About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1099-1105
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain

AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY FOR IMPROVING THE LEXICONS OF ESL STUDENTS

U. Mir

RAK Medical & Health Sciences University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Learning a new language requires the acquisition of a large corpus of words. Given the importance of vocabulary to oral and written language comprehension it is astounding that there have been very few experimental studies on English vocabulary learning among elementary school children, especially in the context of a boarding school. This is despite the fact that there is growing evidence that many learners, particularly in ESL (English as a Second Language) setting, are not developing their lexicons to levels that would permit them to communicate, read, or write adequately in English. This paper presents an experimental study that explores various techniques which can be effectively applied to facilitate the learning of ESL and develop the vocabulary of young learners in a boarding school. The study was conducted at the Junior School of Aitchison College, established in 1886 and considered one of the most prestigious educational institutions of its kind in South Asia. The main objectives of the study were as follows:

1. What techniques can be employed to improve the lexicons of young ESL learners, especially the elementary boarding school students?
2. How can we help the children to deduce spellings from the phonics?
3. How far can reading be an effective strategy in improving the lexicons of ESL learners?

The time frame for this study was three months. At the beginning of this study, a pre-test was conducted to gauge the current knowledge of young ESL students. It comprised of four writing assignments, two of which were narrative and two creative. The creative topics were given to tantalize their minds and give them free rein to create. In the light of the pre-test results, a number of activities were employed to improve their vocabulary. These activities included a) Reading books b) Looking up the words in the dictionary c) Usage of Flash Cards and associated quizzes d) Usage of Audio-Visual Aids and e) Nature watch.

Various strategies adopted for implementing the above-mentioned activities are described in detail in the paper. In addition, the impact of these activities on improving the lexicons of young ESL learners is also discussed. After applying the multiple strategies and checking the results, modified strategies were applied. A post-test was then conducted to determine how far the listening, speaking and doing activities had helped in improving the vocabulary of the students. Finally, a close-ended questionnaire was designed for the parents in order to gauge the progress of the students as viewed by their parents.

On the basis of the quantitative as well as qualitative data obtained and analyzed in this study, it was concluded that the teaching and learning strategies applied in this study can effectively improve the vocabulary of ESL learners in a boarding school and can also help them deduce spellings from the phonics. It was also concluded that the reading activity in conjunction with interactive follow-up activities play a significant role in developing the lexicons of young ESL learners. Finally, it may be mentioned here that the strategies employed in this study have two main limitations: a) the number of boarding school students in each class is limited to around 20 for proper implementation of the strategies and b) all the strategies may not be effectively applied to schools other than the boarding schools.
@InProceedings{MIR2013ANE,
author = {Mir, U.},
title = {AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY FOR IMPROVING THE LEXICONS OF ESL STUDENTS},
series = {5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN13 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3822-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {1099-1105}}
TY - CONF
AU - U. Mir
TI - AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY FOR IMPROVING THE LEXICONS OF ESL STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-616-3822-2/2340-1117
PY - 2013
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2013
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN13 Proceedings
SP - 1099
EP - 1105
ER -
U. Mir (2013) AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY FOR IMPROVING THE LEXICONS OF ESL STUDENTS, EDULEARN13 Proceedings, pp. 1099-1105.
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