ERIC Number: ED278970
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Developing College Vocabulary: A Content Analysis of Instructional Materials. College Reading and Learning Assistance Technical Report 86-07.
Stahl, Norman A.; And Others
Since current research and theory question many of the traditional methods and techniques of teaching vocabulary, a study was made to determine the content of 55 college vocabulary texts and the extent to which the content was consistent with empirical evidence. The study investigated the techniques used to teach word knowledge and whether they were additive or generative in nature. Additive or word specific approaches emphasize predetermined sets of words, while generative approaches emphasize strategies for vocabulary learning beyond specific instructional materials. Analyses revealed that 89% of the texts employed an additive philosophy. The most prevalent instructional category found was the use of word element exercises, most of which contained isolated drills focusing on short-term memorization of definitions for targeted words. Results indicated that only 38% of the texts included contextual analysis as a vocabulary strategy and that only six textbooks using this strategy employed a generative approach. Findings also revealed that dictionary/reference was a common instructional approach for vocabulary development in commercial materials. Learning words from lists was found to be by far the most common additive-type exercise. Based on these findings, it was recommended that postsecondary vocabulary development materials (1) encourage independent vocabulary development, (2) stimulate a deeper understanding of words studied, (3) use actual texts to teach contextual analysis, (4) organize words in semantically-related sets when using an additive approach, (5) promote long-term vocabulary learning, and (6) be scrutinized for validity by textbook authors. (A six-page reference list, a list of texts analyzed, the text assessment worksheets, and a master list of College Reading and Learning Assistance Technical Reports are appended.) (JD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Georgia State Univ., Atlanta.