In my doctoral research project, I examine vocabulary activities, resources and opportunities for vocabulary learning in an instructed context. The aim of the study is to provide in-depth knowledge of second language learning by specifically highlighting children's vocabulary learning. The target population consists of students in grades 4-5 in municipal compulsory school.
Previous research in Applied Linguistics has confirmed that vocabulary knowledge is a central factor for language development. However, studies focusing on EFL vocabulary learning and teaching to young learners in the classroom are still scarce.
In this research study, I report and analyse how, and with what resources, the teacher and students use the target language in the classroom for the purpose of learning and recycling vocabulary. In addition, I discuss the role of input from the textbook and classroom activities, how meanings are created in a language classroom and what opportunities the pedagogical resources provide for vocabulary learning.
The empirical study is based on theories of Cognitive Linguistics and usage-based models for language learning, and it combines data from classroom observations (in grades 4-5) with analysis of vocabulary content in textbooks, teacher interviews, a background questionnaire and a diagnostic vocabulary test.
The result of the study can contribute with knowledge to the following areas of importance for language learning and teaching: It can report on what opportunities the teacher and pupil's interaction and use of the target language in the classroom provide for learning and repetition of vocabulary. Secondly, it can clarify how, and with what resources, teachers and pupils communicate about word form, meanings and use in an instructed context. Finally, it can provide insight into and evaluate vocabulary content in teaching materials, and discuss how it fosters vocabulary development. The result has implications for language learning and teaching at compulsory school and the design of textbooks and other pedagogical material.
I am a member of the research group CogLing at Umeå university (https://www.umu.se/en/research/groups/cogling-umu/)