Year of Publication

2011

Season of Publication

Fall

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Marcia L. Lamkin

Second Advisor

Dr. Wanda Hedrick

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Wilburn

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sharon Wilburn

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel

Abstract

Teaching vocabulary to middle school students requires that educators find the most effective means of instruction to achieve this goal. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of using an interactive word wall as the tool to combine five effective, research-based teaching strategies with social interaction to teach vocabulary to middle school students. In this study, 124 middle school students participated. The control group consisted of 67 eighth grade English students, and the intervention group was comprised of 57 seventh grade English students. The intervention was for a period of four weeks and included specific activities that embraced effective teaching strategies plus social interaction. Throughout the intervention, an interactive word wall was used as the tool that combined the teaching strategies and social interaction. The assessments included a pre-assessment, four weekly assessments, and a four-week delayed assessment. The words for the pre-assessment and the four weekly assessments were taken from each group’s newly assigned words for their respective grade level. The words for the delayed assessment were randomly selected from the lists of words that each group used during the intervention phase of the study. Each assessment used the same format and contained a definition and sentence portion. A discriminant analysis was conducted on the data from the study. Overall, the definition portion of the assessments offered a greater weight to the discriminant function than did the sentence portion. Also, the mean scores between the two groups began to narrow as the intervention continued. On the delayed assessment, the intervention group performed almost as well as the control group, which was an unexpected result. Given the improved overall scores on the weekly assessments, and given the narrowed gap in the means on the delayed assessment, indications are that the word wall intervention yielded success in teaching vocabulary to middle school students.

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