University of Oxford

The Use of Posters and Vocabulary Improvement in Rural Areas

Importance of the Study

over the past years, L2 teachers have gone beyond their ways to change the current dilemma, but most of their efforts have been abortive. This trauma can be scrutinized from different angles. On the one hand, most students are in dire straights and on the other hand, the teachers themselves are at fault. Although students consider their teacher a perfect model; nonetheless, every now and then the teacher can be the source of problem. However, this tries to give them all the benefit of the doubt. If the use of pictures and posters as peripheral teaching aids is fruitful, this technique can be utilized in English classes as a worthwhile activity and will have an efficacious effect on students’ scope of vocabulary.

Although students’ text book is based on the Audio_Lingual Method, there is a yawning gap between the text book and books written on the basis of A. L. M, that is why it has been faced with a barrage of questions so far. Since the selection of words in this book is not very logical, we are dealing with a difficult situation and we have to select the vocabulary in accordance with that of the book.

If the hypothesis of the thesis is proved, it might lead to different pedagogical ramifications some of which can be very salient in junior high school levels.

In school leaving examinations, about 10 marks out of 20 are devoted to vocabulary and this implies the fact that vocabulary is a very important facet that is why this study highlights the concept of vocabulary.

The last point which should be brought into focus is that there are some charts prepared by the Ministry of Education but they are not completely useful because none of them is enticing enough to draw students’ attention. Another demerit of these charts is that they put emphasis on different sub skills like vocabulary, grammar and so forth. Because of the afore – mentioned factors these charts have been set aside by L2 teachers.

Research question

The research question asked in this study is the following:

Is there any relationship between the use of pictures and posters as peripheral teaching aids and improvement of vocabulary at junior high school levels in rural settings?

The null hypothesis:

There is no relationship between the use of pictures and improvement of vocabulary in junior high school levels.

Review of literature

Why vocabulary

Developing a rich listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabulary is important in all curriculum areas. In the reading curriculum, in particular, a quality vocabulary needs to be achieved by each pupil. One reason that pupils face problems in learning English is that they do not possess a plausible scope of vocabulary. Enriching and developing pupil vocabularies should be a major goal in each academic discipline.

The following are reasons proposed by Marlow Ediger (1999) for teachers guiding learners to possess a rich vocabulary: (1) subject matter and ideas are expressed with more clarity and accuracy (2) proficiency in the work place might well depend upon individuals having a quality vocabulary (3) individuals seemingly have more prestige if their listening, speaking, reading, and writing vocabularies are adequately developed (4) greater enjoyment of reading is in the offing if a person has a rich functional vocabulary (5) vocabulary development is salient in problem solving (6) conversations carried on with other persons require a rich vocabulary. There needs intended meanings (7) variety in selecting words to convey accurate meanings is necessary in speaking and writing the outgoes of the language arts, and (8) use of diverse terms and concepts in speaking and writing adds variety to quality communication vocabulary development becomes a tool to take in, such as listening and reading, as well as provide communication to others within the framework of speaking and writing.

vocabulary and better understanding

Word meaning is one of the most important components of comprehension. In fact, learning, as a language-based activity, is fundamentally and profoundly dependent on vocabulary knowledge” (Barker, Simmons, and Kameenui, 1995). This connection between knowing words and understanding content becomes especially important in the junior high school as the texts students read become more abstract and conceptually dense. Graves (2000) describes four components of an effective vocabulary program” wide reading, teaching individual words, teaching strategies for learning words independently, and fostering word consciousness”.

The need for peripheral learning

According to Graves (2000), teachers can not possibly directly teach all the words that students need to learn, so students need a repertoire of strategies they can use to learn words on their own. In terms of direct independent word learning, three resources can be particularly helpful using context, word parts, and a dictionary. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the concept of peripheral learning should be brought into the picture by the teachers, and it implies a kind of incidental learning or indirect learning Nage (1998) mentions that most of the word learning that children do in their lives is incidental.

