The Role of Integrating Various Patterns of Activity Sequencing in Promoting the Receptive Vocabulary Size of EFL Learners
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العدد 21 ديسمبر 2015 N°21 Décembre 2015

The Role of Integrating Various Patterns of Activity Sequencing in Promoting the Receptive Vocabulary Size of EFL Learners

Ahlam Bouirane
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تهدف هذه الدراسة لتناول ضعف مستوى المفردات المتلقاة لدى طلبة السنة الثالثة بقسم الإنجليزية، جامعة مجمد لمين دباغين سطيف2. وذلك قصد تقرير مدى فعالية ادماج أنماط تعليم مختلفة في رفع حجم المفردات المتلقاة. وقد استخدمت الدراسة منهج البحث شبه التجريبي باعتماد الاستبيان بغرض تحديد إدراك الطلبة للمفردات والتمارين المستخدمة في تعليمها، ثم اختبار قياس المفردات المستقبلة (شميت، 2001) في مراحل ما قبل وبعد التجربة. بينت نتائج الاستبيان أن الطلبة ينظرون نظرة ايجابية الى تعلم المفردات. كما بينت نتائج الاختبار وجود فروقات بارزة في حجم المفردات المتلقاة بين فوجي التجربة في المرحلتين القبلية والبعدية.

الكلمات المفاتيح:مفردات اللغة المتلقاة، أنماط تسلسل التمارين، إدراك الطلبة، تنمية المعارف اللغوية، طلبة اللغة الانجليزية كلغة أجنبية

Le motif de cette recherche est l’insuffisance du lexique réceptif au niveau des étudiants de troisième année au département d’Anglais à l’université Mohamed Lamine Dabaghine. L’objectif est donc de décider de l’efficacité de l’intégration de différents modèles de séquences d’activités afin d’enrichir le lexique réceptif des apprenants. La méthode de quasi-expérimentation est adoptée en utilisant un questionnaire pour évaluer les perceptions du lexique et les activités lexicales chez les apprenants, et le Teste du Lexique Réceptif (Version 2) pour évaluer le niveau du lexique des apprenants. Les résultats du questionnaire affirment que les apprenants valorisent le lexique et son apprentissage. Les résultats du teste démontrent des différences entres les deux groupes de la quasi-expérimentation et confirment l’utilité de l’intégration.


Mots Clés:Modèles de Séquences d’activités, Lexique Réceptif, Intégration, Utilité

The motivation underlying this research is the poor receptive vocabulary size (RVS) among third year students of English as a foreign language (EFL). The purpose is to report the efficiency of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing in promoting RVS through quasi-experimentation. The research used a questionnaire to collect the participants’ perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning, and to neutralize the bias of individual variables. Next, the research used the Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT) to test the RVS at the beginning and end of the quasi-experiment. The questionnaire results revealed that the students have positive high perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning activities. The VLT results showed significant differences in the RVS of the participants between the quasi-experiment phases.

Key words:Patterns of Activity Sequencing, Receptive Vocabulary Size (RVS), Integration, EFL Learners, Efficacy

Quelques mots à propos de :  Ahlam Bouirane

Assistant Lecturer Department of English Language and Literature, Mohamed Lamine Debagaine Setif 2 University


Sequencing became an explicit research interest in English language teaching (ELT) after the methodological changes brought about under Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) against the structural approaches. Sequencing in second language acquisition (SLA) research stands for the order of language forms presentation in the acquisition process. Hence, sequence and order are often used interchangeably in SLA research (13), (5). However, sequencing in foreign language teaching (FLT) is far from the meaning of order understood in the context of SLA; it rather has two meanings: the first meaning stands for the method of arranging learning content for students in terms of selecting knowledge to provide, and the second meaning is concerned with the process followed to present a particular content. There is a clear distinction between two meanings of sequencing in FLT (5). The first meaning presents ordering of syllabus content which means the teaching “what” and means both the whole material presenting syllabus content and the lessons or sections revealing the syllabus content within the material. The second meaning is sequencing as ordering of activities or the teaching “how”. It builds on the ordering of activities and exists within the context of materials/syllabus design and evaluation criteria. The second meaning is the main concern of the present research as linked to influencing receptive vocabulary size (RVS). Methods of teaching vocabulary discuss explicit and implicit methodologies of teaching with no focus on the sequencing of lesson stages. Since vocabulary should not be deliberately taught (45), the use of context or other language skills to teach vocabulary calls for sequencing lesson stages for more effective vocabulary teaching/learning. Thus, in this research, the effect of the integration of many patterns of activity sequencing, mainly the Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP), the deep-end strategy, the task-based, the Scenario-based, the Observe-Hypothesize-Experiment (OHE), and the Engage-Study-Activate (ESA) patterns on teaching vocabulary explicitly is tested.

