Higher-degree research being undertaken by Warren Matsuoka
Creating word lists to inform ELT pedagogy
This study aims to investigate the vocabulary in L1 textbooks widely used to teach core subjects (e.g. biology, history, geography) to secondary school students in Australia for the purpose of creating word lists in order to inform ELT pedagogy and the design of ELT materials written for secondary schools in EFL contexts - the focus of the present study being mainland China.
Although most EFL students in Asia have studied the target language for at least six years as a core subject in their secondary education years, many of them upon starting their tertiary studies still find themselves struggling with reading academic texts in English due to their lack of vocabulary knowledge (Hui, 2004; Joyce, 2003; Li, 2008; Nurweni & Read, 1999; Ward 2009). However, the reason for this difficulty in comprehending texts at the tertiary level may not only be due to the pre-tertiary-level students' poor vocabulary size but also specifically to the types of words they are being exposed to and learning through written texts such as their ELT school textbooks.
Employing a methodology based on the premise that L1 language use can serve as a model for L2 vocabulary learning, the present study will analyse the vocabulary occurring in L1 core subject textbooks which aim to enable Year 11 and 12 students to successfully complete their secondary education and be awarded a certificate of education as well as to prepare university-bound students for tertiary study. Specifically, the study aims to identify the most frequent words occurring across L1 texts of various subject areas and investigate how these words could be presented in ELT materials for EFL secondary school students so that the university-bound L2 reader would be exposed to and thus given opportunities to acquire at least partial knowledge of the vocabulary necessary to cope successfully with academic texts in English at the tertiary level.
Warren Matsuoka is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. He has previously taught English in Tokyo, Taipei and Sydney and has also tutored 'Literacy and Language Teaching' for the Masters of Education (TESOL) program here at the University of Sydney.
- Thomas and Ethel Mary Ewing Scholarship in Education 2010
- Alexander Mackie Research Fellowship 2011
- Matsuoka, W. (2012). Searching for the right words: Creating word lists to inform EFL learning. In Hirsh, D. (Ed.), Current Perspectives in Second Language Vocabulary Research (pp. 151–177), Bern: Peter Lang.
- Matsuoka, W., & Hirsh, D. (2010). Vocabulary learning through reading: Does an ELT course book provide good opportunities?. Reading in a Foreign Language, 22(1), 56–70.
- Matsuoka, W. (2010). Vocabulary development in an EFL context: Defining a model for China. TESOL Research Network Colloquium, The University of Sydney, 23 October 2010.
- Matsuoka, W. (2009). Vocabulary learning through reading: Does an ELT course book provide good opportunities? TESOL Research Network Colloquium, The University of Sydney, 5 September 2009.