Learning vocabulary through Internet reading: Approaches and attitudes of ESL MBA students
Sami A. N. Alshwairkh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States
Indiana University of Pennsylvania . Awarded
Vocabulary is an integral part of language. Without adequate vocabulary knowledge, a second language learner's conversational fluency and reading comprehension suffer. Today, many ESL students have access to the Internet, where they can read extensively in L2 and improve their reading skill as well as vocabulary knowledge. This dissertation project is a qualitative study that describes the approaches and attitudes of ESL business students towards learning vocabulary through Internet reading. It also examines the participants' vocabulary knowledge throughout an 8-week period.
Eighteen advanced ESL MBA students participated in the present study. They were divided into two groups of 9 students each, referred to as readers and non-readers. Both groups were asked to complete a questionnaire and take a pretest and posttest, in order to assess their receptive vocabulary size. Readers were asked to read extensively on the Internet, keep regular vocabulary logs, write journal entries, participate in interviews, and take a final vocabulary written test that assessed the deep knowledge of the vocabulary items they attempted to learn during the 8-week period.
The results showed that readers scored higher in the posttest, compared to their mean score in the pretest, while readers maintained the same mean score both in the pretest and posttest. In the vocabulary interviews, the readers' scores at the word familiarity and word meaning levels were higher than their scores at the word form and word usage levels. Similarly, in the final vocabulary written test, readers obtained relatively high scores at the word meaning level, while their scores at the word usage level were relatively low.
Based on the interviews, the journal entries, and the vocabulary logs, readers read extensively on the Internet about a wide range of topics such as business, entertainment, health, politics, and shopping, in addition to reading academic articles. They also employed some common vocabulary learning strategies including guessing the word's meaning from context, using a dictionary, and keeping a vocabulary notebook. These participants showed positive attitudes towards extensive reading and vocabulary learning on the Internet.
Alshwairkh, S.A.N. Learning vocabulary through Internet reading: Approaches and attitudes of ESL MBA students. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
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