Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Review of EFL Learners' Habits in the Use of Pedagogical Dictionaries

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Review of EFL Learners' Habits in the Use of Pedagogical Dictionaries

Article excerpt


A dictionary is an important device for both: EFL teachers and EFL learners. It is highly needed to conduct effective teaching and learning. Many investigations were carried out to study the foreign language learners' habits in the use of their dictionaries in reading, writing, testing and translating. This paper is shedding light on this issue; by pooling efforts carried out by researchers in forms of papers, articles and theses, on how EFL learners behave towards dictionaries in different learning situations. Different learning techniques have been discussed, to add to other experiences in the pedagogy of foreign languages. The findings of these surveys are collected here to enhance the work of foreign language teachers and learners in their classes, as well as it would be of practical help to textbook designers and lexicographers.

Keywords: EFL, dictionary use, learning habits, language learning, language education

1. Introduction

1.1 Statement of the Problem

This is a review of a number of studies on the effective use of pedagogical dictionaries by EFL learners. The focus is on some empirical research carried out to investigate dictionary theory and practice in relation to English language teaching. These studies investigate EFL learner's attitudes and habits regarding dictionary use. As language teachers, we have come to notice the poor presence of dictionary as an integrating part of teaching aids in our classrooms. So this paper is an attempt indented to shed light on this important issue, by making teachers alert to accompany this teaching tool with them in their routine classes. The result is expected to be positive, as a pool of good habits will grow in the learner's unconsciousness to adopt a routine dealing with dictionary.

1.2 The Significance of the Study

This research is intended to reflect the efforts of researchers in investigating habits of foreign language learners' in the use of dictionary; as tool in language education. So the findings of this paper will be of great use to EFL learners in the first place, as they are the targeted audience of this survey. It will also be of great help to foreign language teachers, as it will shed light on the importance of integrating dictionary skills in teaching, in their classes as routine practice. The research also is of significance to textbook designers to embed dictionary skill studies in their textbooks as this will develop intimacy between the dictionary and the user.

1.3 Research Objectives

The research aims at:

1- Investigating aspects pertaining to EFL dictionaries.

2- Emphasising the almost inexhaustible potential of dictionaries for generating and motivating communicative skills.

3- Encouraging EFL teachers & learners to integrate dictionaries into their pedagogical resources.

1.4 Method

To realize the objectives of this research; an intensive reading has been made by the researchers in the literature of dictionary education. We have focused on all types of dictionaries, so our research covered monolingual, bilingual and bilingualised dictionaries as well. Therefore, this effort can be considered as a summing-up of a wide range of reading in the subject and a thorough investigation in the behaviour of learners towards the use of dictionary in their learning.

2. Studies of EFL Students' Attitudes to Dictionaries

Tomaszczyk (1979) was one of the first researchers to investigate the dictionary requirements of non-native speakers of English. His study was to examine the ways learners use dictionaries, their attitudes and expectations. The study depended on a questionnaire containing fifty-seven items concerning personal language learning history, current language use, and use of dictionaries and the evaluation of information contained in them. 449 questionnaires were filled out by foreign language learners at tertiary level, foreign languages instructors and translators. …

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