Helping students at Military Medical University learn vocabulary more effectively by applying games. II. The rationale for the research:
Vocabulary mastery is the basic knowledge to learn any language in general and English in particular because vocabulary is considered a bridge to link four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing together (Carter, 1992). Similarly, the linguist Wilkins (1972) already emphasizes the importance of vocabulary learning “without grammar, very little can be conveyed. Without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed” (p. 111). Based on the writer’s observation in teaching English at Military Medical University, the writer finds out that students often find difficult when applying correctly and naturally vocabulary they have already known to different contexts. This problem is due to many factors. Maybe students do not know the effective way to memorize new words. Another reason is probably that students get bored with the traditional way of teaching vocabulary such as meaning explanation or definition, pronunciation, spelling and grammatical functions. Also, students seem to learn the primary meaning of new words only. That makes them confused when recognizing the functions of the words in the specific context. Furthermore, students only learn new words through the lesson which teachers give them in class and they do not have enough time to practise what they have learned. Thousands of approaches to vocabulary teaching have been carried out. In my research, I would like to suggest using games as a teaching aid instead of the traditional method which considers the process of language teaching and learning to be serious and solemn. Nguyen and Khuat (2003) agree that games make learning process fun and relaxed. In a relaxed atmosphere, learners can remember things faster and better. Vernon (2009) finds out that students focus on the lesson better because they can learn and play at the same time. According to Lee (1995), games bring an opportunity for students to interact and communicate. He also assumes that learners can have more chances to use the target language without being afraid of making mistakes. Wright, Betteridge and Buckby (1984) stress that applying games to teaching, teachers can create specific and meaningful contexts. If learners want to take part in, they have to understand what they are required to do. Moreover, they must speak or write to express their viewpoints. Another benefit of games is that they tend to integrate different language skills - speaking, writing, listening and reading (Kim,1995). Ersoz (2000) also notes that teachers can use language games to practise all skills as well as types of communication. Vernon (2009) assumes that games help students enhance cooperation and create a healthy competition which leads students to learning environment. Because of these benefits above, games seem to be the most common and suggested way in innovating teaching method. III. The aims of the research:
Applying games in teaching vocabulary at Military Medical University to: - make the lesson more relaxed and effective.
- help students remember new words faster and longer.
- create different contexts for students to practise English vocabulary they have learned. IV. Research questions:
- What kinds of games are suitable for students?
- How can we apply the games for students at Military Medical University? - Does teaching vocabulary using games help students learn more effectively? V. Methodology:
The participants of the study consist of 90 freshmen at Military Medical University. There are 50 boys and 40 girls. The age of the participants is at a range of 18 to 20. All of them have been learning English for 7 years. At Military Medical University, they have two 45-minute regular English periods per week. Outline the methods:
• Classroom observation.
• Questionnaires/ interviews for...