An Empirical Study on Dictionary Use Strategy Training to First-year English Majors
|School||Taiyuan University of Technology|
|Course||Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics|
|Keywords||dictionary English learning dictionary use strategy training|
As a basic tool for English learners and teachers in the process of English teaching and learning, dictionary plays a very important role in English learning. In recent years, strategies training related have been on the rise, however, the research concerning dictionary use strategy training are still in the preliminary stage with small number and narrow scope of the relative research. There is a limited area concerning dictionary use strategy training for English learners, especially for those English majors. What’s the overall situation about dictionary use for English majors, especially awareness of dictionary use strategies? Does dictionary use strategy training have good effects on them? This paper aims at answering these questions through an empirical study with a view to attracting scholars’attention to this field.A questionnaire is administered to217students from five universities in the study. The questionnaire focused on the following levels:the dictionary use in general, the dictionary use training, the use of electronic dictionaries. By using SPSS17.0to process the data, the conclusions are reached as follows:most students often make use of dictionaries in their English learning, but the effects are not satisfactory. Furthermore, they do not know what role the looking up of dictionary plays in the process of language and vocabulary acquisition.Based on the results of the pre-training questionnaire, the author conducted specific dictionary use strategy training with the students and taught them dictionary use knowledge in the experimental class, also gave extra exercises to them every week. The subjects are43English major students from two randomly selected classes in Taiyuan University of Technology and they are taught by one teacher. And the author has done some pre-tests to ensure that the students in the two classes are in the similar level in terms of their dictionary use strategy, vocabulary knowledge test and entrance examination score.After the training for a whole semester, the author analyzed all the testing results with independent samples t-test by SPSS17.0. The same dictionary use strategy questionnaire is distributed to students at the time of pretest and posttest respectively to examine the subjects’ strategy changes. The results showed that great changes took place on eight variables after the training. Moreover, the students’ability and speed of looking up the dictionary in the experimental class have greatly improved compared with the control class. After the training, the dictionary use strategy training test scores of the experimental class are also significantly higher than that of the control class. In addition, the author required the students to take diaries during the training and made interview about the feelings and suggestions for the dictionary use strategy training during and after the training.The results showed that dictionary use strategy training does have an impact on the students’English learning. Before training, the differences between the experimental class and the control class are not statistically significant on the Dictionary Use Questionnaire, the Vocabulary Knowledge Test and the Entrance Examination Score, but after one term of training, as it is shown the difference between two classes is of statistical significance, great changes took place on eight variables in the experimental class; and the experimental class exceeded the control class in the dictionary use strategy training test, and we can safely say that the training of dictionary use strategy had effective influence on students’ English learning. Moreover, most of the students showed great enthusiasm and support to the training and thought that the dictionary use strategy training helped them a lot with their English learning. Last, the author presented the discussion about the major findings and limitations of the study, put forward the pedagogical implications and gave recommendations for further studies.Dictionary use strategy training will offer them better understanding about their dictionary, thus help them to learn English better and effectively promote their future independent language learning. The research can also make teachers realize that they should introduce the basic knowledge of English dictionary to students, develop students’dictionary use awareness and guide them to select and use dictionary.