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Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

Project leader: Kaori Sohar

Project description: This project investigates methods and strategies for teaching Japanese vocabulary. There are three main research objectives:

  •  Provide an overview and summary of previously published findings related to vocabulary acquisition and strategies for learning vocabulary in a foreign language
  • Apply and examine different methods for teaching vocabulary and neurodidactic hypotheses connected with them
  • Development of effective methods for teaching Japanese vocabulary

In the past few years and decades, technical developments in devices that measure and investigate brain function have allowed measurement of brain activity in people as they perform specific cognitive operations. With biomedical technology, more and more opportunities have arisen to take advantage of this progress in neuroscience and research findings when learning and teaching foreign languages.

There are also suggestions and tips for effectively teaching vocabulary that are based on findings from neuropsychological research. However, there are relatively few approaches to research in which neurodidactic hypotheses have actually been empirically tested and verified in foreign language teaching. This project aims to examine different methods for introducing and teaching vocabulary in Japanese language courses in order to verify the effectiveness of these suggestions. Vocabulary will be tested several times with various control tasks at different time intervals in order to discover which vocabulary words have been saved to long-term memory and to what extent they can be successfully recalled and used. Analysis of data should result in a detailed description that presents teaching methods that have been demonstrated to be effective for learning vocabulary over the course of the study. This should ultimately yield tips for how to better teach vocabulary not only in Japanese but also in other foreign languages.

Research methods: Qualitative and quantitative, design of didactic methods, development of control tasks, data collection and analysis, observation of learning behaviour


Kaori Sohar

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