Answers to Queries

A foreign language is best learnt in context.

A foreign language is best learnt in context – I cannot agree more with this postulation. A foreign language can only be learnt adequately when a language context is available so that a learner can really interconnect what he is learning to his own knowledge schema. The Vocablearning program has no intention to ask any …

Students don’t need to know so many words.

Research highlights the importance of vocabulary knowledge for second language (L2) learners in reading (Haynes & Baker, 1993; Huckin & Bloch, 1993), speaking (Hincks, 2003; Joe, 1998), in listening (Elley, 1989; Ellis, 1994), in writing (Hinkel, 2001; Laufer & Nation, 1995; Lee, 2003; Leki & Carson, 1994; Walters & Wolf, 1996) and academic success (Hazenberg …

Learning vocabulary through Vocablearning has no advantage over guessing from context

Besides the knowledge of basic vocabulary, a good guessing strategy also requires a good foundation in the knowledge of the part of speech and morphology of words, which the student may not possess. Even with proper training in guessing strategies, for an article with less than 90% of the words known to a student, most …

Students can guess the meaning of the unfamiliar words that they encountered.

Some people suggest that a reader does not need to know all the words that he encounters. Guessing words from context is a good strategy for learning unfamiliar English vocabulary. The reality is that good readers do not need to guess, poor readers fail to guess. This is a common misunderstanding of the topic shared …

The scheme may have adverse effect on English learning, in particular, the students will misuse the words that they learn through the scheme.

Almost all native speakers learn their mother language following the order of Listening – Speaking – Reading – and then Writing. As second language learners in local schools, most students follow a very different order: Reading/Listening – Writing – Speaking. Without the presence of a natural English speaking environment outside the classroom, the role of …

Learning Vocabulary is not as important as other aspects in learning a language.

While without grammar, little can be conveyed; without vocabulary, nothing can be conveyed. If vocabulary is not more important than other aspects of a language, it is at least as important as the others. Huckin and Bloch(1993) point out, “Research has shown that second-language readers rely heavily on vocabulary knowledge, and that a lack of …

The school is using English Builder and Vocablearning is a duplicated effort.

Right from the beginning, Vocablearning does not aim at improving English specifically though a strong correlation between the number of days with the exercise done in Vocablearning and the improvement in English Subject rank was revealed from the data collected last year. Rather, Vocablearning aims at assisting students to learn the 2300+ wordsNote which are …

Even though the students have marked improvement, it cannot prove that there is no other more significant factor affecting the performance of a student.

Nobody has ever claimed that Vocablearning is the most significant factor affecting the performance of a student. The scheme was only put forward as a feasible and cost-effective means to help the students to tackle their vocabulary need in their study. Scientifically, there is no way to prove that there is no other more significant …

The promised improvement seems to be miraculous and questionable.

The exercise is unique to all other curricular activities offered to the students. The platform is a database driven program with certain built-in artificial intelligence to arrange the most optimized word-set for a student to study every time. No two students will ever do the same exercise generated by the program. For this reason, the …

About a quarter of the students got an “H” in the assessment, so the exercise should be discontinued.

The same problem of not everybody performing well every day also exists in other sectors and other online learning platforms. For example, in the administration of medicine to patients with chronic disease, many patients skip taking medicine frequently. Should the administration of the medicine be discontinued? Or in the education sector, should a school with …

The exercise can be carried out as a voluntary activity.

The same program was used to deliver the chemistry content to the students seating for the 2009 and 2011 chemistry A-Level examinations. The Chemistry students of 2009 did the program for 7 months in their form 7 on a compulsory basis. The passing rate and credit rate of the Chemistry improved by 26% and 94% respectively …

The scheme by-passed the formal decision making channel

Mr. Tam requested me to get the approval of Academic Committee (AC). He said if AC approved the scheme, he would approve it. I approached some members of the AC to garner their support. Though I garnered enough members to support the scheme, they had the reservation that Mr. Tam would not honor the decision …

The scheme costs the school $4500 a month.

When the scheme was first conducted, it was Mr. Tam, the principal, who offered me $4500 a month for the scheme and I had never requested any. I notified Mr. Tam that if money is a concern of the decision making, I have no doubt in forfeiting it. I received the pay check on 30th Aug …

Paul Yip may have financial interest in the project.

All university researches encourage the researchers to make the product of the research commercially available if the product is welcome by the market. Only by making the product commercially available, a positive cash flow can be generated to enhance the research result and let more people benefit from the research. Once again, if this is …

Reference and Related Materials

Presentation Slides – Answers to the Queries Raised by Teachers on the Vocablearning Project Biemiller, A., & Slomin, N. (2001). Estimating root word vocabulary growth in normative and advantaged populations: Evidence for a common sequence of vocabulary acquisition. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, 498-520. Duffelmeyeear., (1984). The effect of context on ascertaining word meaning. Reading World, …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.