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A Comparison of Three Learning Strategies for ESL Vocabulary Acquisition

Thomas S. Brown and Fred L. Perry, Jr.
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 25, No. 4 (Winter, 1991), pp. 655-670
DOI: 10.2307/3587081
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3587081
Page Count: 16
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A Comparison of Three Learning Strategies for ESL Vocabulary Acquisition
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare three learning strategies-differentiated according to Craik & Lockhart's (1972) "depths of processing" theory-for ESL vocabulary. Six intact ESL classes at two levels of proficiency were divided into three treatment groups (keyword, semantic, and keyword-semantic). These Arabic-speaking students then received 4 days of instruction. Both recognition and cued-recall instruments were used to measure effects both 1 day and 9 days after treatment. Cued-recall results immediately after treatment revealed that the keyword method facilitated vocabulary acquisition for lower-proficiency students. The delayed results for both the recognition and cued-recall tests suggested that the combined keyword-semantic strategy increased retention above the other strategies. Possible applications of these findings are discussed.

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