Case Studies of Three English Teachers of Vocabulary Teaching Strategies in a Junior High School
|Keywords||junior English teacher aspects of vocabulary teaching vocabulary teaching strategies case study|
The Senior High School English Curriculum Standards (2003) stipulates the vocabulary objectives in Language Knowledge:Grade-5 (the equal of graduating from junior middle school) should learn to use 1500-1600 English words and 200-300 idioms or regular collocations. Thus, vocabulary teaching and learning are important for both teachers and learners. Ever since, many studies have engaged in research into foreign language vocabulary teaching. These studies have centered on vocabulary testing and evaluation, vocabulary learning strategies, vocabulary teaching, vocabulary acquisition mode, factors affecting vocabulary acquisition, and etc. However, the objects that the researchers focus most on are learning, few studies emphasize on teachers’vocabulary teaching strategies in their practical class.This study aimed to investigate three junior English teachers’ vocabulary teaching strategies by answering the following research questions:1) What aspects of vocabulary ("form", "meaning" and "use") did those three junior English teachers emphasize in their English classes? 2) What vocabulary teaching strategies ("presenting vocabulary", "strategies training", "fluency development", "test/evaluation" and "the teacher’s demonstration on blackboard") did they use in their practical classes? This qualitative research employed three in-depth case studies. The three junior English teachers were purposefully selected. The data were collected from May to June 2009, including nine videos of classroom observation, nine transcripts of videos and nine corresponding field notes.The results showed that the three junior English teachers emphasized far more on "form" and "meaning" than "use" in their vocabulary teaching aspects. They seemed to have a tendency of neglecting the "use" appropriateness. Among vocabulary teaching strategies, they tended to use the direct teaching more often, namely, the teachers asked and students answered or translated into Chinese or English. In short, the three teachers had limited vocabulary teaching strategies in terms of "strategies training" and "fluency development", and they often used the test exercises or dictation to test and evaluate students. They all used some signals to highlight vocabulary. The results of study have been confirmed by other relevant studies. It seemed that they all used mechanic teaching strategy, but they seldom focused on the meaning-focused input and taught words in isolated context.This study has both practical and theoretical significance. As for its practical significance, it helps the junior English teachers pay further attention to their own vocabulary teaching strategies and enhance the awareness of vocabulary teaching aspect. For teacher educators and mentors, it helps them know more and understand better about current situation of the junior English teachers’ vocabulary teaching. The study also provides course designers with data on planning courses for junior English teachers in their advanced studies. For theoretical significance, it contributes to our understandings of the current situation of the junior English teachers’ vocabulary teaching. In addition, the conceptualized framework with two tables in this study is proposed for further studies to analyze junior English teachers’vocabulary teaching in class. In all, the results of the analysis of the teachers’vocabulary teaching in class might enrich the current literature.