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Volume 9 Number 3, Autumn 2012, Pages 1-187   

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Teaching Idioms through Pictorial Elucidation

    Zorana Vasiljevic

Cognitive semantic studies have shown that the dual coding of input (both verbal and visual) promotes the formation of memory traces and, the retention of information. These findings have prompted the use of mental imagery in language teaching, where pictorial elucidation has been found to improve comprehension. There are, however, some grounds for caution when it comes to the application of image-based pedagogy. Experimental research that has examined the effects of pictorial elucidation on idiom learning suggests that pictures are likely to facilitate comprehension, but may interfere with the retention of form of multiword units. The present study examined possible ways of integrating images and verbal descriptions so that both the comprehension and the production of idiomatic language are facilitated. The experiment compared the recall of meaning and form of the target idioms when pictures were provided by the teacher and when the learners had to draw their own images after reading verbal explanations. The results of the study will be discussed in light of the dual coding theory and the cognitive styles of the learners.

Keywords: idiom teaching, learning styles, dual-coding theory