TEACHING OF ENGLISH VOCABULARY AMONG SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS THROUGH OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Background to the Study
Education is defined as the process to change one’s attitude in an intended direction through one’s own experience or one’s life (Eick, 2011). The key word here is ‘one’s own experience’ or ‘one’s life which implies that educational settings should not be limited only to desks, classrooms, and schools; it has to include real-life environments. In the same lines, outdoor education is defined as a method of experimental learning through all senses via exposure to natural environment.
Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, ways of life and habits. Educationalmethodsinclude storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, however learners may also educate themselves.(Dewey,2014) Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.
According to Mahmud (2012) education are efforts that are deliberately chosen to influence and assist students with the aim of improving knowledge, physical and morals that can gradually deliver the child to the highest goal. In order for the child to live a happy, and all what can be beneficial to himself and society. Today, it is established that it is not possible to educate the students of age 6 to 12 very efficiently having them sit in the class the entire day(Langeveld, 2011). Besides, education cannot be thought independent of the environment as stated by Sobel (2017), who claimed that students have to be provided with chances to interact with the environment during the educational process since young ages. Students have the chance through outdoor education to learn through their senses in a relaxed environment. Nature, plants, animals, etc. motivate students to wonder and explore. On the other hand, teachers get to know their students and observe them better in an environment, where the students feel more free and relaxed away from tension acting natural. Maria Montessori (2015) supports this idea stating that the goal of contemporary education is to explore and then to liberate the child. Finally Smith suggested that the outdoor education provides the best learning environment. In this regard, many countries in the world have established centers and institutions for outdoor education.
The emphasis on vocabulary teaching is no longer on cramming of dictionary definitions of big words but on understanding of words and expressions in the contexts in which they are used appropriately (Obanya 2012). This shows that readers could get the meaning of words in a text by reading through the sentences to get the clues. One of the principal obstacles to understanding meaning of a sentence in a text occurs when readers do not know the meaning of a particular word. Iwai (2010) observes that certain words in English language can have more than one meaning which can be confusing to readers. The only option is for readers to search for contextual clues to determine the meaning of the unfamiliar words (Asudo, Marsh, Oni 2003 and Cubukcu 2008). During the process of extensive reading, the reader may encounter a variety of new words, some of which may be more difficult than others. However, Rubenstein and Thomson (2002) find out that most learners of English language have difficulties in getting meaning of words in a text because they do not consider the meaning of the words from the context in which the words are used. All the authors above supported the use of context clues to get the meaning of words encountered through reading. Abubakar (2008), Herrell and Jordan (2008), Kamal (2010) and Biemiller (2012) note that one of the strategies for unlocking the meaning of words in a text is to search the context of the senses in which these new words appear for clues. This could be useful in supporting readers in identifying unknown words in a text. These clues may include definitions, contrast, examples, inference or restatements (Stemberg, 2007 and Williams, 2004)
In English language, no two words are exactly identical in meaning and usage (Nwalibe 2009). This suggests that words can have different meanings in different contexts. Similarly, Okole (2002) observes that most of the words known as synonyms either have the same meaning in some contexts but not in others or convey slightly different shades of meaning. This is in line with the assertion that that students cannot determine the meaning of words in terms of synonym and antonym in isolation, but from the context of the sentences used in a text ( Graves, 2004)
Linguists such as Kinsella, Stump and Feldman (2002) observe that many students lack basic knowledge of word origins or etymology, such as Latin and Greek roots, as well as discrete understanding of how a prefix or suffix can alter the meaning of a word. Though the present study is not on the study of etymology of Latin and Greek words origins but the knowledge of the prefixes and the suffixes will help in understanding word registers in the areas of sports, education and politics. Moreover, Asiyanbola (2003), Edet (2007) and Adedokun (2009) note that any time a word changes its part of speech, it is also a common strategy of producing new words in English language, that is adding suffixes to words to change the word class. Thus, word parts then include root words, prefixes and suffixes.
Similarly, Anglin (2013) asserts that students abilities to use word parts,prefixes, suffixes and roots to interpret new words can contribute greatly to their vocabulary growth. This implies that the knowledge of prefixes, suffixes and root words will be useful in the present study to interpret word, registers of; sports education and politics that appear in such form. In addition to that, Otagbruaga (2016), Whitebread and Ajayi (2004) observe that it may be possible to determine the meaning of a word in a text by examining the suffix closely when the meaning of the root word to which it is attached is familiar. When students encounter unknown words in a text such as interdependent, readable and substandard, they can break them into prefixes, suffixes, and familiar English roots to get their meanings. This involves constant reading of books.
Statement of the Problem
Learning outdoors can mean different things to different individuals. Schools around the country have begun adding outdoor learning to their curriculum to potentially improve students’ education (Lieberman & Hoody, 2008). Teachers are not only focusing on what is available in the classroom, but also looking at nearby surroundings that could benefit their students, both academically and behaviorally. Teachers have long dealt with undesirable behaviors within the classroom. Little information is available on whether bringing students outdoors for learning changes behaviors when back inside the classroom. Therefore, the purpose of this action research study will explore whether bringing students outdoors for learning creates favorable behaviors that are conducive for learning when brought back into the classroom setting.
The factors that influence outdoor educational activities on teaching and learning vocabulary is varied such as lack of space, fear of litigation, distraction, misused of teaching and learning resources. Teachers can also be limited by conventional assumptions about education about their need to “master” the subject area, to have all the answers prepared in advance, and to address first and foremost the “minds” of their students.
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