"Everyone Needs to Expand Their Vocabulary”. A Quantitative Study of Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices Regarding the Teaching of Vocabulary
Vocabulary is the most important part of any language in communicating content. In ESL/EFL teaching, the focus for long has been on incidental learning of vocabulary, e.g. vocabulary through reading and guessing meaning from context. The pendulum has swung and today the research field has concluded that there are more efficient ways of teaching vocabulary which also include intentional teaching like language/form-focused teaching (Nation, 2003; Schmitt 2008). This study aims to investigate the beliefs and practices of vocabulary teaching and learning of EFL teachers in Sweden. Furthermore, it aimed to investigate if these beliefs and practices were coherent with what the research today suggests as being the most effective, especially concerning the role of morphological awareness for vocabulary expansion. By using a questionnaire, a large respondent group of 71 EFL teachers in Sweden reported on their perception of vocabulary teaching. The result showed that EFL teachers in Sweden to some degree still rely on incidental and meaning-based vocabulary teaching. More importantly, this study illustrates an internal discrepancy within the EFL teachers of Sweden regarding beliefs and practices of vocabulary teaching, as well as pedagogical implications such as the need for teachers to have time and resources so to update themselves on the current findings of the research field. The results of this study have the potential of providing a foundation of data on which further and more qualitative studies could be based on.