Background of the Study
In language learning, vocabulary plays an important role. As pointed out by David Wilkins ‘without very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.’
Many researchers have been done in vocabulary learning that aims to find the difference between good language learners and bad language learners. There are ways that good learners achieve better than bad learner.
Thornburry (2002) believed that good learners know how to learn, achieve a measure of autonomy and develop their own technique or strategies.
The more times the students are exposed to a word, the stronger their understanding become. One principle of effective vocabulary learning is to provide multiple exposures to a word’s meaning. There is a good and great improvement in vocabulary when students encounter vocabulary words often. Vocabulary learning is dominant in language acquisition, whether the language is a second or a foreign language and crucial to the learners. Learners must know that having a lot of knowledge is very important in learners reading, speaking and writing well.
Vocabulary knowledge can improve writing skills and build knowledge of the other words meanings through known root words, prefixes and suffixes. Having vocabulary knowledge can increase reading comprehension and fluency while reading. Through this, it became easier to communicate with foreign colleagues or counterpoints in the native language. Language is important and useful when it comes to business. Through language learning, the researchers are able to negotiate more successfully with other business men or women.
To develop vocabulary word intentionally, students should be explicitly taught both specific words and word-learning strategies. Word-learning strategies include dictionary use, morphemic analysis, and contextual analysis. Since students encounter so many unfamiliar words in their reading, the above-mentioned vocabulary instruction in word-learning strategies can be useful.
According to Sylvia Laws, “Being able to communicate with a native speaker means business is done faster and more efficiently across big and complex market”.
Language skills can increase sales opportunities and it also build relationship, trust and increase customer loyalty more effectively. Speaking more than just one language can boost up anyone’s career.
Strategy of the vocabulary learning is a great problem especially for the Senior High School Students of Saint Paul School of Professional Studies (SPSPS). Vocabulary learning strategies is one of the crucial factors affecting the success of vocabulary. However, vocabulary learning strategies will help the students in finding out the meaning of new words and consolidating them once it has been understood.
The study will be conducted to identify factors that determine the strategy to be used in vocabulary learning among students. The researchers are very keen in conducting this study for the purpose of broadening the current knowledge of the factors that are playing important roles in affecting students’ vocabulary learning strategies and further understand the most successful strategies used by good language learners.
Significance of the Study
The researcher intends to conduct the study in benefit of the following of the stakeholders;
• Students. Each student comes to school with unique background experiences, culture, languages, personality, interests and attitude towards learning. Every student does not need to be taught individually; differentiating instruction is a matter of presenting the same task in different ways and at different level, so that all students can approach it in their own ways (Trujo, 2007).
Knowing and understanding the factors influencing the use of vocabulary learning strategies or the different vocabulary items that are helpful and useful that will precisely motivate the students to use that different items more and more frequently. Vocabulary learning strategies is important in developing not only students’ Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) but more importantly their academic language proficiency. Proficiency with academic English is a key contributor to student’s success in learning their second language.
• Teachers. Teachers play a very important role in the learning process that is why students’ achievement in the school is maybe a reflection of teachers or instructors (Lardizabal, 1991). It is his/ her greatest legacy in building the future of his/ her students. The role of teachers is not only to facilitate incidental learning but also to identify students need and provide opportunities for intentional learning. Teachers should learn from the mistakes of their students and for instance, rely on intentional learning when explaining to their students something important.(Schmitt and Meara,1977).Because of this study teachers will now know that female students tended to use affective and social strategies more frequently than males. On the other hand, male students preferred autonomy and note taking strategies. Students use different learning vocabulary items , therefore identifying and teaching those strategies can truly help teachers not only to curriculum developers and students to develop better educational materials, which not only teach the importance of vocabulary learning strategy but motivate the students to use them frequently. Having enough knowledge of the certain factors influencing the vocabulary strategies and the different vocabulary items, will benefit the teachers to have the appropriate material for the student.
