Introduction - Specialised vocabulary in secondary school/Middle School

Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research - Averil Coxhead 2018

Specialised vocabulary in secondary school/Middle School

This chapter begins with a discussion of the context of learning specialised vocabulary in secondary/Middle School and the importance of carrying out vocabulary research in this area. It then focuses on vocabulary in four core areas of secondary school studies: English Literature, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. The effect of specialisation at school on vocabulary development and the vocabulary load of secondary school texts and teacher talk follow. To highlight differences in contexts and approaches in research, I draw on findings and examples from three research projects in English on vocabulary in context in school corpora in New Zealand, vocabulary in Middle School texts in the United States (Greene & Coxhead, 2015), and teacher talk research from an international school in Germany. The chapter also addresses researching teachers and the teaching of specialised vocabulary, based on interviews, case studies and classroom observations in second and foreign language contexts. The chapter concludes with some challenges for research into vocabulary in schools in countries where English is a foreign language.