2.Literature Review

Vocabulary teaching is one of the most important elements in the language classroom because it helps learners to express their ideas and feelings through words and meanings. As important as language structures are for language being its skeleton, so is vocabulary which provides the vital organs and flesh (17). The importance of vocabulary learning to learn a language is widely accepted, and the role vocabulary has in receptive and productive language situations, has also been proved throughout the research literature.  In consequence, vocabulary is no longer a victim of discrimination in second language learning research, nor in language teaching. After decades of neglect, lexis is now recognized as central to any language acquisition process, native or non-native. What many language teachers might have intuitively known for a long time, that a solid vocabulary is necessary in every stage of language learning, is now being openly stated by some second language acquisition (SLA) researchers(26). There is no doubt that ELT had undergone through considerable developmental stages that produced different trends. Recognized in this evolution are the focus on different teaching methodologies and the variety of activity sequencing patterns, as well the shift towards focusing on vocabulary as an essential language component.

2.1.Patterns of Activity Sequencing

The PPP pattern presents the traditional pattern of activity sequencing that has been used in many foreign language course books, and is still valid today(7). As a three-part teaching paradigm, this pattern is formed of three stages: first, the presentation phase (P1) which is characterized by the teacher’s control of the teaching/learning situations, and the use of materials containing the linguistic items and structures in the unit. This is done through both a deductive mode in which the teacher is a model in providing the items or structures and their meanings, and an inductive mode in which the learners are offered with samples of structures and contextualized items and try to induce the rules and structures. Second, the Practice phase (P2) which is also highly controlled by the teacher, since he/she checks whether the items presented in the first phase are clearly understood. The focus is on accuracy of forms by means of targeting the linguistic structures introduced in the presentation phase, aiming at achieving fluency at the last stage through drills as a dominating form of activities. And third, the Production phase (P3) where students are free to produce the linguistic items presented and practiced in the previous stages through a varied set of activities in the aim of increasing fluency in the production of linguistic items(6).

Against the focus on language form, the communicative approach gave importance to meaning and language use over form. The “deep end strategy” pattern supports the tendency towards language use as the starting point for language learning(22). The risks that learners take through engaging in communicative activities at the first stage may rely on using appropriate resources, and the learners are “thrown in at the deep end”(22). Teachers are awarded a diagnostic opportunity to identify the weak aspects in their learners’ production and treat them through immediate remedy. The importance of starting with the production stage sums up in the teacher’s difficulties in diagnosing the gaps in the learners’ knowledge before they expose it. Hence, prediction of the language that learners “may have wanted to use” is believed to help teachers at the planning stage(22). In a more recent understanding of the pattern, the deep end strategy builds on Anderson’ declarative vs. Procedural model for language teaching, with the production stage standing for declarative knowledge and the last two stages of presentation and practice presenting procedural knowledge(23).

Along the weak version of the communicative approach, task-based teaching has emerged. A task-based pattern consists of the phases of a lesson in which the task is the basic component(54) and formed out of three basic phases: pre-task, during-task and post-focus(16), (58), (52). Firstly, the pre-task phase is the entrance and a preparatory stage towards the next two phases of the task. The necessity for a motivating task presentation through clearly stating the task objective and learning value is emphasized(11). Secondly, the during-task phase invites the teacher to push his/her learners to perform the task(15). Finally, the post-task phase provides a platform with a variety of options that fall within three main pedagogic goals. The first goal is meant to offer a repeat performance opportunity which research views responsible for production improvement. This repeating performance can be held in the same conditions of the first performance or under different conditions. The second goal stands for urging the learners to reflect on the task. This can be done through asking the learners to write a report about their overall task performance as well as their final decision and achievement (59), or through an evaluation of the task itself (15). The last goal relates to focusing on forms in which the learners are encouraged to focus on forms “with no danger that in so doing they will subvert the ‘taskness’ of the task” (15). This focus on forms can be achieved through the use of specific activities, such as consciousness-raising, production practice, and noticing activities.

