English vocabulary development of senior high school students : a study on the similarities and differences in motivation and skills between English medium and Bengali medium learners
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The purpose of this study is to study the similarities and differences in motivation and skills between English medium and Bengali medium learners in English vocabulary development. People perform a job when it is rewarding. The word motivation refers to ‘willingness to do a job’; however some major types of motivation related to second language acquisition include intrinsic, instrumental, and social. Motivational factors are important determinants of learners’ success in second language acquisition in general and the development of various language skills, such as speaking, reading, writing and listening. There are numerous academic researches on motivation for English vocabulary development. Also, there are multiple standard questionnaires to examine major motivational constructs, such as Motivation for Vocabulary Learning Questionnaire (MVLQ). In this study, no particular standardized questionnaire has been used considering the fact that learners’ motivation for English language as well as vocabulary development varies according to particular culture of the society. However, to develop the questionnaire suitable for this study, a review of the current literature has been very useful. Upon administering a 30-item questionnaire on a total of 60 students (30 from English medium and 30 from Bengali medium), this study has examined vocabulary development goals of senior high school students. The questionnaire consists of 20 items to measure motivational factors not directly related to English Language skills and 10 items to measure motivational factors related to English Language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. 20 motivational factors not directly related to English Language skills mainly examine whether learners are willing to develop English vocabulary for pleasure and to improve their social interactions; impress parents, friends or teachers; improve personality; v and to be a global citizen through accessing more sources of information. In this study, 10 motivational factors related to English Language skills mainly examine whether learners are willing to develop English vocabulary to facilitate the development of spoken and written English; improve understanding of English language, literature, other texts as well as various audio visual forms of entertainment in English language; improve communication skills; and excel in academic and competitive exams. The empirical results depict that there are a number of similarities in motivation and skills between English medium and Bengali medium students although they are from two different streams of education. Both the English and Bengali medium students have placed higher importance of motivational factors related to English language skills than those not directly related to. In particular, there are four factors equally important to both English and Bengali medium students including to improve my spoken English; to improve my written English; to do good in SAT/TOEFL/IELTS exams; and to improve my understanding English texts. Interestingly, both English and Bengali medium students have placed similar lower importance on two motivational factors, such as to participate effectively in classroom activities; and to understand English movies, TV/radio programs and songs. This study points to the fact that highly motivated learners from both English and Bengali medium develop their English vocabulary skill from their inner urge and personal interest. While the most important motivational factors related to English Language skills for Bengali Medium students to develop English vocabulary is to improve my spoken English, English medium students have placed the highest importance on to improve my written English, which indicates that suggests that Bengali medium students face more difficulty in improving spoken English than their English medium counterparts due to different instructional and vi educational environment. English medium students have the advantage of interacting among themselves as well as with teachers in English. The similarities in motivation and skills for English vocabulary development among senior high school students in Bangladeshi Bengali and English medium students can be related to globalization and an ever increasing importance of English language in the global and domestic context. Conversely, the differences are rooted to some micro level environmental contexts, for example, English medium students have more opportunity to access more resources to develop English vocabulary skills and use the words they learn more frequently. Also, English medium students have extra pressure from their parents and teachers to develop English skills for academic achievement. However, the differences in motivational factors among Bengali medium and English medium students are narrowing day by day thanks to the increasing dominance of English and the spread of information technology. The findings of this study may be useful to educators in teaching English language to Bengali medium and English medium students in Bangladesh through adopting appropriate strategies as this study has identified most important and least important motivational factors influencing their vocabulary development. This study has also provided important insights about what language skills Bengali medium and English medium students want to develop via improving their stock of English Language vocabulary. Finally, this study recommends that it is essential to review the English Language teaching-learning processes adopted in Bengali medium so that the learning environment is more supportive. The students should be given more opportunity to communicate in English among themselves as well as with their teachers. Also, it is recommended that the curriculum needs to be updated so that students can engage in various types of interesting learning activities and thereby improve their self-confidence.