Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Research Background
Vocabulary is widely recognized as one of the fundamental elements of language, which conveys meaning in communication. The Ministry of Education's 2020-revised General Senior High School Curriculum Standards have made explicit requirements for students' vocabulary knowledge. These requirements apply to both required and required elective courses and include understanding the roots and affixes of vocabulary, comprehending the connotation and extension of word meaning, and utilizing word formation to expand vocabulary. Therefore, learning vocabulary in senior high school is not a simple matter of memorizing forms and meanings of words, but also involves a deep understanding of words including word formation, collocation and meaning in context. That is to say, deep vocabulary knowledge is crucial in senior high school students’ learning. And the awareness of the need for students to improve their deep vocabulary knowledge should be emphasized in our English teaching.
Deep vocabulary knowledge is a central concern in the field of vocabulary research (Henriksen, 2004). English, as an open language, has assimilated a multitude of words from various sources, resulting in complex origins of words and an abundance of homonyms and synonyms. Chinese English learners, lacking a natural acquisition environment and cultural background knowledge, may face challenges in acquiring deep vocabulary knowledge due to the complexity of the English lexicon.
1.2 Research Objectives
The importance of deep vocabulary knowledge for students’ English language learning has been widely acknowledged. To facilitate vocabulary instruction, it is useful to differentiate vocabulary knowledge into its receptive and productive. Receptive vocabulary knowledge is particularly relevant for passive applications of English, such as reading and listening, which do not require active production of words. In contrast, productive vocabulary knowledge is critical for students who need to engage in real-life situations by speaking or writing. However, the challenge remains on how to effectively enhance students’ deep vocabulary knowledge.
This study investigated a more effective teaching method for enhancing senior high school students' deep vocabulary knowledge in both receptive and productive aspects. Specifically, the study conducted an experimental comparison of the effectiveness of C-BLIC with the traditional PPP (Presentation, Practice and Production) model for vocabulary teaching, to determine whether the former is more effective in promoting students' acquisition of deep vocabulary knowledge.
The research has two main objectives: firstly, to investigate whether English vocabulary teaching using C-BLIC can enhance senior middle school students' acquisition of receptive deep vocabulary knowledge; secondly, to examine whether English vocabulary teaching using C-BLIC can improve senior middle school students' acquisition of productive deep vocabulary knowledge. Ultimately, this study aims to contribute to new ideas for teaching senior high school English vocabulary.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Key Concepts
This section primarily centers on three key concepts that are relevant to this study. Firstly, the study's primary focus is on deep vocabulary knowledge, which is a multidimensional concept that has been defined differently by various scholars. Consequently, it is essential to define it operationally in this study. Secondly, it is crucial to distinguish between receptive vocabulary knowledge and productive vocabulary knowledge. Finally, the study employs Concept-based Language Instruction (C-BLI) as its teaching method. Thus, this section introduces and provide a comprehensive overview of the C-BLI.
2.1.1 Deep vocabulary knowledge
The definition of vocabulary knowledge is a contentious issue among scholars. Even the term itself has different expressions in English, such as vocabulary, lexicon and lexical items. As a result, some scholars choose to abandon the quest for a precise definition of vocabulary and instead focus on identifying its constituent elements and associated knowledge. This approach enables them to construct theoretical frameworks and develop tools for measuring lexical competence, thus advancing their understanding of vocabulary acquisition.
2.2 Research on Deep Vocabulary Knowledge
This section focuses on theoretical research of deep vocabulary knowledge, including application of deep vocabulary knowledge, current situation of deep vocabulary knowledge and measurement of deep vocabulary knowledge.
2.2.1 Research on the application of deep vocabulary knowledge
Research on the application of deep vocabulary knowledge in second language acquisition has been conducted at three levels: its contribution to vocabulary acquisition, its contribution on language proficiency, and its overall importance for language learners.