The meaning-based approach introduced the scenario-based pattern(10) that is composed of three main stages: rehearsal, performance, and debriefing, besides the pre-class preparation stage in which the teacher prepares the role cards necessary to build the scenario. During the rehearsal stage, the learners are asked to form small groups in order to perform the roles assigned in the scenario. The teacher acts as a guide at this stage to direct the learners towards effective understanding of their roles. Then, during the performance stage, the learners act out their roles and perform the stated scenario while the teacher and their classmates watch and follow them. Later, at the debriefing stage, the teacher guides the class in a discussion of the performed scenario. Accordingly, the three stages impose a specific range of activities to use in the classroom being: small group work, paired performance, and group discussion. Basic in understanding the spread of roles in the classroom is the debriefing strategy that the teacher and learners use to assist in the performance and successful completion of understanding the conflict within the target scenario.(10)

Likewise, the first alternative to the PPP presented under the language awareness approach is Lewis’s(31),(32) Observation, Hypothesize and Experiment (O-H-E) pattern. Lewis(32) builds his conception of this O-H-E alternative on the social nature of language acquisition. At the Observation step, the learners observe the target pattern through being exposed to reading and listening to texts to raise the awareness of learners about specific language forms. The perception of the target forms is very important and decides for the quality of hypotheses construction and experimentation success. Hence, the teacher guides the learners at the observation stage to find out the available regulations and rules in the language input and draw conclusions about it. In the second step of Hypothesizing, the learners construct their own hypothesis about the observed input. Finally, the learners test the validity of their hypothesis in communicative contexts at the Experimentation stage. If the hypothesis faces any limitation at the experimentation stage, the learners review to modify any errors in the pre-knowledge formulated during the observation (33).

The Engage-Study-Activate (E-S-A) proposal(18) consists of three stages which must be present at the time of application, even with a changed order of the stages. Harmer(20) further claims out that the three stages are present in every lesson. The Engagement stage shapes the whole pattern and differentiates it from other patterns. The teacher has to “arouse the students’ interest [and] their emotions”(18). The engagement of the learners actively in the lesson through creating interest via emotional stimulation requires the use of specific materials such as dramatic stories or songs and anecdotes.  The study stage consists of driving the attention of learners to linguistic forms. This phase in the sequence is equivalent to the practice stage of the PPP pattern(19). The teacher draws the focus of learners to the target form through explanations while the learners practice the form in activities. The activate stage is the final stage in which learners use the language to communicate their ideas and feelings freely. Hence, learners use the appropriate language to meet the requirements of the situation(5).

2.2.Receptive Vocabulary Size

Vocabulary knowledge grasps its importance from the relevance of the majority of meanings in language on lexis to be managed(34). The terms receptive and productive often referred to as passive and active respectively(46; 3; 27; 43)are recognized within the boundaries of the four language skills, with receptive knowledge standing for listening and reading, and productive knowledge standing for speaking and writing. The different frameworks established to present vocabulary knowledge are described in the same terms but with reference to different processes, including the receptive/productive terms(21). The distinction between receptive and productive vocabulary knowledge has become a convention in the research literature(39). However, this conventional use was met by rare definitions of the terms, and that the distinction itself builds on testing measures since many vocabulary knowledge tests are labeled following the sharp distinction of the dichotomy, or the intuition of speakers that identify passive vocabulary not used productively though previously met, and productive vocabulary as the sum of well-known used vocabulary(38).

The defining theoretical multiplicity originated from the two interchangeable different ways of putting the terms reception and production (46). Despite the lack of consensus in defining and dividing terms of the receptive-productive dimension among researchers, receptive knowledge is easier for attainment (56)(27), (28), (29), (30). In fact, the disagreement among researchers as to the identification of receptive and productive knowledge nature as well as the continuum and dichotomous division, did not split them around accepting the receptive and productive dimension itself. Moreover, there is a research agreement that this knowledge is subject to influence by various factors and it influences other language learning aspects too. Vocabulary knowledge in its receptive and productive dimension includes both size and depth as major constituents. While vocabulary depth presents the extent of the learner’s knowledge of words, vocabulary size or breadth stands for the number of words that a learner has the least minimum knowledge of meanings for(45). This minimum knowledge is defined within the boundaries of the learners’ ability to recognize the most frequent meaning of the word. Thus, the sum of words and meanings together that a learner knows constitutes his/her vocabulary size.

