Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 5 May 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Copyright © 2008
M. S. Thirumalai


English Vocabulary Learning Strategies Manipulated
By the Students of Azad University, District 5:
A Gender-oriented Study

Davood Madani, Ph.D.
Fatemeh Azizmohammadi, Ph.D.


Different learners resort to different strategies on approaching each learning situation, and bring with them the experiences they might have previously had. This variation is identified to stem from factors such as attitude, motivation, age, personality, academic major, and gender.

Investigation of the effect of the last one on the type and frequency of English vocabulary learning strategies manipulated by learners of the fifth district of Azad University has been the aim of the work in hand.

For this purpose, the branches in Arak, Khomein, Hamedan, Malayer, Borojerd and Doroud were chosen to have their students collectively fill out the 300 SILL questionnaires distributed. Here, no other criterion except gender was put on the participants.

The returned 180 and 114 questionnaires of respectively males and females were analyzed to result in the corresponding means of 2.81 and 2.80 on a scale of one to five, and the common standard deviation of 2.70; thus, showing no significant mean difference to the point of nullification of the related hypothesis.

The other hypotheses claiming variation between genders concerning the six categories of vocabulary learning strategies were also nullified through t-test formula applied at alpha=0.05. Only six strategies out of fifty proved to significantly distinguish males and females. The overall mean of 2.80 reveals a medium index of strategy employment, and reminds educationalists the careful instruction of vocabulary learning strategies in English classes.

Key words: Vocabulary, Learning strategy, Gender, Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL)


It has been customary in the literature of TEFL to provide teachers with the specific techniques to be used when instructing their learners in class. Within the teacher-training centers and the other affiliated corners instructors and the stakeholders have been always busy thinking of developing and introducing new techniques for teaching different aspects of language carefully scrutinized and fine-tuned with both macro- and micro-level considerations observed. Here the basic proposition has been, as often, helping teachers facilitate and foster learners' acquisition of the input systematically provided either by the curriculum designers or through the teachers' intuition; thus, having the teachers equipped with a bunch of techniques formally prescribed under the superordinate term of method/methods.

An apparent feature of all methods of language teaching is that they impose a framework within which all learners are thought of as sharing the same abilities and capabilities stable at least for a period of time and to be activated at any time demanded by the teacher. The result of such a naďve nightmare has been the marginalization of learners in the complicated course of teaching-learning continuum, and the decisions about learners specifically on the ways learners are to receive and acquire the points being made in absentia. Learners' dissatisfaction with the training procedure, lack of motivation to pursue the objectives, being indifferent towards the opportunities provided, irrespectiveness for peers, experiencing failure and discouragement, and leaving the arena of education and instruction are some of the unwelcome offspring of such impersonal methodological systems.

Bringing learners to the fore and finding out what they bring to the learning situation with the aim of tracing the procedure they naturally follow in acquiring linguistic elements, and identifying the ways they are much more willing to learn and subsequently show off their intaken points, is a solution put forward only decades ago to give learners their abated share.

As a result, the existing techniques and methodologies gained the new color of learner-friendliness and current learner-oriented approaches developed incorporating learners' characteristics and their featured learning qualities.

On Defining "Good Language Learners" and Strategies

The heralding point of this revolutionary stage was the attempt to describe "good language learners" in terms of personal characteristics, styles and strategies (Rubin, 1975; Stern 1975). It was assumed that once the way successful learners acquire mastery in a language is known it can be hopefully ascribed to other situations and cases of language learning to provide the prospective learners with a true model. In later decades, the point was diligently pursued to come up with the comprehensive researches encompassing specific learning strategies finely processed and classified (Oxford, 1990; O'Malley and Chamot, 1990) to provide a theory of language learning and use strategies (Dörnyei and Skehan, 2003).

The identified strategies, far from being haphazardly developed by trial-and-error and specifically intuition, are reached at by the careful observation and analysis of groups of learners learning and using different versions of language in various situations, and then having the findings proof-worked via manipulating other data-collection techniques like self-reports through interviews, written diaries and journals, think-aloud protocols, and strategy inventories presented in the form of questionnaires (to be elaborated on in the next chapter).

Every one or a combination of these techniques can be successfully made use of in discovering the learners' strategies in learning and using any aspect of language, here in this research the lexical items -vocabulary of English as a second/foreign language, for the purpose of better instruction in shade of appropriate coursebook development and classroom procedures.

The Vocabulary Component

The vocabulary component of English as a second/foreign language invites learners to activate their previously-formed schema and resort to their prefabricated patterns of vocabulary learning and use. In this process, they conjure their personalized styles and strategies up to come over the multivariate nature of lexical items and their internalization. As subconscious the approach is, learners surely do not know what makes them experience the moments of achievement or failure. Here the explicit knowledge of proper strategies, and the way toward their improvement appear to inevitably help learners gain psycholinguistic satisfaction; hence, asking for teachers' consciousness-raising behavior and injecting of new strategies into the classroom atmosphere. However, it doesn't mean to devaluate the useful pre-specified vocabulary teaching techniques referred to at the beginning of this chapter; optimistically, it means to improve the quality of teaching and learning by assigning part of the process to the learners and having them comfortably endeavor shouldering their share of learning responsibility.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Effect of Temporal Variations on Phoneme Identification Skills in Children and Adults - Comparative Study | Indianness in R. K. Narayan's Novel - The Man-Eater of Malgudi | English Vocabulary Learning Strategies Manipulated by the Students of Azad University, District 5: A Gender-oriented Study | The Impact and Relevance of Hedda Gabler in Modern Days | Search for Identity and Self in Indian Poetry in English by Women Writers | Teaching English in Minority Institutions | The Sociolinguistics and Cultural Considerations of English-Arabic Translation of Political News | Attitudinal Factor in Second Language Acquisition - An Illustrative Example from a Class in University | A Study on Emotional Skills and Adjustment towards First and Second Language Learning and Academic Achievement | Nonverbal Communication in Tamil Novels - A Book in Tamil | The Effect of Proficiency on Multilingualism, Error Finding, Social Class and Attitude in Multilingual Pre-University Mysore Students | A Review of Muzafar Desmond Tate's The Malaysian Indians: History, Problems and Future | HOME PAGE of May 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Davood Madani, Ph.D.
Azad University
Khomein Branch

Fatemeh Azizmohammadi, Ph.D.
Azad University
Arak Branch
Imameh Asr Alley, Jahad St.
Khomeini St.
Arak 38166-97356, Iran

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