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The Effect Type of Vocabulary Exercise on L2 Vocabulary Learning
|Issue Date:||2021-02-01 14:28:22 (UTC+8)|
This study aimed to investigate the effect type of vocabulary exercise on L2 vocabulary learning. Based on the Involvement Load Hypothesis, the vocabulary exercises with higher involvement load claim better performance of vocabulary acquisition (Hulstijin & Laufer, 2001). In view of this, the efficacy of the exercises on word retention was explored with two types of commonly-used vocabulary exercises, exercises of blank-filling and writing original sentences. They were employed for three exercise conditions: one set of fill-in-the-blank, three sets of fill-in-the-blank and one set of writing original sentences. Besides, three variables of learner factors were also investigated in this study: English proficiency, age and gender.
Seventy-two students participated in this study. They were from two classes, one from junior high schools and the other from senior high schools, in a private secondary school in the southern Taiwan. Prior to the experiment, learners’ vocabulary knowledge of 15 target words was examined by the modified Vocabulary Knowledge Scale (VKS). During the experiment, all of the participants practiced these target words in the three exercise conditions, which appeared in a random sequence to avoid the recency effect (Phillips, 1981). After the experiment, the vocabulary knowledge of these words was examined in an immediate posttest.
The results are summarized as follows. First, the three exercise conditions significantly enhanced the participants’ word retention. Besides, Condition 2 (three sets of fill-in-the-blank) produced the most word gains, Condition 3 (one set of writing original sentences) made the more gains, and Condition 1 (one set of fill-in-the-blank) made the least gains. Also, Conditions 2 and 3 did not show a significant difference between each other while they each showed significant superiority over Condition 1. Second, the three exercise conditions exerted a significant effect on word knowledge and retention of both high and low English achievers. Specifically, high English achievers performed better than low ones in the three conditions, and Condition 2 facilitated the low English achievers’ word retention more than Condition 1. Third, no matter senior and junior high school students, the three conditions all demonstrated positive effects on their word retention, but the senior high school students outperformed the junior high school students. Fourth, not only the males but also the females reaped benefits from the three conditions. However, the females outperformed their counterparts in all conditions, and they also yielded a markedly higher score in Condition 2 than in Condition 1.
It is hoped that the findings of the present study could offer English teachers some insights on how to apply vocabulary exercises to help improve learners’ word acquisition, and retention.
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