2.3.Previous Studies

Researching the area of activity sequencing is not a long tradition in the history of ELT. As stated earlier, the interest in sequencing and patterns of activity sequencing emerged within CLT. However, the suggested patterns of activity sequencing were tested in isolation from the other patterns. Every proposed pattern needed to be justified and defined in terms of structure and use. Actually, the practice of integrating various methods of language teaching referred to as eclecticism is not new in the context of ELT. Moreover, the explicit and implicit vocabulary teaching have become a tradition in vocabulary instruction. However, the integration of methodologies for teaching specific areas of language, specifically vocabulary in the current study, is not a common practice. To the researcher’s knowledge, the integration of various patterns of activity sequencing as employed in this research, has not been practiced in previous studies and constitutes a shift in approaching vocabulary teaching under explicit vocabulary teaching. The area of activity sequencing has been researched from a different perspective(3, 4, 5, and 6) to present a new model of activity sequencing following the psycholinguistic model of declarative and procedural knowledge (1).

Concerning RVS, several studies (27; 28; 38) proved that a large size of receptive vocabulary affects second language (L2) learning. Likewise, other studies (4; 58) examined the vocabulary size of L2 university students. Another research (37) concluded that different learning styles and strengths have an impact on the foreign language vocabulary learnt in the classroom. Actually, the growth of RVS has been associated with many factors, including first language (L1) and other languages, the role of memory, the organization of the mental lexicon, linguistic input, individual learner differences, and the role of the teacher and vocabulary teaching strategies(46). Under this latter factor, and in the context of this study, RVS is subject to testing under the effect of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing under explicit vocabulary teaching. To our knowledge, no similar research was conducted so far.

3. Research Foundation

This research is classified within the area of materials development in the aim of developing RVS. Emphatically, specific patterns of activity sequencing are integrated to construct a particular teaching methodology subject to investigation through quasi-experimentation.


3.1.Statement of the Problem

The motivation underlying the current study is the small RVS among third year students. With this in mind, EFL undergraduate students at Mohamed Lamine Dabaghine University Sétif 2 (Algeria) undertake an oral expression (OE) course as part of their curriculum for three years, in which they learn English vocabulary and its contextual use. The students have a small RVS (see table 3 for further details) which may emerge from various factors. Particularly, it may be attributed to the use of the PPP pattern in teaching vocabulary. 

3.2.          Aims of the Study

The main purpose of the present research is to report the efficiency of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing in promoting RVS. This efficiency will be tested through the growth or otherwise not of RVS of the study participants. The further aims at providing insights for future research perspectives on vocabulary teaching.

3.3.          Research Questions

Based on the research aims, the current study seeks to answer the following questions:

1.                       How do EFL learners perceive vocabulary learning?

2.                       To what extent does the integration of various patterns of activity sequencing develop RVS?

3.4.          Assumptions and Hypotheses

The present research is located within the scope of materials development, mainly the patterns of activity sequencing. It is assumed that main course organization and teaching methodology have an essential role in the foreign language classroom. It is also assumed that teachers can foster the students’ language proficiency and/or specific language areas through the variety of teaching procedures. Henceforth, patterns of activity sequencing direct the classroom into specific trends of action and arrangement. Following the framework of the current research which is materials development, the current study hypothesizes: the more teachers integrate various patterns of activity sequencing, the larger the RVS of the students grows.



4.               Methodology and Research Design

In research contexts where the condition of randomization is impeded by means of institutional conditions and administrative restrictions (2), the solution is the use of quasi-experiments. Specifically, the control group of the research is used in the quasi-experiment without randomization. In the context of this study, randomization was not possible because of pre-existing classes designed administratively. In consequence, the major difficulty behind the absence of randomization appears at the level of controlling both individual variables such as motivation, intelligence, and learning strategies, and extraneous variables such as the language input presented outside the training, the learners overwhelming study program, and tiredness. The administrative division of third year students into eleven classes, the number of third year students (390 students), and the overloaded third year study program are factors that may affect external validity. Likewise, the extraneous variables mentioned above may influence internal validity. As a result, the statistical intervention is required to neutralize the possible effect of the extraneous variables. Thus, this research uses a quasi-experimental design to collect data about two groups taught using different methodologies. The research used the PPP pattern to teach the control group (CG), and an integrated set of patterns to teach the experimental group (EG). The effectiveness of the integration methodology in promoting or otherwise not the participants’ RVS is tested by means of the use of the VLT at pre- and post-intervention moments. The quasi-experiment lasted for a whole semester (the second semester) offering four hours and a half of training weekly.

