Vocabulary Learning Strategies Used by Medical Students: Croatian Perspective
Keywords:vocabulary learning strategies, self-initiated vocabulary learning, formal vocabulary learning, spontaneous vocabulary learning, vocabulary knowledge
AbstractIn order to be able to fully develop their academic and professional competencies, medical doctors (MDs) need to be highly proficient in English, which, among other things, implies the acquisition of vocabulary as an essential part of language knowledge. The current study aims at exploring vocabulary learning strategies (VLS) employed by freshman and sophomore medical students at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia. In particular, it focuses on (a) most and least frequently used VLS; (b) relationship between VLS subscales and different types of vocabulary knowledge; (c) differences in the mean strategy use between male and female students, and among low-, middle- and high-scoring students. The instruments used in the research were adapted version of the VLS Questionnaire (Pavi?i? Taka?, 2008, p.152) and a vocabulary test designed by the author. The results indicate that medical students use a core inventory of VLS, whereby showing preference for the category of self-initiated vocabulary learning (SI-IVL) strategies and some individual formal vocabulary learning (FVL) and spontaneous vocabulary learning (SVL) strategies. Although students were not in favour of FVL at the level of the category as a whole, the results showed that the more frequently they employed FVL strategies, the better they scored on vocabulary tasks measuring controlled-productive type of vocabulary knowledge. Correlations revealed that female students used SI-IVL and FVL strategies significantly more often than their male counterparts. Results also suggest that there are no statistically significant differences in the mean VLS use among low-, middle- and high-scoring students. In conclusion, the results of this study provide a preliminary insight into the VLS used by medical students and their effect on students' vocabulary learning outcomes as well as into differences by gender and vocabulary proficiency. Since findings have proved rather inconclusive, these research questions need to be further investigated.
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