Criteria for vocabulary selection

Vocabulary is an essential element in learning a foreign or second language, but vocabulary can not be taught or learnt in complete isolation from the rest of linguistic components, namely grammar, phonetics and phonology

Techniques in presenting vocabulary:

Although in this research the main focus is on indirect vocabulary learning; nevertheless, during classroom sessions different techniques are used to teach vocabulary.

Using a wide range of techniques brings variety to the classroom and helps the students remain alert. Used correctly, the following techniques favor the long-term retention of newly-learned vocabulary. Following Gairns and Redman’s (1986:73-76) classification, presentation techniques are divided into two groups: visual and verbal.

Visual techniques

Realia: Using a variety of real objects is one of the most efficient ways of teaching and learning vocabulary.

Pictures: The main advantage of pictures is that they are able to illustrate very large objects which are not easily brought into the classroom.

Mime and gesture: This is an extremely effective way of introducing a new word since it resembles the total physical response, which clearly promotes the understanding and meaningful retention of new vocabulary items.

Verbal techniques

Definitions and illustrative sentences: The introduction of a word in English through the use of other words in the same language offers the advantage of contextualization. In addition, example sentences complement the definition because they show how the new word is used.

Synonyms and antonyms: Synonyms and antonyms are especially important in building new vocabulary because learners are able to use known vocabulary.

Scales: This technique is the presentation of related words in scales that include the combination of both verbal and visual techniques.

Explanations: This technique explains the meaning and the use of a given foreign word in the foreign language itself.

Translations: Although many linguists state that translation is not a good presentation technique, it is only considered dangerous for students if it becomes the only presentation technique. However, the major drawback may be when L2 words are introduced in lists.

Methodology

The most significant aspect of this study is germane to the concept of vocabulary. Specifically, the study considered the effect of pictures as peripheral teaching aids on vocabulary learning. In order to achieve this goal 150 students were chosen randomly from Gavart junior high school. This school was chosen because many students from miscellaneous bucolic districts study there. I was faced with a medley of different students. Some of them were in the lap of luxury whereas the rest were in dire straights, a few of students were reticent and taciturn but some were boisterous and jaunty, but all of them were in grade three and they had passed grade two successfully.

In order to choose a homogeneous sample a proficiency test was administered (Nelson Test), and after administration of proficiency test , standard deviation was used in order to choose 30 homogeneous students as experimental group and 30 students as control group Table 3.1 shows the afore – mentioned processes in brief:

Table 1Different stages for collecting and analyzing data

Time span Four months

Making homogeneity Administering a proficiency test

Instruction Ameliorating vocabulary by dint of pictures

Test Proficiency test – Diagnostic test

Data analysis T. test

The sample for this study was chosen from Gavart junior high school. 150 students were selected randomly. In order to avoid any extraneous factor, students were not informed about the purpose of the study completely. After administering the proficiency test 60 students were chosen and I assigned number to each student. Those who were given the odd numbers were the members of experimental group and even numbers were the control group.

Demographic data of students

Gavart junior high school is in the East of Isfahan province (See Appendix 3). Students come from ten different villages. Some of the outstanding facets which were taken into account were, age, linguistic background and the level of proficiency, and all of them had passed grade two successfully.

Classroom environment

Time

students attended the classes three sessions per week. All the sessions were held in the morning. The experimental group attended the class from 8 to 10 o’clock on odd days and the control group attended on even days.

Setting

in terms of physical conditions each class contained two window, a

door and a large chalk board – students were seated in two rows, and I did my best in order to control any distracting factor like noise or other extraneous factors. Some pictures accompanied by the spelling of words were used for experimental group and some pictures used as a placebo for control group –

Decreasing the effect of extraneous factors

It is axiomatic that in every research there are a copious number of factors (such as noise, light, time, facilities and so forth) which can affect the process eye – catchingly. There were some factors which enabled the researcher to diminish the effect of the afore – mentioned extraneous factors. Gavart junior high school has been constructed in a cozy place and there are no other buildings in the vicinity, and all the classes are held in the morning and the teacher is faced with a group of live wire and energetic students. In terms of equipment and facilities, the school is well – stocked and well – equipped and these merits will lead to a kind of atmosphere which is not humdrum and drab.