4.1.          Participants

The population of this study was third year EFL students both males and females aged between 20-22 years. The participants in the quasi-experiments were two undergraduate third year students groups at the English Language and Literature Department at Sétif 2 University, Algeria. The students were selected among the whole population of 380 students. The final sample included 30 students who were all native speakers of Arabic, with an age range of 20-22 years old. The CG included 17 participants which is a whole sub-group of oral expression subject, and the EG included 13 volunteering students from all third year population. Besides, the CG included 14 female and 3 male students while the EG comprised 11 females and 2 male students. Using the Vocabulary Levels Test (VLT), the RVS of the student participants from both groups was assessed before the beginning of the experiment to ensure that the groups are homogeneous at the level of their RVS and avoid any bias in the results of the quasi-experiment (the results are shown in table 3, see Results and Discussions section below).

4.2.          Research Instruments

This study used two main instruments to collect the research data. The questionnaire gathered data about the participants in terms of their background information as well as their perceptions towards vocabulary and vocabulary learning. The test provided data about the RVS of the participants following the research quasi-experimentation stages.

4.2.1.      The Vocabulary Learning and Activities Perceptions Questionnaire

The Vocabulary Learning and Activities Perceptions Questionnaire (VLAPQ) was designed and used to gather the perceptions of student participants about their background information, perceptions of vocabulary learning and vocabulary learning activities. It included two sections following a five item Likert scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Uncertain, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree). The first section included 20 questions dealing with the perceptions of students towards vocabulary and vocabulary learning, and the second section of 10 questions examined their perceptions towards vocabulary learning activities. (See appendix 1)

4.2.2.      The Vocabulary Levels Test (receptive version) Version 2

The research used the VLT to examine the RVS of the participants from both control and experimental groups at different moments: pre-test (beginning of the experiment) and post test (end of the experiment). Designed in 1983, the VLT is a context-independent, selective, discrete test that measures the learners’ RVS. It is one of the most widely used tests in the vocabulary research area and a major research tool to measure RVK. Its main purpose is to assess the vocabulary size of learners of English as a second and/or foreign language. The VLT was the “nearest thing we have to a standard test in vocabulary”(36). The same view was explicitly admitting that the test has nearly become standard for testing RVS (47),(51). The revised version of the VLT, used for this research, have some further developments, including ten clusters per level against six clusters in the original test, each containing six words and three definitions to be matched, resulting in 150-item test against the 90-item original test.

4.2.3.      Syllabus of Integrated Patterns

In order to meet the research requirements in terms of the effect of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing on the receptive vocabulary size, the researcher designed a syllabus including lessons with various patterns of activity sequencing (mainly the PPP, the deep-end strategy, the task-based, the ESA, The O-H-E, and the Strategic Interaction patterns). These methodologies were used with the EG to examine their impact on their RVS. The stages of each pattern were the main focus of the quasi-experimentation through building classroom work and organization using their principles.

4.3.          Data Collection Procedures

In order to collect data for this study, the researcher piloted the questionnaire to test its reliability. Similarly, the VLT was tested for reliability. Further details about the procedures for collecting data by means of the VLAPQ and VLT are provided below.

4.3.1.      The Questionnaire Data

To overcome any ambiguities or difficulties in understanding and responding to the statements and questions of both the VLAPQ, a piloting phase was conducted. The questionnaire was piloted out of class time with a sample of 39 non-involved students in the study participants. The sample responded to the questionnaire statements after the researcher explained the purpose of the research. There were no difficulties encountered while reading through the statements to answer the questionnaire. The alpha coefficient for the reliability of the VLAPQ across all the students during the pilot study was .78 (Cronbach alpha= .78). This alpha coefficient result reports a high reliability in excess of .70 (12). This high reliability result permitted the researcher to administer the VLAPQ to the students’ participants before the beginning of the experimental study out of their class time to make them reflect on their perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning. Overall, the students reported a high interest and carefully thought over the statements to respond.

