English vocabulary teaching in Chinese junior high schools

Jinghong Zhang, Purdue University


Vocabulary learning is an important and indispensable part of the English language learning process. In this paper, the author tried to examine the vocabulary teaching practice in Chinese junior high schools. A questionnaire was used to investigate the problem from the perspectives of in-service teachers. Besides, the National English Curriculum (MOE, 2011) served as another important source of data in this study. The data revealed that progress has been made in English vocabulary teaching in Chinese junior high schools. Teachers are utilizing a wider range of educational resources and vocabulary teaching strategies during their instruction. The methods to assess vocabulary have also become more diversified. In addition to the enhancement in English vocabulary teaching practice, areas for further improvement were identified and pedagogical implications from the study were also discussed. Drawing on the data collected from the study and the official English curriculum (MOE, 2011), and research on vocabulary teaching, the author proposed three tentative suggestions to further improve the vocabulary teaching practice in Chinese junior high schools. The suggestions include: an emphasis on the teaching and testing of productive vocabulary; an increasing focus on the incidental acquisition of vocabulary; and construction of a comprehensive and balanced vocabulary assessment system which employs diversified assessment tools (formative/summative assessment; context-dependent/ context-independent assessment).




Shoffner, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Asian Studies|English as a Second Language|Secondary education

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