

1.1.4.1 Aspects of meaning. 11

1.1.4.2. Forms of a word. 12

1.1.4.2.1 Pronunciation and Spelling. 12

1.1.4.2.2 Grammar. 13

1.1.4.3 Use of a word. 14

1.1.5 How to teach a new word. 15

1.1.5.1 Presenting a new word. 15

1.1.5.2 Practicing the use of word. 16

1.2 An overview of visual aids. 17

1.2.1 Definitions of visual aids. 17

1.2.2 Kinds of visual aids. 19

1.2.2.1 Boards. 19

1.2.2.2 Pictures. 21

1.2.2.3 Drawings. 24

1.2.2.4 Realias. 26

1.2.2.5 Action and performance. 27

1.2.3 Some considerations in planning visual aids. 28

1.2.4 Summary. 29

CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY.. 30

2.1 Participants: 30

2.2 Data collection instruments. 30

2.3 Procedure of data collection. 32

2.3.1 Phase 1:. 32

2.3.2  Phase 2:. 32

2.4 Procedure of data analysis. 33

2.5 Summary. 33

CHAPTER III: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.. 34

3.1 Research question 1: Current situations of teaching and learning vocabulary for first year non- English major students at College Of Sciences, Thai Nguyen University. 34

3.1.1 Data collection and analysis of the findings from student survey. 34

3.1.1.1 Students’ attitudes towards vocabulary. 34

3.1.1.2 Students’ assessment on their own vocabulary. 37

3.1.1.3 Students’ perception of Teacher’s current vocabulary teaching methods. 39

3.1.1.4 Students’ preference techniques of teaching vocabulary. 40

3.1.2 Data collection and analysis of the findings from teacher survey. 41

3.1.2.1 Teachers’ attitudes towards vocabulary and teaching vocabulary. 41

3.1.2.2 Teachers’ assessment on their students’ vocabulary. 44

3.1.2.3 Teachers’ current vocabulary teaching methods. 45

3.2 Research question 2: The use of visual aids in teaching vocabulary and its benefits  46

3.2.1 Data collection and analysis of the findings from student survey. 46

3.2.1.1 The exposure of students towards visual aids. 46

3.2.1.2 Students’ perceptions on kinds of visual aids used in vocabulary teaching  47

3.2.1.3 The necessity of learning vocabulary through visual aids. 49

3.2.1.4 The frequency of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary. 49

3.2.1.5 Students’ opinion about benefits of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary  50

3.2.1.6 The effect of using visual aids on the class atmosphere through students’ point of views  51

3.2.1.7 Students’ perception of the effects of using visual aids on their vocabulary  52

3.2.1.8 The attitude of students towards visual aids. 53

3.2.2 Data collection and analysis of the findings from teacher survey. 54

3.2.2.1 The attitude of teacher towards using visual aids in teaching vocabulary  54

3.2.2.2 The purpose of using visual aids in teaching process. 56

3.2.2.3 Kinds of visual aids that teachers often used in their teaching. 57

3.2.2.4 The frequency of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary. 57

3.2.2.5 The effectiveness of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary. 58

3.2.2.6 The importance of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary. 61

3.2.2.7 The advantages of using visual aids in lessons. 62

3.3 Research question 3: Difficulties in using visual aids to teach English vocabulary  63

3.3.1 Data collection and analysis of the findings from student survey. 63

3.3.2 Data collection and analysis of the findings from teacher survey. 64

3.4 Summary. 65

PART C: CONCLUSION.. 66

1. Major findings of the research. 66

2.  Suggestions for English teachers at College of Sciences when using visual aids to teach vocabulary. 67

3. Limitations of the researcher. 69

4. Recommendations for further studies. 69

REFERENCES. 70

WEBSITES VISISTED.. 73

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR TEACHERS. 74

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR THE FIRST YEAR-NON ENGLISH.. 78

MAJOR STUDENTS. 78

PHIẾU ĐIỀU TRA.. 82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIST OF FIGURES IN THE STUDY

    