4.3.2.      The Vocabulary Levels Test Data

The VLT was administered at the pre and post-experiment phases to account for differences in the RVS of the students’ participants from both CG and EG. The students were required to complete the test within 60 minutes time. Significantly, the participants revealed a high interest in accomplishing the test answering task. The VLT was piloted with a group of 97 students who were not included in the study sample to verify its reliability.

4.4.          Data Analysis procedures

The data gathered by means of the VLAPQ and the VLT were analyzed using the SPSS 22.0 software (2014). First, the software analyzed the obtained questionnaire data to verify its reliability. The alpha coefficient for the reliability of the VLAPQ across all the students was .73 (Cronbach alpha= .73). This alpha coefficient result reports a high reliability in excess of .70(12). Second, the software calculated the means (M), standard deviations (SD) and t-test results for the questionnaire data. Third, the VLT was analysed for reliability. The test reliability was .94 which is a high reliability level in excess of .90 (50). Next, the test data were treated to calculate the Mann-Whitney U-test and Z values due to the small sample size. The principle of RVS calculation confirms that “A weak score at any level is defined as knowing fewer than 15 out of 18 items, or less than 83%”, according to Nation’s experience using the test”(40). Hence, the scores of both groups were analyzed into mean ranks since the sample distribution is ordinal. The data obtained from the VLT were analyzed to compare differences between the participants at the beginning and end of the quasi-experiment.

5.               Results and Discussions

In order to examine the participants’ perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning, the researcher analyzed the questionnaire data quantitatively using t-tests. Henceforth, the first section of the questionnaire reported on the perceptions of participants towards vocabulary in general and vocabulary learning in particular. The results are stated in table 1 below:


Table 1: Vocabulary and Vocabulary Learning Perceptions






Sig (2 tailed

Vocabulary and

Vocabulary Learning






*Decision taken about the significance of the results at the degree of freedom (25) and significance level 0.05

(Table relevant to the research)


As one can draw from table 1 above, the mean obtained for the participants’ perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning is (43.34) with a standard deviation of (4.36), which was bigger than the test value (test value=36). This implies that the participants perceive vocabulary learning positively as an important factor for language learning. These results were confirmed through the t-test value (8.58) which is highly significant at .000 levels.

This positive high perception of vocabulary and its learning among the participants copes with the findings of many researches on vocabulary and vocabulary learning. It is well established in second/foreign language research that vocabulary is a corner stone in mastering L2(1); (8);(39). From the point of view of learners, they see vocabulary as a very, if not the most, important aspect in language learning(42). This learners’ belief results from the difficulties they face at receptive and productive levels because of lacking the requisite vocabulary knowledge since “learners carry around dictionaries and not grammar books”(51: 4). This implies that learners are intrinsically aware of the importance of vocabulary. Likewise, “vocabulary is central to language and of critical importance to the typical language learner”(60: 5)because without vocabulary, the main purpose of learning a language may not be achieved. Therefore, vocabulary is central to effective learning and is at the core of communication. Overall, vocabulary knowledge helps the learners in many directions and is one main key of success in the language classroom.

                After having examined the participants’ perceptions of vocabulary and vocabulary learning, the research collected the perceptions of participants towards vocabulary learning activities. Upon analysis of the obtained data, the participants reported to have a high positive perception of vocabulary learning activities, as shown in table 2 below:


 Table 2: Vocabulary Learning Activities Perceptions






Sig (2 tailed

Vocabulary Activities Perceptions 







*Decision taken about the significance of the results at the degree of freedom (25) and significance level 0.05

(Table relevant to the research)


Table 2 above indicates that the mean result for the participants’ perceptions of vocabulary learning activities is (24.07) with a standard deviation of (5.97). Hence, vocabulary learning activities and the variety of these activities in supporting language learning are perceived highly and are considered important for successful learning. The t-test result obtained (3.58) is highly significant at .001 and further confirms the importance of vocabulary learning activities as perceived by the study participants. In this respect, several researchers (40);(48) insisted on the requisite need to practice and review previously learnt vocabulary to resist forgetting. This forgetting resistance emerges from exposing learners to input in different modes via various activities. Moreover, many scholars (40),(48 ) and (54) have suggested vocabulary activities such as vocabulary games, semantic activities, and collocation activities that directly assist in vocabulary learning. These activities and their role in enhancing vocabulary knowledge were found to be highly important among the study participants.

