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English vocabulary input in the tertiary classroom in China

By Eunice Tang


This study investigates the intensity of English vocabulary input available to non-English major university students in the Chinese classroom. It sets out to explore the lexical environment in China by addressing five core questions:\ud \ud 1. What are word lists in China like?\ud \ud 2. What is the relationship between the syllabus wordlist and the vocabulary presented in the textbooks?\ud \ud 3. What is the relationship between the words prescribed in the syllabus and the vocabulary presented in the classroom?\ud \ud 4. What is vocabulary instruction in China like?\ud \ud 5. Do the classrooms for English major university students provide a suitably rich lexical environment?\ud \ud In order to identify the number and types of words available for teaching and learning, my analysis involved an in-depth examination of the syllabus word lists and textbook word lists, cross-referenced to other ESL word lists. It was found that the vocabulary requirements in the syllabus and textbooks posed enormous demands on teachers in terms of the quantity of words to be covered. University students when they graduate should know 95% of the GSL and 83% of the AWL, but this only covers about half the total amount of English vocabulary input from the syllabus and the textbooks. They are exposed to many of the "other" words in print. In the classroom, teachers were found to teach a new word explicitly every 2.6 minutes, using vocabulary treatment methods in accordance with the culture of teaching and learning in Chinese contexts. It was found, however, that the teachers' oral input failed to provide a lexically rich environment for incidental vocabulary acquisition and that the words available from teacher talk were limited in both variation and frequency range

Topics: PE, LB2300
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