An Article Critique on Teaching Vocabulary Items through Contextualization and Picture to Elementary Iranian EFL Students
Omid Akbari. Teaching Vocabulary Items through Contextualization and Picture to Elementary Iranian EFL Students. Volume 10. Issue 3, Article 3.
The purpose of this paper was to investigate the effectiveness of teaching vocabulary items through pictures and contextualization to elementary Iranian EFL students.
The subjects were divided into three groups of 32 male learners within the age range of 12-15 for a total of 96 male participants. The subjects were assigned to three almost homogeneous groups, based on their scores on an initial standardized test which was validated beforehand. The linguistic backgrounds of the students are the same as were the teachers and teaching materials utilized . The sample numbers are not large enough. A larger sample size would have yielded better data for analysis. Also, female students were omitted in the testing. This leads to a very gender biased outcome.
In one class, vocabulary items were presented through pictures. The experimental groups received different treatments. In another class, simply contexts and model sentences. The third class, which is the control group, new words were presented through definitions and synonyms. The study took 10 sessions.
Prior to starting the study, two similar tests were created for the pretest and the posttest. The test was validated based on the book “A new Generation” by Colin Granger and Diby Beaumont (1987) which is used at the institute. The pretest was a vocabulary test prepared by the researcher as a 100 vocabulary items selected from the students` textbook. The researcher made a one hundred-item multiple-choice test and did a pilot study on a smaller group. 10 items were discarded and some changed. The reliability of the test was calculated to be 0.94. To make the test valid, the researcher made a correlation between the students` grades on their final exam of the preceding semester and their grades on the researcher’s test in the pilot study. The correlation was 0.8116. The ninety-item multiple-choice test was split into two equal halves based on odd and even numbers. One part was considered as the pretest, and the other one as the posttest. The aim of the posttest was to reveal the efficacy of the treatments provided to the experimental groups during the semester.
During the initial session, the pretest was administered to all the groups to determine if there were any significant differences. A one-way ANOVA technique was utilized. The result was that the three groups were almost homogeneous. At the conclusion of the term, a posttest was administered. One-way ANOVA and t-test were used to analyze the collected data. The result yielded that in the posttest there were significant differences between the picture group and the context group as well as a difference between those two groups and the control group. Both picture and context methods enhanced vocabulary development of the learners, however the group who used pictures did better than the group who used context alone. The picture group outperformed the other two groups significantly. The conclusion to the study was that the contribution of the pictures in teaching vocabulary items to elementary Iranian EFL students led to a higher level of vocabulary improvement.
The limited number of test subjects, the fact that it was restricted to males only, and that the test was only administered to elementary school level children would need to be expanded upon to confirm the findings of this study. However, the techniques utilized could be used in other settings such as secondary schools and universities and can be used to determine if the same applies to other nationals studying English as a Foreign Language.
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