VLS Model for Content Words: An Experimental Study on Engineering Students in India

Uma Maheswari Viswanathan, A. Shahin Sultana


The resurgence of interest in vocabulary learning in the past two decades and research in Vocabulary Learning Strategies (VLS) since Schmitt’s 1997 taxonomy have yielded a few other taxonomies and strategies to enrich the vocabulary of ESL learners. However, developing a VLS taxonomy or Model in ESP context has not been focused upon though the need for it has been studied and reported. Students from vernacular medium schools in ESL and EFL countries find it difficult to learn the content in colleges due to their limited knowledge of content vocabulary. Hence a new VLS Model for content words has been designed to render linguistic assistance to them. The efficacy of the Model has been tested in the context of Engineering Science. The proposed model is unique and specific for deriving strategies to learn content vocabulary in all branches of Science and Engineering. There is scope for diachronic, synchronic, and scientific study of words through Cognitive and Metacognitive strategies. Activities generated on this Model combine decontextualized Discovery strategy and contextualized Consolidation strategy. Eighty engineering college students in India took part in the study. The experimental group which received intervention based on the VLS Model outperformed the control group in the posttest. Hence this Model is advocated for enhancing the knowledge and use of ESP vocabulary and for helping learners understand their disciplinary field. It is believed that through appropriate VLS, the learners can be empowered to be autonomous in reading.



VLS Model; Content words; ESP; Engineering Science; L2 learners

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/gema-2019-1901-04


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