Activation activities as a catalyst for increased rates of vocabulary and grammar learning

Izaskun Villarreal, Iranzu Ardaiz.
Huarte de San Juan. Filología y Didáctica de la Lengua

Accessing or activating prior knowledge seems to be essential when fostering meaningful learning. The current study explores the effects of activating prior language knowledge on vocabulary and grammar by comparing an experimental EFL secondary school group against a parallel control group. The treatment for the experimental group consisted on tailored vocabulary and grammar activating activities for ten sessions. With a pre-post-test design, data were collected from: (1) a pre-and a post-test to measure vocabulary andgrammar; (2) a pre-and-post textbook unit test; (3) a satisfaction questionnaire after the experimental period. The various analyses confirmed the benefits of activating in EFL classes, as experimental learners produced more vocabulary items and scored higher in all the tests. The results for the grammatical activities, also pointed to the merits of activating for grammatical features. Furthermore, experimental learners showed a positive motivation towards the activating activities and expressed their willingness to continue with them.