Figures

Title

Page

3.1

Time for learning vocabulary

35

3.2

Students’ vocabulary

37

3.3

Teachers’ opinion about the importance of teaching vocabulary

42

3.4

The amount of time for teachers spent on teaching vocabulary

43

3.5

Teachers’ assessment on their students’ vocabulary

44

3.6

Teachers’ current vocabulary teaching methods

45

3.7

Use of visual aids in learning vocabulary

46

3.8

Types of visual aids used in teaching vocabulary (as perceived by students)

47

3.9

Types of visual aids that students like best

48

3.10

Students’ opinions on the necessity of learning vocabulary through visual aids

49

3.11

The frequency of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary (as perceived by the students)

50

3.12

The effect of using visual aids on the class atmosphere basing on students’ point of views

51

3.13

Students’ perception of the effects of using visual aids on their vocabulary

52

3.14

Attitude of students towards visual aids

53

3.15

Teachers’ opinion about the usefulness of visual aids

55

3.16

Teachers’ preference for teaching vocabulary through visual aids

55

3.17

Purposes of using visual aids in teaching English vocabulary

56

3.18

Kinds of visual aids used in teaching vocabulary (as perceived by the teacher)

57

3.19

The frequency of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary

58

3.20

Teachers’ perception on the effectiveness of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary

59

3.21

The effect of using visual aids on the class atmosphere (as perceived by the teachers)

60

3.22

The effects of using visual aids on teaching vocabulary

61

3.23

The advantages of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary

62

3.24

The difficulties in using visual aids in class

64

 

 

 

 

 

LIST OF TABLES IN THE STUDY

Table

Title

Page

3.1

Students’ opinion on the importance of learning vocabulary

35

3.2

Students’ having difficulties in learning vocabulary

36

3.3

Students’ ability  to use their vocabulary

38

3.4

Students’ perception of teachers’ current vocabulary techniques

39

3.5

Students’ preference on teaching vocabulary techniques

40

3.6

Students’ opinion about the benefit of using visual aids

51

3.7

Students’ opinions about the frequency of visual aids used by teachers

54

3.8

The importance of using visual aids in teaching vocabulary

61

3.9

Students’ opinion about their teachers’ failure to use visual aids

63

 

 


PART A:  INTRODUCTION

  1. 1.      Statement of the problem and rationale for the study.

Each nation has its own language to help people who live there to communicate with each other. So, how can people in this country communicate with the other ones? It is necessary for people to know other languages apart from their mother tongue. People can learn many foreign languages but the most popular and important language for every people to interact and communicate with people around the world is English. Although it is difficult to learn and master English, it is worthwhile to study the language because it has a very important role in most all fields of life such as communication, commerce, economy, politics, education, science, technology, and so on. English is an international language. Today, it is important to master English in global era. In Vietnam, English has also become a popular language. Because of the important role of English, it is compulsory to teach English as a core subject in the curricula of schools and universities in the whole country. In learning language as well as learning English, vocabulary plays a tremendously important role. Vocabulary is the tool of thought, self-expression, translation and communication. The famous linguist Wilkins (cited in Thornbury, 2002) said that “without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed”. It means that people could describe few things without grammar, but they could not express anything without vocabulary. Della H and Hocking D, Innovations, LTP, also pointed out that “if you spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very much. You will see most improvement if you learn more words and expressions. You can say very little with grammar, but you can say almost anything with words!” In addition, August, Carlo, Dressler and Snow (2005) found that English learners who experienced slow vocabulary development were less able to comprehend texts at grade level than their peers were. Widdowson thought that the native English speaker can understand those language material with correct vocabulary but not so proper in grammar rules rather than those with correct grammar rules but not so proper in vocabulary use.

For many years, however, teaching vocabulary was considered an add-on to teaching grammar or simply a by-product of language teaching and communicative functions (Meara, 1980). The reasons were: firstly, too many words in one sentence were believed to break its grammar structure and spoil children in learning systematic grammar, secondly, it was thought that vocabulary could be learnt through experience only and therefore, there was little need for the teachers to focus much on teaching their students vocabulary; and thirdly, they put the emphasis of teaching grammar on priority to vocabulary were already taken too much of any lesson in the classroom (Allen, 1983).