• Curriculum Developer. Techniques or strategies in vocabulary learning help the curriculum developer assess the teachers in teaching students well. This study designed to help the curriculum developer on how to give a better understanding on how to provide opportunities for the students to apply vocabulary knowledge and skills in learning a language through vocabulary strategies. This study is designed for the improvement and achievement of teachers, curriculum developer, faculty member and students.
Review of Related Literature
Many studies have been published on the importance of strategies in language learning, however, there are still some critical issues in finding out the factors that influence their use. Do good learners apply different strategies from bad learners? what are the strategies that applied by good language learners and the elements that are influential on the use of those strategies?
Since there is a high interest in finding out what strategies applied by students when they are learning vocabulary, several research has been done in this area.
Decarrico (2001) provided guessing meaning from context, mnemonic devices and vocabulary notebooks.
While Thornburry (2002) added the use by pointing out several strategies that are used by good vocabulary learners which include using mnemonics (using keyword technique or visual element), word cards/flashcards, guessing from context, coping strategies for production, using dictionaries, spelling rules, keeping records and motivation.
Yet (Lawson and Hogben, 1996) conducted a research which came out with more interesting result. There are several factors which influence vocabulary learning strategies use. These factors play important role as they are related with the use of strategies. The factors are including:
1. Proficiency level of the learners
The use of strategies in learning vocabulary is different between proficiency and less proficient learners.
Nyikos and Fan (2007) believed that proficient students have required knowledge to use more varied strategies effectively than bad learners or less proficient students. It is obvious that the required knowledge helps proficient learners to achieve better than less proficient learners. For example, in line with the strategies listed in the introduction of these studies, proficient learners can save more time and energy in using dictionaries than less proficient learners.
2. Individual variation and gender differences
Gender is believed to have important part in learning language including vocabulary learning strategies. Who can use strategies better: men or women?
Catalan (2003) provided an interesting result which showed that “female participants exhibited a greater range of vocabulary learning strategies use, including formal rule-related strategies, planning and rehearsal strategies than males.
3. Strategy development and proficiency
Nyikos and Fan (2007) believed that good language learners decide to choose more appropriate and task-compatible strategies as they reach higher level of proficiency. Since good language learners are metacognitive aware, they develop their previous strategies and look for better ones. I think that this situation rarely happens in bad language learners who do not improve or develop their strategies even though they are posed with different tasks.
4. Learning Environment
Students who learn in English as a foreign language classroom tend to be
less exposed with the need in practicing new words and applying strategies even though they are posed with different tasks.
5. Years of language study
The researchers consider that the length of time spent in learning language will be positively related with the knowledge of strategies and how to use them.
(Oxford and Nyikos, 1989) argued that motivation is the most important factor that are influencing and affecting language learning use. Learners who are more motivated use strategies than the less motivated learners.
Given the strategies that are applied by good language learners and factors which influence and affect the use of vocabulary learning strategies, teachers can consider to examine the useful strategies that can be taught to the students. They both are the most valuable data in designing a way to make students aware of strategies. The only way of doing this is by introducing them to the strategy instruction. In the introduction of this study, instruction will enhance the knowledge of good language learners. Learning strategy instruction seems to be the final solution of how teachers can make bad language learners apply the strategies just like the good ones.
Statement of the Problem
Even though students are studying in the same environment and receiving the same learning material from the teacher, each of them might show different strategies in learning vocabulary. Where in, vocabulary is the basic factor necessary for mastering language. The goal is to help exploring factors affecting these young learners strategy use and the role of vocabulary learning in their own life. Their choices are fully affected by the factors which influence the use of vocabulary learning strategies. Knowing and understanding why certain factors become the reason of vocabulary learning strategies choice, will benefit teachers so that they can have the appropriate material for the students. To deal with this problem, we have to explore the knowledge of vocabulary.
Specifically, the study will intend to answer the following questions:
1. What are the strategies that grade 11 students used in learning vocabulary?
2. What are the factors that influencing the use of vocabulary learning strategies of the grade 11 Senior High School students of Saint Paul School of Professional Studies?
3. Why is it we need to be aware in vocabulary learning strategies, in order to learn the second language?