Use it or Lose it: Vocabulary Growth in the EFL Writing Classroom

Salma Al-Humaidi, Mohammed Al-Hadlaq


Do students avoid using the words they are unsure of spelling correctly in their writing? Does the use and/or avoidance of newly learned words in writing affect later recall of those words? In this paper, the authors propose that learners' vocabulary growth is hampered by teachers' emphasis on correct spelling and that tolerance of spelling errors is needed to create a positive learning environment in the writing classroom where students can freely and productively use all of their linguistic resources with no fear of being punished. This proposal is based on the assumption that learners are likely to hide their inability to spell words correctly when composing a text, causing these words to remain in their passive vocabulary which in turn would lead to the possibility of them being lost. 

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