Action Research Template
The following template may be used for your action research:
Context of the Problem
English teachers are not applying the appropriate teaching strategies to teach technical vocabulary. Nowadays, English language is an important aspect of every job; for this reason, the knowledge of technical words help students develop skills to improve in their jobs. Students are able to understand different types of materials in English about certain areas or contexts. Technical vocabulary is an important part when learning a second language.
Teachers provide the necessary tools to help students learn specific terms. However, they follow just the method that they feel more comfortable with. Students are not taken into account, and so the teaching strategies used do not success, the learners do not develop an ample and useful compilation of technical words related to their careers. For this reasons, using appropriate teaching strategies for technical vocabulary is and essential part of teaching English language.
This action research is based on the following questions: Which strategies may help my students learn technical vocabulary easily? Which strategies are not helpful when teaching technical vocabulary? This research is based on accountancy students learning basic English with the introduction of fundamental technical vocabulary about their fields of study.
Technical vocabulary is a group of terms used in a certain area or context. English students who have knowledge of this terms related to their fields of study have language competence. This competence lets them understand advanced texts, also they can be able to communicate with people from other countries that are concerned with certain fields of study. However, these types of words are difficult to learn because English teachers do not apply the adequate teaching strategies in class.
In order to teach technical terminology, the teacher has to select different teaching strategies. Their use depends on the students and the subject being taught. For some classes, visual aids are necessary and for other ones it is necessary to implement the use of written text. Visual strategies are concerned with the use of images, flashcards, body language and other visual resources and Verbal strategies are related to definitions, examples and other written materials (Gairns & Redman, 1986). These types of strategies might be helpful in different ways, and their sucess depends on the teacher's development inside and outside the classroom.
Also, the application of useful teaching strategies should take into account a context. It establishes the situations in which a specific term is used, a teaching strategy should be based on a specific context in order to succeed. According to Kraváček (2008), a better understanding of a word is provided by its use in an appropriate context. For this reason, teachers have to identify the context in which students are developing their knowledge about their fields of study in order to apply adequate strategies in the class.
Selecting the appropriate teaching strategy is an important aspect regarding the acquisition of technical terms. Also, identifying the use that the learners give to the terminology helps to recognize the essential strategies to apply. Discovering if vocabulary will be used for comprehension or for production helps the teacher in this aspect. If a term will be used for comprehension the essential strategy is guessing meaning from context or from the word’s structure. In contrast, if it will be employed for production the most important aspects are storage and retrieval by using visual aids (Dudley- Evans & Jo, 1998).
The use of teaching strategies helps students develop their skills in order to improve their language knowledge and competence. According to Donna (2000), the use of different strategies maximizes the acquisition of the language by all the students. Learners are different, so in order to acquire and apply vocabulary they have to be exposed to different types of materials and classes. Moreover, it is essential to identify the way in which students learn in order to take advantage of it and to teach suitable classes.
Regarding the use of visual strategies, there exist a huge amount of options to use when teaching like flashcards, realia, and body language. Students visualize an image representing a term, they storage this image and they are able to recall the term by remembering this representation. However, technical vocabulary might be difficult to represent through images or body movements.I would add a bit more detail to these paragraph.
Verbal strategies let students identify meanings and contexts in which the terms are applied. They involve the use of written texts like definitions, glossaries and dictionaries and make students be concerned with more aspects related to their careers. Glossaries and dictionaries support students’ knowledge by being sources of correct information about a term. Talking about dictionaries, they help students identify the meaning of the words, so they can apply it in the corresponding context. By using dictionaries, students are able to learn other terms related to the one they are looking for a dictionary becomes a source of meaning and learning. (Austermuehle, Kautz & Sprenzel, 2007). The use of a glossary also implements a way to learn an apply specific words; the teacher collects information about an specific field. A specific group of words will be taught, students are going to have a resource with specific information about their careers. If students are using a glossary, it does not matter the stage of a class in which terms are being taught (Memory, 1990).
