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Pre-teaching Technical Vocabulary in an Introductory Information Systems Course: An Experiment Involving Non-native Speakers of English

Pre-teaching Technical Vocabulary in an Introductory Information Systems Course: An Experiment Involving Non-native Speakers of English
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Author(s): Hazel Chan (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Copyright: 2000
Pages: 5
Source title: Challenges of Information Technology Management in the 21st Century
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-84-1.ch008

Abstract

Learning a programming application can be considered similar to learning another language. Students have to learn the terminology, their functions (ie. grammar) and the skill of writing short programs (ie. composition). This is especially difficult for students who are non-native speakers of English (NNS) as they cope with both the English language and a programming language. The purpose of this study is to determine if the pre-teaching of technical vocabulary in an introductory information systems course enhances the learning outcomes for these NNS students. This study considers some of the theories on pre-teaching and language learning, particularly, grammar and vocabulary acquisition. The experiment compares two groups of students - the control group works independently and the treatment group attends hands-on classes that introduce them to the Visual Basic programming language and its terminologies. The aim of this experiment is to establish if there is a difference in the performance between these groups. The results indicate that the treatment group is consistent in averaging higher scores demonstrating an overall enhanced learning outcome. The paper challenges educators of introductory IS classes to consider strategies for technical vocabulary acquisition within the curriculum.

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