Impact of Training Deep Vocabulary Learning Strategies on Vocabulary Retention of Iranian EFL Learners

Seyed Javad Es-hagi Sardroud


Considering the overall tendency of foreign language learners to use mechanical strategies of rote rehearsal in vocabulary learning and their resistance towards use of 'deep' vocabulary learning strategies, namely contextual guessing, Keyword Method, metacognitive strategy, and semantic mapping, this study intended (a) to explore what impact the instruction of these deep strategies, on vocabulary retention of 32 post-intermediate adult EFL Iranian learners, (b) to determine how the variable of gender influences the vocabulary retention of students after receiving training in these strategies. To this end, on the basis of a strategy-based model of instruction–CALLA (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994), the experimental group received training in using 'deep' vocabulary learning strategies while the control group received only the common method of vocabulary teaching. After the treatment, following factorial design, the performance of the participants in the teacher-made vocabulary test as posttest was analyzed statistically.  The results indicated higher vocabulary retention for the experimental group, and it was revealed that female students were more receptive to strategy training. This study provides evidence for confirmation of 'depth of processing' hypothesis and the emerging theory about the impact of gender on effective strategy teaching and use, and it recommends incorporation of teaching these 'deep' strategies of vocabulary learning into EFL classrooms.


Contextual guessing, 'deep' vocabulary learning strategies, Keyword Method, metacognitive strategy, semantic mapping

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