Teaching strategies are an essential part when teaching technical vocabulary. Students should be exposed to contexts related to their majors. Also, the use of different teaching strategies might benefit students’ acquisition of words. The use of visual or verbal teaching strategies helps this learning, and the appropriate use of the terms.
- Your context of the problem section is coming along well. Remember to develop each paragraph following the MEAL plan. Some of your paragraphs are more developed than others. --Bnleez 12:10, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Method and Materials
The participants of this research are seven accountancy students. Their ages goes from 21 to 23 years old. The course is a private and basic English class. Technical vocabulary is introduced because students want to understand specific terminology in their content area. They are studying accountancy in the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes.
The instruments used in this research are observation sheets, interviews and vocabulary quizzes. The observation sheets will be used by an observer. This instrument evaluates aspects of two main strategies: visual and verbal. The aspects are material, use of the vocabulary by students, further use of the terms, understanding of the terms, difficulties students and the teacher have when using the terms. The interviews will be made after the application of each strategy, and the interviews will be individual and groupal. This instrument will be applied to students in order to get information about the way in which students learned, the way they felt in the application of each strategy and the class that was more useful for them. The vocabulary quizzes are based on a specify strategy and on the terms that are taught.
During the first weeks of September, I look for a group of students from a specific area or field of study. Then, a research of theoretical aspects about the topic starts in order to support this action research with relevant information.
When the students are gathered, the classes start on September 12th, 2011 by teaching basic English. They state that the course they want is for basic knowledge of the language. I decide to support them by teaching technical words they use in their field of study. I collect information about accountancy by looking for glossaries and by asking the students about the most frequent terms they use in their field of study. The technical terms are introduced some classes later in order to indentify the level of English of the students. I planned four classes related to a verbal strategy, in this case providing definitions by using and designing glossaries. Each day an observation is made in order to identify students’ development and improvements. After 4 classes, a vocabulary quiz based on the technical terminology is applied in order to check students’ learning. Other 4 classes are planned based on a visual strategy, in this case, the use of images like flashcards. During these classes, other observations are made. At the end of the four classes, a quiz based on the visual strategy is applied to the students.
At the end of the application of the two sets of classes based on different strategies, a final questionnaire is answered by students in order to know what students faced in the different classes. By having all the information, the first step is to compare the observations made in the classes, and to check the quizzes, so scores are gotten. Then, the answers on the questionnaires are analyzed in order to get results. Finally, the information gotten in the three instruments is compared in order to get conclusions.
Results and Data Analysis
Present the findings of the investigation using graphs, tables, etc.
Discuss your results in terms of how they answer your research question(s) or hypothesis. Did your intervention work? What recommendations can you offer? How might others extend this research? Are there any limitations?
Austermuehle, D., Kautz, T. & Sprenzel, J. (2007). Improving the knowledge and application of vocabulary within content areas. Retrieved from Education Resources Information Center.
Donna, S. (2000). Teaching business English. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Dudley- Evans, T. & Jo, M. (1998) Development in english for specific purposes. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Gairns, R. & Redman, S. (1986). Working with words. A guide to teaching and learning vocabulary. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Kraváček, O. (2008). ESP vocabulary teaching at the vocational secondary school of furniture industry. Retrieved from Masaryk University.
Memory, D. (1990). Teaching technical vocabulary: before, during, or after the reading assignment. Journal of Literacy Research, 22(1), 39-53. doi: 10.1080/10862969009547693
Adhere to APA.
- Add italics. --Bnleez 12:16, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
- This is just a reminder to refer to this video before emailing me your final draft. If you have any questions about APA, come by my office.--Bnleez 21:57, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
- Add your schedule above. When do you plan to collect data, analyze, and writing your final action research paper. --Bnleez 12:07, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
- See comments above.--Bnleez 13:20, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
Note: For those taking Applied Linguistics for credit, please do the following:
- Copy and paste the template above as a subpage to your user page.
- Adhere to the following approximate word count per section...
- Context of the problem should be 800 words
- Method and Materials should be 500 words
- Results and Data Analysis should be 500 words
- Discussion should be 1,000 words that includes a 250-word conclusion.