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Title: An investigation into the use of Word Lists in university foundation programs in the United Arab Emirates
Author: Burkett, Theodore Howard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 9360
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2017
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There has been increasing interest in research on creating word lists in the past decade with more than 60 separate lists being published along with Nation’s (2016) timely Making and Using Word Lists for Language Learning and Testing. However, this focus on word lists has primarily been on creating them and has not necessarily extended to looking at how they are actually used. In order to help answer the question of how these lists are utilized in practice, this exploratory, interpretive study based on interviews with teachers and assessment/curriculum developers looks at how word lists are used at five tertiary English foundation programs in the United Arab Emirates. The main findings include the following. Insufficient vocabulary knowledge was deemed one of the most significant problems that students faced. Additionally, word lists played a role in all five of the institutions represented in the study, and the Common European Framework (CEFR) was used in conjunction with vocabulary frequency lists to help set expected vocabulary learning in some programs. Furthermore, teacher intuition was used to modify lists in three of the five programs and online applications were used in all five programs. The thesis explores a number of areas in depth including: how vocabulary lists are being used in the programs, the use of the AWL in this context and potential problems related to this, the role of teacher intuition in the customization of lists, the role of CEFR related frameworks in these programs, the use of computer applications to assist with list vocabulary acquisition, what the selected vocabulary acquisition activities tell us about beliefs about vocabulary teaching and learning, and some final comments about utilizing a list. One of the key findings was the development of a novel framework for categorizing the use of word lists into four general areas: course planning, teaching and learning, assessment and materials development with sub-categories for each. This framework and the related examples could be utilized to evaluate the suitability of specific lists and to help set developmental targets for the process of adopting a new list and transforming it into something that could be used to direct and support vocabulary teaching and learning. It could also be developed further as more examples of practice emerge in different contexts and hopefully set the stage for more development about how vocabulary lists are used.
Supervisor: Durrant, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Vocabulary ; Word Lists ; AWL ; United Arab Emirates ; TEFL ; UAE ; EFL ; CEFR