The effect of contextual vocabulary learning on writing performance
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We can never overstate the power of words. Perhaps the greatest tools we can give students, not only in their education but more generally in life, is a large, rich vocabulary. This research reports on the importance of vocabulary to writing achievement. Providing authentic texts (context) for vocabulary instruction is one of the significant ways in which teachers can improve students’ writing performance. Words are the writer’s most important tools. The ability to write effectively hinges upon having an adequate vocabulary. This research work aims at evaluating the importance of teaching learning vocabulary in context - as a comprehensible input - and how this can be a useful means for improving students’ writing performance. The educational setting in which this study takes place is the Foreign Language Department, Faculty of Letters and Languages, University Mentouri Constantine. To achieve such an aim, we relied on two means of research: the questionnaire and the test. First, two questionnaires were handed to both learners and teachers. The learners’ questionnaire was to investigate their strategies in learning vocabulary and the re-use ability of the previously leamt words in their writing tasks. The teachers’ questionnaire was to collect data about the techniques they use when dealing with unknown words in their lessons and the techniques they rely on to check students’ vocabulary learning. These two questionnaires helped in designing the test that took place before and after the learners were taught different strategies to leam ten selected words to see whether they had any effect on their writing performance. The results of this investigation confirmed the hypothesis and showed that the learners - subject of the study- proved to have learned nearly all the new words, selected by their teachers, through guessing from context which has led to improvement in their writing production. On the basis of the results obtained, some pedagogical implications have been proposed to direct learners toward the effective way to leam vocabulary in order to improve their writing skill, and others to help teachers in their task of developing the reading ability, vocabulary development and writing improvement in their students.