M.A. Thesis Methodology -- University of languages and international studies. Vietnam National University, Hanoi, 2011
One of the most challenging tasks facing any language teachers is to capture students’ interest and therefore keep them in high learning spirit. Meanwhile, vocabulary learning is a hard task which can sometimes be frustrating especially for teenagers. Constant effort is required to understand, produce and manipulate the target language. To realize this situation, teachers are supposed to find out teaching ways corresponsive to students’ needs and wants. The study, in that light, lays a focus on students’ improvement in learning English vocabulary through language games. The study is conducted in the form of an action research with methodologies used are pretests – post tests and survey questionnaire to collect data. Then, the data from tests were exploied to find out the improvement in students’ vocabulary. And the data from suvey questionnaire were used to find out students’ attitude towards language games and provide factors that should be considered by teachers when using games to teach vocabulary
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Rationale for the Study and Research Problem Statement
In learning a foreign language, vocabulary plays an important role. It is one element
that links the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing all together. In
order to communicate well in foreign language, students should acquire an adequate
number of words and should know how to use them accurately. Vocabulary is,
obviously, vital for successful communication.
As a teacher of English, I recognize that, although the issue of vocabulary teaching
and learning is currently receiving attention of teachers and learners at our school, it
is still far from how vocabulary items can best be taught and learnt. A vast amount
of teaching time in a vocabulary lesson is used by explanation, definition, students
compile page upon page of word lists that they rarely have opportunity to practice.
Obviously, vocabulary arises in the classroom regardless of the chosen activity, and
in spite of any conscious design on the teacher‟s part. As the result, students only
think of vocabulary learning as knowing the primary meaning of new words. In
addition, the students‟ ability to use English for communication is still limited,
especially for secondary students. They can have a fairly good knowledge of
grammar but hardly express themselves properly because of shortage of vocabulary
and communicative competence. That is why, for most students, learning
vocabulary in language lesson is a time of failure and disappointment in which they
gradually feel boring and gradual rejection of the work that the teacher is doing for
Motivated by the idea of finding stimulating activities to Giúp students to learn
vocabulary, with the goal to create a context for vocabulary acquisition in the
classroom, the writer has chosen that games may be of some Giúp for learning and
teaching English vocabulary.
All the above-mentioned reasons have inspired the writer to conduct an action
research titled “Improving learning English vocabulary through games”.
1.2 Research Aims and Research Questions
The study is aimed to reach the specific data on the improvement in participants‟
vocabulary, to find out students‟ attitude towards language games and provide some
criteria to choose relevant games for this purpose. So as to achieve these, the
research seeks answers to the following questions:
1. To what extent does the use of games in teaching vocabulary improve the
students‟ learning vocabulary?
2. What are the students‟ attitudes towards the language games?
3. What are the essential features of using language games that can Giúp improve the
students‟ vocabulary as perceived by the students?
1.3 Scope of the Study
The research will only focus on limited target population and a certain aspect of
vocabulary. In terms of vocabulary, the study focuses on student‟s knowledge of the
meanings, forms and usage of the words. In terms of target population, the subjects
are 10 non-English majors studying the book Pacesetter at level Elementary,
published by Oxford University Press (2000) at Sunrise school.
1.4 Methodology of the Study
To answer these above questions, action research was conducted with a number of
pre-tests and post-tests to solve the first main question. Each test was taken by the
participants for four or five days before the beginning of the unit and after finishing
the unit to see the differences. Furthermore, a questionnaire was also used to get the
participants‟ attitudes towards the language games and the answer of the last
question - the essential features of using language games that can Giúp improve the
students‟ vocabulary as perceived by the students.
1.5 Design of the Study
The thesis is divided into five main chapters:
Chapter 1 introduces the rationale, the aims, the scope, the methodology and the
design of the study.
Chapter 2 provides the background of the study, including the definitions and
features of some terms such as vocabulary, principles of teaching vocabulary and
types of language games.
Chapter 3 demonstrates the research methods applied in the study with details on
how and why these methods were implemented in the research. Besides, this
chapter presents the data collected from pretests and post tests as well as from the
Chapter 4 demonstrates the results and discussion of the study, which answer the
three research questions and then suggests the implication of the results in reality.
Chapter 5 summarizes the main issues covered in the paper. It presents the
limitations of the study and some suggestions for further studies in the research
References and Appendices are presented in the last pages of the study.
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