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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 3741 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

Educational Research

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Arab children's use of the keyword method to learn English vocabulary words
Mohamed-Wafaie A. Elheloua
a
The Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza via Israel

To cite this Article Elhelou, Mohamed-Wafaie A.(1994) 'Arab children's use of the keyword method to learn English

vocabulary words', Educational Research, 36: 3, 295 — 302
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/0013188940360308
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0013188940360308

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Educational Research Volume 36 Number 3 Winter 1994

295

Short report
Arab children's use of the keyword method to learn English vocabulary words
Mohamed-Wafaie A. Elhelou
The Islamic University of Gaza, PO Box 108, Gaza via Israel
Summary

Downloaded At: 14:24 30 April 2011

The purpose of this short report is to investigate the effectiveness of the keyword method in the learning and recall of English language vocabulary for Arab children in the elementary school second grade. Two classes of 30 students each participated in the study. One class used the keyword method to learn the vocabulary words, and the other simply received the words and their definition. The results of this study indicate that the keyword class recalled significantly more words than did the control class. The keyword method appeared in 1975 (Atkinson, 1975; Raugh and Atkinson, 1975) as a means for learning foreign language vocabulary. The keyword method is a mnemonic device to help the learner transform or organize material in order to enhance its retrievability. The technique is fairly simple and involves two steps. First, isolate some part of the foreign word that, when spoken, sounds like a real English word. This is the keyword. Secondly, form an interacting visual image between the keyword and the English translation of the foreign word. Thus the foreign word becomes associated with the keyword by an acoustic link, and the keyword becomes associated with the English translation by an imagery link. As an example, take the Spanish word pato (pronounced 'pot-o' or 'paw-toe'), which means 'duck' in English. The keyword in this case is 'pot'. The next step, generating a visual image combining pot and duck can be satisfied by imagining a duck with a pot over its head. Pressley and Levin (1978) found that the method works very well, even with seven-year-olds. To derive maximum benefits from the method with these children, the experimenter had to display actual line drawings during the imagery link stage, rather than leaving up to the student the process of constructing appropriate visual images (as Atkinson had done). Arab children are taught English as a second language; like students in other cultures, they meet...
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