In brief there is no denying that every research may encounter some unexpected factors but I put my best foot forward in order to control them as much as possible.

Classroom Instructions

Although text books have been designed on the basis of Audio – lingualism; nonetheless, it is a waste of time to follow the principles of that method blindly and the disappointing results produced by miscellaneous researches, show that Audio lingual is not a panacea anymore.

Each Lesson contains a set of words most of which are concrete. Many years of experience show that some of these words are problematic for students, either their spelling or application.

Different techniques are used for teaching vocabulary such as pictures, realia, gestures and in very are cases translation. Since the focus of this research is on peripheral vocabulary learning some of these problematic words together with their pictures are stuck on the walls in front of students without being paid attention to directly

In control group, some of pictures without any accompanying word were used as placebo and after four months a test was given to both groups in order to see whether there is a meaningful difference between the experimental group and the control group. Chapter four shows that the difference between the experimental group and the control group is meaningful and during these four months, the concept of peripheral learning caused a better performance in experimental group.

Dialogs were acted out twice by the teacher and grammar was taught deductively and Translation was utilized as the last resort. Every week a new picture was stuck on the wall but the teacher did not pay heed to them directly.

Data Analysis

As it was mentioned earlier, a set of pictures were shown to the students of experimental group for four months. At the end of the course a post test was given to both groups and the mean of the groups was computed by the following formula:

there was a difference between the mean of experimental group and control group, I had recourse of the t-test formula in order to prove that this difference was meaningful.

There are two hypotheses in the form of H0 and H1:

H0: there is no significant difference between the mean of control group and experimental group.

H1: There is a significant difference between the mean of control group and experimental grou

After computing the value of t-test

We can compute the value of observed t, then it must be compared with the value of t-critical if t-observed > t-critical, H0 is rejected, otherwise H0 is tenable.

For computing the value of t-test, First we should compute the value of standard deviation which shows the amount of dispersion from the central point and can be computed

For computing the value of t-test, the following procedures should be followed.

As it was mentioned earlier, so the value of t observed

Is 3.4

and critical t is 1.697 Therefore, t observed>t critical and p < .05

Now we can come to the conclusion that H0 is rejected and H1 is tenable, in other words, the difference between the mean of experimental group and control group is meaningful and this difference can be attributed to the treatment given to the experimental group.

Pedagogical Implications

Although the Ministry of Education has submitted an apparently satisfactory report on the student’s success in language learning, it fails to come up to expectations. Almost all our teachers at junior high school come to the tacit agreement that the process of teaching English Language is abysmal and egregious and the bane refers to the following factors.

1.Most of our teachers are not familiar with modern techniques of teaching language.

2.Most of our schools, especially schools in rural areas are not well – equipped.

3.Most of our students lack motivation.

4.Most of rural schools are old, and inappropriate for studying.

We should keep our fingers crossed and try to tackle the afore – mentioned problems – one of the most important factors which must be brought into focus is the use of fascinating techniques for teaching language, some of unsuccessful techniques which are used nowadays are very dull.

Every now and then, teachers are forced with difficulties so much so that there is no way out, for instance some of classes are so crowded in which no innovation is possible, as a result gaining favorable and satisfactory results is dependent upon the fulfillment of basic conditions, otherwise we will come up against dreadful repercussions.

References

1-Barker, Simmons, and Kameenui, 1995.Journal of psychology and behavior

2. Ediger, M (1999) Reading and vocabulary Development, Journal of Instructional psychology Cambridge University press.

3-Gairns, R and Redman’s (1986) working with words. Cambridge university press

4-Graves, (2000) Components of an effective Vocabulary Teaching-

5- Nage, WE, Herman, P, and Anderson, R.C (1998) Learning words from context. Reading research quarterly, 20.233-253. Oxford university press

6- Park, Sunghi M.and Gabrieli, John D.E. (1995). Perceptual and non perceptual components of implicit memory for pictures. Journal

of experimental psychology 1583-1594

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