Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Teachers' awareness of lexical difficulty in ESL reading texts
Author: McNeill, A.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This research examines ESL teachers' awareness of lexical difficulty from the perspective of a language learner. Since most ESL teaching is text-based, it follows that teaching effectiveness is probably directly influenced by teachers' ability to identify the vocabulary context of texts which their learners actually find difficult. Two main research questions are addressed: (a) How good are teachers at tuning in to their students' difficulties with the vocabulary content of reading texts? and (b) What factors affect teachers' ability to identify vocabulary difficulty in reading texts? It is postulated that the ability to identify "difficult" words involved a number of factors, including a teacher's knowledge of the English lexical system, proficiency in English, approaches to teaching, teaching experience, as well as knowledge of their learners' background and previous learning. Another factor taken into account is whether a teacher is an English native speaker or a speaker of the learners' L1. Nine experiments were carried out in order to try to isolate the effects of different factors upon teachers' ability to identify lexical difficulty. The experiments were conducted in Hong Kong and Beijing and involved mostly Chinese-speaking students and teachers. The results suggest that a wide range of ability exists among most groups of teachers in terms of their awareness of lexical difficulty. Teachers who speak the same L1 as their students generally find it easier to tune in to students' vocabulary difficulties than teachers who do not, and experienced, professionally trained teachers are generally more successful than inexperienced teachers at identifying vocabulary problems. However, large individual differences were found among all the groups of teachers who took part in the experiments. It is argued that awareness of the learning problems associated with individual lexical items should be regarded as part of a language teacher's overall language awareness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available