• Utilizing ESL Learners’ Socio-Cognitive Resources to Enhance General Academic Vocabulary Acquisition

      Makulloluwa, Enoka; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education
      This study examined the extent to which English as a Second Language Learner (ESL) graduate students’ socio-cognitive resources (the combination of culturally relevant imagery and first language (L1) facilitate their Second Language (L2) general academic vocabulary acquisition in a social learning setting. The study investigated whether the use of culturally relevant imagery and L1 translation equivalents facilitate retrieval of new general academic vocabulary. The study was informed by the following theories: Levels of Processing Theory (Craik & Lockhart, 1972), Vocabulary Learning Strategy Taxonomy (Gu & Johnson, 1996), Social Constructivist Theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and the Bilingual Dual Coding Theory (Paivio & Desrochers, 1980)—which assumes that bilinguals’ cognitive activity is mediated by their two verbal systems and the image system representing their knowledge of the world. Utilizing a sequential explanatory mixed method strategy, the study first explored the general vocabulary learning strategy (VLS) preferences of 41 ESL graduate students with a survey. Then with a sub-sample of nine ESL graduate students, in a collaborative setting. the study used a case study approach to determine the extent to which a VLS that utilizes the socio-cognitive resources of the bilingual might activate the connections in the verbal systems and image system that lead to deep processing and retrieval of new vocabulary. The findings of the study indicate that the ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources have a positive impact on their general academic vocabulary acquisition. Outcomes of the study inform students and educators alike on how a VLS honouring ESL learners’ socio-cognitive resources can be utilized to enhance general academic vocabulary acquisition. It also contributes to a domain of teaching and learning where there is a dearth of literature