                      In order to answer the second research question, the VLT provided data about the quasi-experiment groups’ vocabulary level at its two stages. Before the beginning of the quasi-experiment, the results obtained (see table 3 below) revealed the overall RVS of the study participants. It further stated that there are no differences at each word level and overall the vocabulary levels among the groups of the quasi-experiment at the pre-test phase.


             Table 3: The Receptive Vocabulary Level of the Participants before the Quasi-experiment


2000 word

3000 word

5000 word

10000 word

Overall level

Mean Ranks

Experimental Group






Control Group







Mann-Whitney U






Wilcoxon W












Exact Sig. [2*(1-tailed Sig.)]







(Table relevant to the research)

The pre-test results showed no significant differences between the two groups (U= 72.500, z=.61, p=.54) confirming that both groups have the same vocabulary level before the quasi-experiment started. In consequence, the resulting differences at the post-test level cannot be explained by means of differences in the level of both groups.                                                        

At the 2000 word level, the mean ranks obtained of the EG was (M=13.08) which was very close to the mean obtained for the CG (M=13.92). These mean results suggested that there were no differences between the CG and EG at the 2000 word level. The result was confirmed by means of the Mann-Whitney U test (U=79.000) with a value estimated to be (Z=.285, p=.801) which is not significant at the .05 significance level. Hence, there were no differences between the groups at the 2000 word level at the pre quasi-experiment stage.

At the 3000 word level, the mean results of both groups were very close (M= 13.69 and M= 13.31) implying that no differences exist between the participants at the 3000 word level. The Mann-Whitney U test result (U= 82.000Z= .129, p= .92) confirmed the absence of difference since the significance result obtained was beyond 0.05 significance level.

Similarly, at the 5000 word level, the results revealed no differences at this level between the research groups, with close mean results (M=13.62 and M=13.38) for the EG and CG respectively. The U- test (U=83.000 Z=.078, p=.096) ensured the absence of any differences at the 5000 word level.

At the 10,000 word level, the mean ranks obtained for the EG (M=12.50) and CG (M=14.50) was very close. To confirm the significance of this proximity, the Mann-Whitney U-test (U= 71.500, Z=-.669-, p=.51) confirms that there were no differences between both groups at the 10,000 word level. The significance value of the U-test was beyond the .05 level of significance (p=.51) which set the participants at homogeneous grounds at the 10,000 word level before the beginning of the quasi-experiment.

Overall the levels, the pre-test results showed no significant differences between the two groups (U= 72.500, z=.61, p=.54) confirming that both CG and EG had the same RVS before the quasi-experiment started. In consequence, the resulting differences at the post-test level cannot be explained by means of differences in the level of both groups. 

In sum, the results of the pre-test reveal that the participants of the study from groups had the same RVS. Significantly, the results at every vocabulary level and overall the levels further confirmed homogeneity in RVS of the groups before the beginning of the quasi-experiment. Consequently, any changes in the RVS of the participants would assert the efficacy of the teaching methodologies employed.

After the experiment, the VLT was re-administered to both study groups to examine any growth of vocabulary size. The posttest results are shown in table 4 below:

Table.4: The Receptive Vocabulary Level of the Participants after the Quasi-experiment. 


2000 word

3000 word

5000 word

10000 word

Overall level

Mean Ranks

Experimental Group






Control Group







Mann-Whitney U






Wilcoxon W












Exact Sig. [2*(1-tailed Sig.)]







(Table relevant to the research)

As the results stated above in table 4 indicate, the shift in vocabulary level between the two groups of the quasi-experiment appeared at the 5000 word and the 10000 word levels as well as the overall level. Although no significant differences were reported at the 2000 word and 3000 word levels as indicated by the U-test results (U= 148.000, Z=1.454, p=.169, and U= 147.500, Z=1.442, p=.153) respectively, significant differences appeared at the other two levels and overall the levels. The significance of the results appeared at the level of the EG because the data were treated statistically through the distribution of ranks. Therefore, where the mean ranks of the EG were highly beyond those of the CG, the results obtained using the Mann-Whitney U test were significant in favour of the EG.

At the 5000 word level, the EG reported significant growth of RVS in comparison to the CG (Z=2.138, p=.034). Similarly, at the 10000 word level, the EG reported a remarkable growth in their RVS. The U-test result (U= 32.500, Z=2.678, p=.006) confirms the significant growth at the 10000 word level. Since the significance value (p=.006) is below the .05 significance level, the growth in RVS of the EG at both levels confirmed the efficiency of the integration of various patterns of activity sequencing in promoting 5000 and 10000 vocabulary word levels receptively.

