The effects of Spanish and English vocabulary instruction vs. English vocabulary instruction on transferability

The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of teaching English learners vocabulary in English and Spanish versus teaching them vocabulary in English only. Students from both an experimental and control group were matched according to their California English Language Development Test (CELDT) proficiency levels. The experimental group received vocabulary instruction in English and Spanish. The control group received vocabulary instruction in English only. At the end of each seven-day learning cycle both groups of students were administered a three-part vocabulary test. Each test required that students use the vocabulary words in a cloze sentence, match with appropriate definition and write a sentence using the vocabulary word correctly. The results of the tests administered during this study showed that the experimental group outscored the control group on each of the four tests by an average of 33.22%. It also showed that the average number of students who passed each of the tests with a score of 70% or better was 91.66% in the experimental group and 31.24% in the control group. This study has shown that providing English learners with English and Spanish vocabulary instruction is more effective than teaching them vocabulary in English only. KEYWORDS: English learners, transferability, English language development