Year 2019, Volume 8 , Issue 1, Pages 2 - 21 2019-03-31

The effects of using games and visual aids in learning foreign language vocabulary

Ufuk ATAS [1]

This study aims to find out and compare the effectiveness of two ways of teaching vocabulary to learners of English as a foreign language; through visual aids and using games, and through traditional methods; that is, giving dictionary definitions and studying through worksheets. In order to reach the aim, two groups were formed; one control group who were taught the target vocabulary via traditional activities such as giving definitions, translations and studying worksheets, and one experimental group in which flashcards and games were used to teach the target vocabulary. The participants of this study include 40 students in A1 level from a private high-school in Turkey. The level of proficiency was determined by the Oxford Online Placement Test. One vocabulary-in-isolation test was given to the students both before and after the study as a pre-test and a post-test. The results indicated that the experimental group scored higher eventually. The results of this study provide useful insights for practicing English language teachers about effective ways of teaching vocabulary. 

vocabulary retention, teaching vocabulary, games and visual aids
  • Alqahtani, M. (2015). The importance of vocabulary in language learning and how to be taught. International Journal of Teaching and Education, 3(3), 21-34.
  • Allen, V. F. (1983). Techniques in vocabulary teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bakhsh, S. A. (2016). Using games as a tool in teaching vocabulary to young learners. English Language Teaching, 9(7), 120-128.
  • Ellis, G. & Sinclair, B. (1989). Learning to learn English: a course in learner training. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Carter, R. & McCarthy, M. (2013). Vocabulary and language teaching. New York: Routledge.
  • Cook, V. (2016). Second language learning and language teaching (5th ed.). New York and London: Routledge.
  • Ellis, R. & Redman, S. (1990). A way with words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Huyen, N. T. T. & Nga, K. T. T. (2003). Learning vocabulary through games. Asian EFL Journal, 5(4). Retrieved from
  • Lee, W. R. (1979). Language teaching games and contests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nation, P. (2005). Teaching Vocabulary. Asian EFL Journal, 7(3). Retrieved from
  • Peitz & Vena (1996). Vocabulary teaching strategies: effects on vocabulary recognition and comprehension at the first-grade level. Unpublished MA thesis, Kean College of New Jersey, USA.
  • Read, J. (1997). Vocabulary and testing. In Schmitt, N. & McCarthy, M. (Eds.), Vocabulary: description, acquisition and pedagogy (pp.303-320). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schmitt, N. (2000). Vocabulary in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Şenol, M. (2007). Teaching vocabulary to secondary school students through games. Unpublished MA Thesis. Selçuk University: Konya.
  • Takač, V. P. (2008). Vocabulary learning strategies and foreign language acquisition. Celevedon: Multilingual Matters.
  • Watcyn-Jones, P. (1993). Vocabulary games and activities for teachers. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
  • Weir, C. J. (2005). Language testing and validation: an evidence-based approach. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Yip, F. W. M. & Kwan, A. C. M. (2006). Online vocabulary games as a tool for teaching and learning English vocabulary. Educational Media International, 43(3), 223-249.
  • Yuliani, S. (2017). Teaching English vocabulary by using guessing game to the fifth-grade students 117 Palembang. English Community Journal, 1(2), 123-129.
Primary Language en
Journal Section Articles

Orcid: 0000-0002-8171-8334
Author: Ufuk ATAS (Primary Author)
Country: Turkey


Application Date : October 30, 2018
Acceptance Date : December 27, 2018
Publication Date : March 31, 2019

APA Atas, U . (2019). The effects of using games and visual aids in learning foreign language vocabulary . ELT Research Journal , 8 (1) , 2-21 . Retrieved from