A classroom research study on strategies to promote vocabulary retention in the LOTE classroom
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Stony Brook University The Graduate School Doctoral Defense Announcement Abstract A classroom research study on strategies to promote vocabulary retention in the LOTE classroom By (Rosalia Scafidi-Iannone) Vocabulary is an essential component of second language acquisition. Second language learners are faced with the challenging task of remembering many new words. Exactly how learners can best accomplish that task is disputed. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impact of certain types of activities on long-term retention of vocabulary. In this dissertation the literature in the field of vocabulary retention is reviewed. Unlike to the vast majority of research studies that are conducted in universities and performed on university students, this dissertation is a classroom action research study carried out in a suburban high school and performed on 9th grade students learning Italian as a foreign language. The students had successfully completed the level I requirement of Italian and were enrolled in level II Italian. In this study specific vocabulary activities that are hypothesized to promote vocabulary retention were given to the experimental group (45 students) while the control group (23 students) was given more standardized activities. The experiment was conducted for four chapters in a time frame of approximately four months. A vocabulary quiz was given to assess knowledge of topical vocabulary for each chapter. At the end of each chapter a test was given that assessed both the receptive and productive aspects of the material presented. At the end of the fourth chapter a comprehensive exam was given to assess the retention of the vocabulary learned within the previous four months. To examine the retention of the vocabulary presented, three months after the comprehensive exam, the same vocabulary quizzes given during the four chapters were given to both groups. From the results of the study undertaken it can be said that there are types of activities that may indeed improve and or aid with the long term retention of vocabulary.