English teachers usually prioritize syntax or morphology as central to linguistic theory and more critical to language pedagogy. They do not think that vocabulary is central to language and words are of critical importance to the typical language learners. However, there has been increased focus on teaching vocabulary recently, partly as a result of “the development of new approaches to language teaching, which are much more ‘word-centered’.” (Thornbury 2004: vi). The core concept of how important teaching vocabulary in class was not recognized until late 1970s and 1980s when people realized the necessity of vocabulary in reading comprehension (Allen, 1983, p5).

With those points mentioned above, it is undeniable that vocabulary plays a very important role in language acquisition as well as in learning English. Therefore, teachers and students should spend much more time finding the most useful and suitable methods in teaching and learning English vocabulary. The teacher should look for an effective technique to make learning vocabulary easier, more pleasant and enjoyable. Techniques are tools of a teacher. An effective teacher has a multitude of technique and must be able to select the ones which will be the most efficient in leading the learners to the desired terminal behavior. There are many ways to teach and learn vocabulary, in which using visual aids are considered one of the most useful and effective way to teach and to learn English vocabulary. By using visual aids, the students should find vocabulary learning both stimulating and enjoyable. In addition, by using visual aids as means of teaching vocabulary, students will be interested and more enthusiastic in learning vocabulary.

 The teaching that uses visual material will almost certainly be better and will not properly be easier because understanding and ideas are more easily discovered by the students. (Howard, 1968:143). Lynne Cameron also said that “vocabulary is best learned when meaning of words is illustrated, for example by a picture, an action or real object”.
Using visual aids could make students draw attention to the lesson, arouse their interest in it and create the good learning atmosphere during the lesson. In addition, through visual aids, learners can enjoy themselves, release stress and have an open mind to learn and perceive the words.

Unfortunately, vocabulary has often been taught through mother tongue translation inVietnam. As it is an unplanned way, it seems to be the most common and easiest technique for many teachers of English as a foreign language. However, this technique, which has derived from grammar translation method, is not the best one. To give a translation equivalent of an unknown word is not to teach its meaning but helping the students to understand the new word in that particular context. So translation should not be used too much. Students of Vietnamese universities in general have problems in mastering the vocabulary items they learnt, for example the students’ mastery of vocabulary is still poor such as on describing the meaning. Many students gradually lose their interest and motivation on learning vocabulary during the year. Because of the fact that the teachers’ techniques do not appeal the students’ learning style, they are generally bored with the same type of vocabulary exercises and activities. So, the teachers should present the vocabulary in a motivating way in order to keep the students’ willing to learn. In addition, the students memorize new vocabulary and forget them at once because new words are often introduced with traditional techniques. It means that planned vocabulary teaching has been neglected. So, it causes poor or inefficient vocabulary learning. Sometimes, vocabulary totally ignored due to the heavy loaded grammar-based curriculum.

In College of Sciences (COS), Thai Nguyen University (TNU), when being asked about their vocabulary in a small talk, many students claimed that they were very disappointed with their vocabulary ability. Although they were fully aware of the role of vocabulary in learning English, they did not spend much time on learning them. Besides, they also admitted that they often learned vocabulary by translating in to Vietnamese. Many of them said that they have never used other techniques as well as visual aids to learn English vocabulary. Other students said that they sometimes were taught vocabulary through visual aids but not much.

All the reasons mentioned above urged the researcher to conduct the study “A study on using visual aids in teaching and learning English vocabulary for first year non-English major students at College of Sciences”. As a result, in this study, a need has been to use visual aids as an aid which will both have a value of teaching and make vocabulary learning motivating since using visual aids is a good way to help students’ comprehension and to activate them to practice what they have learnt.

  1. 2.      Objectives of the study

This study aims at raising teachers and students’ awareness of the importance of vocabulary in English teaching and learning and the need of using visual aids to teach English vocabulary. In addition, the purpose of this study is also to investigate the current vocabulary teaching situation to the first year non- English major atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity. Moreover, this paper also provides some recommendations for effective application in teaching and learning English vocabulary.

  1. 3.      Significance of the study

This study is important in that using visual aids may be one of the useful aids to solve the problems in vocabulary teaching. Visual aids may provide students a meaningful authentic context by means of which they can learn more vocabulary easily. Therefore, it will analyze the effects of visual aids on vocabulary recognition and retention.

