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An empirical study of the efficacy of integrating the teaching of dictionary use into a tertiary English curriculum in Hong Kong

Authors Chi, Amy Man-Lai
Issue Date 2003
Summary Current dictionaries for learners of English are made to be user-friendly, to contain many innovative features to simplify the look-up process, and to include the linguistic information that assists learners in acquiring the target language. However, existing research studies have revealed how little non-native learners of English are aware of the potential of such dictionaries. One of the methods that has been suggested by researchers in the field of pedagogical lexicography to address the problem is to teach these students how to use dictionaries. This study advocates that an effective way of teaching such reference skills is as a component of an existing English language course. Through an empirical research design, this study explores the efficacy of teaching dictionary use explicitly to non-native learners through experience with a conventional English enhancement course at tertiary level in Hong Kong. The study was carried out with the use of tailor-made teaching materials on dictionary use items identified to be relevant to the needs of these tertiary students, and to the nature of the existing English course at the university which they were attending. Through statistical and qualitative analyses, the study proves that such an approach is effective in disseminating the knowledge and skills required of students in using English learners’ dictionaries to solve specified linguistic problems. Based on the findings, it is recommended that support and training should be provided to English teachers to ensure that they are conversant with the development of, and innovations in, English learners’ dictionaries.
Note This report is a shortened, edited version of the author’s thesis, ‘A study of dictionary use teaching’, for which she was awarded the degree of PhD at Macquarie University, Sydney, 2003.
Language English
Format Book
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