English is one of the international languages. English has become dominate language in the world. Many people have used English for international communication and it is used as a key of knowledge, science and technology. English language is the first foreign language we teach to children at very early stages of schooling. Teaching foreign languages, especially English, to children at the kindergarten age is an issue that is great concern to Vietnamese parents. The kindergarten aim of teaching English in the early years of schooling is to motivate young learners to be ready and have self-confident in learning English at higher levels of education.
In learning English, vocabulary plays an important role. It is one of the elements that links the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing together. Harmer (1991) says: “If language structures make up the skeleton of language, then it is vocabulary that provides the vital organs and the flesh”. According to Linse (2006), language ability of students will be improved orally by vocabulary improvement. Therefore, vocabulary is the most important thing that should be aware of. One of the problems that usually occurs when the children learn English vocabulary is they seem to forget vocabulary easily and find it boring to learn vocabulary because the teachers only use the teaching technique which may be lack instructional aid of learning.
Teaching English to children is different from teaching adults and it is not an easy job due to the fact that they have different characteristics and motivation as well. In teaching vocabulary to kindergarten students, teachers have to be more creative and able to keep the students away from getting bored. The teacher should use an appropriate instructional media to attract students to engage in the lessons. Media such as animation, VCD, tape recorder, overhead projector, radio, television, computer, Interactive White Board and, etc. are such suitable media that could be used to draw kindergarten students’ attention. From the reasons above, this study focuses on choosing animation which are considered as a suitable media. Wood (2001) states that as a tool, the animation makes students more focused on the vocabulary because animation is interactive and addresses almost all senses as well. By using animation students seem to be easier to understand the vocabulary because children like animation. For kindergarten students, the animation is fun. According to Pultrati ; Mina (2015), animation offers a fun and meaningful teaching and learning experience.
In this respect, this study attempts to investigate the effectiveness of using animation in teaching vocabulary to 5 year-old learners in a kindergarten school in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Literature review:
In this section, the study will provide the definition of animation, the advantages of using animation in teaching EFL vocabulary, the impact of using animation on learners’ attitudes and present previous studies related to the use of animation in teaching vocabulary.
2.1 Definition of animation:
The word animation derived from Yunami “anima” which is a soul and live. The word animation also has a mean is to give life to the object by stirring the object in the specific time. According to Oxford Dictionary (1991), animation “is the technique of photographing successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when the film is shown as a sequence.” It means that animation is a film that shows a 2 dimension film. Therefore, it is a group of pictures or objects that can move and make a sound. There are many types of animation which can be used in classes. This study will mention three main types of animation. These types could be used in technology education and graphic communication classes: traditional animation, full animation, computer animation.
a. Traditional animation:
This type of animation refers to animation which is hand-drawn on paper. It was the process used for most of the productions throughout 20th century
b. Full animation:
Full animation refers to the process of producing high quality traditionally animated films that usually used detailed drawings and plausible movements, having a smooth animation. Full animation is combined by one frame out of 24 or two frames out of 24 and is animated at 24 frames per second.
c. Computer animation:
Computer animation means the digital pictures which are created through the use of computers. Bancroft and Keane (2006, p.87) define computer animation is produced by using animation software to create and duplicate individual frames. Computer animation is the most popular and easiest kind that teachers can use in class so this study will conduct the effect of using computer animation in teaching vocabulary to kindergarten students.
The animation that is used in teaching and learning vocabulary should have these characteristics. First, the duration of the animation is short. Second, the easy vocabulary can be used in daily communication. The intonation is calm and fluent. Final, it has moral value.
2.2 The advantages of using animation in education in teaching EFL learners:
Animation can enhance students’ vocabulary improvement through various lessons and topics. Using animation in teaching English has many advantages than using traditional ways. According to Clark (2000), teachers can use animation as a source of authentic language to engage students in the lessons, draw their attention, make a relaxing atmosphere in the class and improve students’ critical thinking and discussion skills. As an authentic input, the animation would give students opportunity to promote language practice. Sarko (2008) claims that by using authentic input in teaching, students would not only improve their oral communication practice but also apply what they learned in the class to acquire cultural information by themselves. In addition to, Nunan (1999) concludes that exposure to authentic language material plays an important role in making the connection between the knowledge in the classroom and the real world, and also reinforcing students’ implication their knowledge from the class into real life situation.