        This study is also significant in that it may have a contribution toward vocabulary teaching offered atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity, and it may lead to research on other skills. In addition, by analyzing the result of teaching English atCOS,TNUniversity, the writer hopes to get good knowledge in teaching vocabulary, especially for the first year non-major students. Then, completing this study, its findings will help to improve student’ vocabulary. Finally, the writer hopes that this paper will be a beneficial reference for not only teachers and students but also for those who have the same problem with teaching vocabulary.

  1. 4.      Methods of the study

In order to collect appropriate data throughout process of carrying out this research, some suitable methodologies are used:

 Firstly, the researcher consults the information from many documents, books and materials, etc. which provide plenty of information related to the topic, and several websites and materials from the internet which are relevant to the topic of using visual aids to teach English vocabulary for students.

Secondly, the researcher conducts a survey with questionnaires for both teachers and the first year non-major students atCollegeofSciences. Finally, all the collected data was analyzed and to discover the problems that teachers and students encounter when using visual aids to teach and learn English vocabulary.

  1. 5.      Scope of the study

The study only focuses on dealing with using visual aids in teaching and learning vocabulary, not any other stimulating activities. Within the limitation of a graduation paper, this study focuses only on investigating the recent situation of teaching English vocabulary in a small range, just among the first year non English-major students atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity.

  1. 6.      Research questions

This study is conducted in order to seek answers for the following questions will be sought:

  1. What is the current situation of teaching and learning vocabulary for first year non English-major students atCollegeofSciences,ThaiNguyenUniversity?
  2. What are the benefits of using visual aids in teaching and learning English vocabulary to first year English-major students at COS,ThaiNguyenUniversity?
  3. What are difficulties of using visual aids in teaching and learning English vocabulary to first year English-major students at COS,ThaiNguyenUniversity?

  1. 7.      Design of the study

This study consists of three main parts:

Part A is the “introduction” in which the statement of the problem and the rationale for the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, methods of the study and the design of the study will be clearly stated.

Part B is Development which includes three main chapters:

  • Chapter I is “literature review” deals with the review of related literature and studies, the general overall identification of area of the study.
  • Chapter II is “methodology” which mentions the investigation the current situation use of using visual aids to the first year non-major students atCollegeofSciences. Besides, the background information of the subject of research, the instruments used to collect data and procedures of data collection are made clear.
  • Chapter III is “result and discussion” which presents, analyzes and discusses the findings that the researcher found out from the data collected according to the three research questions.

Part C is “conclusion” which summarizes what have been mentioned in the previous parts, introduces some limitations of the research, pedagogical implications of using visual aids to teach vocabulary and provides some suggestions for further studies as well.

 

 

PART B: DEVELOPMENT

 

CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW

1.1. An overview of vocabulary

1.1.1 Definitions of vocabulary

One of the general components which have to be mastered well by students in learning English is vocabulary. If the students lack of vocabulary, they will have difficulties in using English. To know what is vocabulary the writer would like to present several definitions. Up till now, there has not been only one but a wide variety of definitions of vocabulary. In order to find the best and easiest-to- understand definition is such an unfeasible task. Each linguist or scholar, in his specialized field, with his own set of criteria has found out for his own a way to define vocabulary. However, in the most popular way, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Online has applied a meaning for vocabulary as “all the words which exist in a particular language or subject.” This definition covers vocabulary’s meaning on the whole. Nevertheless, it does not show vocabulary in a deep understanding. More precisely, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (1995) presents six meanings of the word “Vocabulary” as follow:

1. All the words that someone knows, learns or uses.

2. The words that are typically used when talking about a particular subject.

3. All the words in a particular language.

4. The word failure/ compromises, etc. is not in somebody’s vocabulary used to say that someone never thinks of accepting failures, etc

5. A list of words with explanations of their meaning in a book for learning foreign languages.

Pages: 1 2

2 Responses to A STUDY ON USING VISUAL AIDS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING ENGLISH VOCABULARY FOR FIRST YEAR NON-ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS AT COLLEGE OF SCIENCES

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