Overall the levels, the EG reported a growth in RVS as shown by the U-test results (U=47.500, Z=1.906, p=0.50). The significance level of the test results (p=.05) equals the standard significance level statistically. In consequence, this growth in RVS of the EG participants confirmed the research hypothesis.

All in all, the significant results achieved at the 5000 word and 10000 word levels as well as the overall level of RVS of the EG prompts one to argue that there is a positive relationship between the use of various patterns of activity sequencing and the growth of RVS of the students. Likewise, the results of the CG encourage one to imply that the use of the PPP pattern of activity sequencing did not promote receptive vocabulary size.

6.Summary of Results and Discussions

The present study investigated the effect of using various patterns of activity sequencing on the RVS of third year students in the Oral expression classroom, in comparison to the use of the PPP pattern uniquely. The questionnaire findings report that students perceive vocabulary, vocabulary learning, and vocabulary activities highly positively. This high perception reveals the importance of vocabulary for learners in the overall task of language learning. However, this importance and positive perceptions of vocabulary were not met in practice. The pre-test results stated that the sample of students-participants has the same RVS. This similarity confirms homogeneity of the study groups before the beginning of the quasi-experiment. The quasi-experimentation in this study which builds on the integration of various patterns of activity sequencing caused significant changes in the overall RVS, as well as the 5000 word and 10000 word levels of the EG participants. These results confirmed the hypothesis of the study in terms of the efficiency of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing in developing the RVS of EFL learners.

 Following the last factor which focuses on the effect of teaching on vocabulary learning, this study makes use of an integration of various patterns of activity sequencing by means of varying teaching methodologies under explicit vocabulary teaching. Although the content presented to both groups of the experiment was similar, the difference in teaching methodology- which is the principle followed in the context of this study, affected the growth of RVS among the participants. Several researchers (9); (40); (54); (56) opted for a direct, systematic, multifaceted instruction with room for multiple exposures, in order to promote word knowledge as well as its different aspects. In the same way, other scholars (42); (49); (48) have all insisted on the efficiency of explicit vocabulary teaching against implicit vocabulary teaching (39); (54). As the focus of the current study was on explicit vocabulary teaching through the use of different patterns of activity sequencing, the findings of this research support explicit vocabulary teaching through integrating various teaching methodologies as employed in the context of this study.

7.Conclusions and Recommendations

In the light of the findings of this research, the importance of selecting appropriate vocabulary teaching methods is highlighted. The use of explicit vocabulary teaching has been proved to be effective in many studies and along the context of this study. This research further confirmed the efficiency of explicit vocabulary teaching through quasi-experimentation using an integration of various patterns of activity sequencing as used in the context of this study. In view of the results achieved at the level of the EG in terms of the significant growth in their RVS, teaching by means of integrating various patterns of activity sequencing explicitly proved to be an effective method. The study has also concluded that the use of the stages of the PPP pattern with the CG is not effective in teaching vocabulary.

The study recommends the explicit integration of different patterns of activity sequencing as used in the context of this study (mainly the PPP pattern, the deep-end strategy pattern, the task-based pattern, the ESA pattern, The O-H-E pattern, and the Strategic Interaction pattern) to promote RVS. The findings of this study raise further researchable questions about the effect of using specific sequencing of lesson stages- as in the context of this study, on other aspects of vocabulary learning such as productive vocabulary knowledge. Similar research may be conducted with different students at different settings, and through the integration of the same patterns used in this study or through the use of other patterns. The absence of randomization of the samples in this study was a limitation that needs to be considered in similar researches. Moreover, a large sample of participants would provide detailed results on the efficiency of the integration of activity sequencing patterns- as used in this research, in promoting RVS. Receiving vocabulary through listening was a main problem for the participants that require future research for further investigation.

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Pour citer ce document

Ahlam Bouirane, «The Role of Integrating Various Patterns of Activity Sequencing in Promoting the Receptive Vocabulary Size of EFL Learners»

[En ligne] مجلة العلوم الاجتماعيةRevue des Sciences Sociales العدد 21 ديسمبر 2015N°21 Décembre 2015
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