There is ample evidence that language learning strategies improve learners’ outcomes. This is also the case in vocabulary learning. However, little attention has been given to students’ language learning strategy knowledge. This experimental study assessed the extent to which keyword method (KWM) explicit instruction resulted in students’ explicit strategy and meta-strategy knowledge. Two groups of 11–12 years old students also learned how to use KWM, a mnemonic vocabulary learning strategy, for encoding new Spanish–English word-pairs. One of these two groups, the experimental group, learned also how to use KWM at the time of bi-directional retrieval: forward or receptive recall, and backward or productive recall. An open-ended response Keyword Method Knowledge Questionnaire was used to evaluate if students learned key elements of the KWM and how to use them. The findings show that students gain detailed strategy and meta-strategy knowledge from KWM instruction. Pedagogical and research implications are discussed. This study provides the first investigation to date into what students know about KWM after being instructed on how it works and how to use it during encoding and bi-directional retrieval in FL vocabulary learning.
- encoding and retrieval
- explicit strategy instruction
- FL vocabulary
- strategy and meta-strategy knowledge
- the keyword method
- Vocabulary learning strategy