22.214.171.124 Vocabulary acquisition
Most of the research that has been conducted on deep vocabulary knowledge has primarily focused on its relevance in vocabulary acquisition. In a study conducted by Meara & Schmitt (1997), they found a connection between the development of deep vocabulary knowledge and learners' receptive vocabulary, among Japanese learners of English. Another study conducted by Lv (2004) found that there was a positive correlation between vocabulary size and deep vocabulary knowledge, but this correlation was weak, and learners with higher vocabulary size did not exhibit much stronger deep vocabulary knowledge than those with lower vocabulary size. Conversely, Li (2007) suggested that there was a negative correlation between vocabulary breadth and depth knowledge among high-level learners with extensive vocabulary knowledge. This is because the acquisition of vocabulary breadth knowledge is easier, and learners often dedicate too much energy to acquire it at the expense of the deeper vocabulary knowledge. The results of these studies are somewhat divergent. Nevertheless, there is a general consensus that there exists a positive correlation between deep vocabulary knowledge and vocabulary size among low-level learners of English, and that this correlation is primarily manifested in receptive vocabulary size.
Chapter Three Theoretical Basis ............................ 31
3.1 Construal .................................. 31
3.2 Sociocultural Theory .................... 35
Chapter Four Methodology ................................ 43
4.1 Research Questions ......................................... 43
4.2 Research Participants ........................... 44
Chapter Five Results and Discussion ........................... 57
5.1 Results ...................................... 57
5.1.1 Results of the tests ...................................... 57
5.1.2 Results of the questionnaires ............................... 63
Chapter Five Results and Discussion
The two research questions are designed to investigate the effects of Concept-based Language Instruction from the perspective of Construal on senior high school students' acquisition of English receptive and productive deep vocabulary knowledge. To answer these questions, both qualitative and quantitative data are collected and analyzed. Qualitative data is obtained from questionnaires and analyzed using statistical software SPSS 27.0 to ensure accuracy. Quantitative data is collected from two questionnaires and analyzed to determine the effect of C-BLIC in promoting the acquisition of students' deep vocabulary knowledge.
5.1.1 Results of the tests
This research employed three tests, namely the pre-test, immediate post-test, and delayed post-test, to answer two research questions about the effectiveness of C-BLIC compared to traditional teaching methods in teaching deep vocabulary knowledge. These tests collected data on two types of deep vocabulary knowledge, namely receptive and productive.
The pre-test was conducted to determine whether students in the experimental group (EG) and control group (CG) had the same level of receptive and productive deep vocabulary knowledge before the experiment. The data from the pre-test were also used to compare with the data from the immediate post-test. This research used the independent samples t-test and the paired samples t-test to analyze the collected data. The results are presented below.
Chapter Six Conclusion
6.1 Summary of Main Findings
After reviewing previous research on deep vocabulary knowledge, issues with current vocabulary teaching have been identified. Deep vocabulary knowledge is beneficial for students, as it can improve their vocabulary size and overall English proficiency. However, the development of Chinese senior high school students' deep vocabulary knowledge lags behind the development of their vocabulary size, leading to problems such as low-quality vocabulary knowledge and difficulty producing sentences with complex words. Additionally, existing vocabulary teaching theories and methods do not prioritize the development of deep vocabulary knowledge, which cannot meet the needs of tests and curriculum standards.
To address the previously mentioned issues, this study conducted a comprehensive review of relevant literature and empirical studies and found that Concept-based Language Instruction (C-BLI), a recent teaching method, can be adapted to various foreign language teaching contexts. C-BLI focuses on language concepts themselves as the fundamental unit of language teaching, teaching language in an explicit manner, and can thus be employed in deep vocabulary knowledge teaching. Specifically, during the Materialization stage, the concept of a word can be introduced using the Schema of a Complete Orienting Basis of an Action (SCOBA), which facilitates comprehension of a word's multiple meanings and collocations. However, C-BLI has theoretical limitations, particularly in the unclear definition of language concepts. In addition, the practical application of SCOBA in the Materialization stage may be challenging in the absence of scientific theoretical guidance.