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Volume 8 Number 3, Autumn 2011, Pages 1-270   

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Visual Intelligence and Lexical Enhancement Tasks: Their Impacts on EFL Learners' Receptive and Productive Vocabulary

    Zia Tajeddin and Nazila Chiniforoushan

The advent of multiple intelligences theory has highlighted the need for more correspondence between instructional tasks and L2 learners' multiple intelligences. One application of this theory, albeit still under-researched, is the possible use of visual intelligence to improve L2 learners' lexical acquisition. The objectives of this study were dual: (a) to investigate the relationship between EFL learners' visual intelligence and their vocabulary reception and production, and (b) to determine the relationship between two visually oriented vocabulary presentation tasks (bilingual glosses and bilingual glosses accompanied by pictures) and EFL learners' vocabulary reception and production. To this end, the visual intelligence section of the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS), a multiple intelligences test, and a test measuring receptive and productive vocabulary acquisition were administered to 91 low-proficiency EFL learners. The results revealed that there was no significant correlation between learners' visual intelligence and their vocabulary reception and production. As to vocabulary enhancement tasks, it was found that the two tasks did not differ in enhancing learners' vocabulary production; however, learners favored the bilingual glosses plus pictures for more gains in receptive vocabulary knowledge. These findings imply that, as a teachable construct, learners' visual intelligence should be activated through instructional consciousness-raising procedures in order to help them draw on it to enhance their vocabulary acquisition. They also imply that lexical input enhancement through marginal glosses plus pictures can be more facilitative in improving vocabulary reception than vocabulary production as the former entails less demanding cognitive and memory operations.

Keywords: multiple intelligences, visual intelligence, lexical enhancement, modes of vocabulary presentation