Many students from the Middle-Eastern, African and Asian countries have been migrating on a temporary basis to India in order to master the English language. In the recent years, India has been the hub for higher education, tourism and work. Big cities have seen foreign students enrolling in schools to learn English for academic purposes. As there is an increasing demand in learning English language, it is significant for ESL teachers to understand various strategies successfully implemented by learners.
Related work by psychologist Howard Gardner (1983,1993, 1999, 2006) on multiple intelligences has been influential in language teaching circles. Teachers who recognize the multiple intelligences of their students acknowledge that students bring with them specific and unique strengths, which often not taken into account in classroom situations. Learning a language can be a challenging task for a new learner. Learners’ come across many grammatical structures and with the right approach to learning vocabulary can assist in learning the language effectively. Studying vocabulary is important for a foreign language. Vocabulary has been placed at the core of learning a new language in recent years backed by substantial research. Many research papers were published with title the “good language learners’ studies” (Cohen & Weaver 1998) and (Carter and McCarthy 1988: Coady and Huckin 1997; Schmitt and Meara 1997). As Singleton (1999) aptly put it – “the major challenge of learning and using a language whether L1 or L2, lies not in the area of broad syntactic principles but in the ‘nitty-gritty’ of the lexicon.
“In teaching ESL students, it is essential to understand how students have learnt their first language. Strategies they have been using since school days that worked well with them or the ones that did not work well. In order to examine these issues, I have conducted interviews with Middle-Eastern Adults ESL learners studying in India about their Vocabulary Learning Strategies.