Vocabulary Teaching and Learning in Team-Teaching Elementary English Classrooms
Since the introduction of English curricula at elementary school level in 2001, intercultural team teaching between native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) and their non-native English-speaking teachers (non-NESTs) has become increasingly common in elementary schools in Taiwan. Relatively little is known about actual teaching practices employed by the two groups of teachers, differences in teaching practices between them, and potential association of certain vocabulary teaching practices with students’ vocabulary learning. The proposed 2-year project aims to (a) investigate the types of vocabulary instruction practices available for EFL elementary school students in a team-teaching classroom, (b) explore the differences in vocabulary instruction practices between NESTs and non-NESTs, and (c) finally use norm-referenced and target word assessments to analyze the relationships between different practices of vocabulary instruction and students’ vocabulary learning. The study attempts a longitudinal observation of four elementary school English teachers, 2 NESTs and 2 non-NESTs, teaching in four team-teaching classrooms over the course of one year. Naturalist data will be collected, and instances in which the teachers employ particular vocabulary practices will be identified and coded. Differences in practices of vocabulary instruction between NESTs and non-NESTs will then be compared and discussed. At the beginning and the end of the school year, the vocabulary knowledge of the students in the four classrooms will be assessed on a norm-referenced vocabulary test and a measure of vocabulary targeted and taught in the curriculum. Students’ vocabulary learning and development will be analyzed in relation to teachers’ uses of different vocabulary instruction practices as well as other mediating factors (e.g., students’ initial level of vocabulary knowledge, length of English learning, and after-school English learning etc.). The proposed two-year research project will contribute findings that carry important implications for EFL teachers in team-teaching classrooms as well as those who intend to provide research-informed vocabulary instruction.