Graduation Date

5-2010

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

This study evaluated the effectiveness of Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS™) compared to the Grammar-Translation approach for acquiring and retaining new vocabulary in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class. The subjects were adult Hispanic learners with limited literacy. An experimental design approach was used to gather information on the effect of TPRS™ and Grammar-Translation approaches on student vocabulary retention. A total of 25 participants signed the consent to be a research subject. All participants took two written pretests that examined their knowledge of common words. Following each pretest, the instructor taught three classes using the Grammar-Translation approach and three classes using TPRS™. Following the treatments, all adults took the written vocabulary test. Pre-test and post-test results were analyzed to note similarities and differences in vocabulary retention. Results indicated that both Grammar-Translation and TPRS™ approaches made an important difference in student retention of vocabulary. The improvements in vocabulary acquisition and retention were 49% using Grammar-Translation and 45% using TPRS™. Additional research is needed on how to work effectively with adult students who need to learn English under challenging circumstances. These students have complex lives and are trying to survive in addition to studying to improve their language ability.

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