Acknowledgments I would like to take this precious opportunity to express my gratitude to those who have directly or indirectly supported and encouraged me during the completion of this thesis, as well as those who have helped me during my two years’ study as a graduate student. First and foremost, my deepest and most sincere gratitude goes to my supervisor, whose enthusiasm and insightfulness have inspired me to be immersed in my study. He has helped me immeasurably in narrowing down the subject of my study, preparing and composing my thesis, as well as reading and revising my draft again and again. I can always turn to him for help when I encounter difficulty and confusion. Without his patient instruction, enlightening suggestions and constant encouragement, the completion of this thesis would never have been possible. I am grateful to Ms. Yang, who made it possible for me to carry out my action research in Yixing Experimental Middle School. Ms. Yang’s trust and continuous encouragement gave me confidence to overcome difficulties and make improvement during my teaching practice. Meanwhile, I would thank my students in Class 23 and Class 24, who actively cooperated with me in and after class. Sincere thanks also go to the distinguished professors in College of Foreign Languages, such as Prof. Yu Hongliang, Prof. Wang Jinquan, Prof. Feng Yufang and all the others, whose impressive lectures have benefited me a lot in broadening my horizon and thesis writing. I want to extend great appreciation to other teachers in our college, especially Mr. Liu Shengle, Mr. Cui Yijun, Ms. Yuan Meimei, Ms. Ye Rong and Ms. Tong Shiping, who have shown great concern for my academic and psychological development. Finally, special thanks go to my roommates, friends and family. They have offered me a quiet and comfortable environment to work on my thesis and given me courage during the tough time of writing this thesis. 摘 要 本文通过行动研究探讨如何把“故事教学法”应用到初中英语词汇教学中，具体地说，应用到《牛津初中英语》七年级上册第四单元的词汇教学。本研究的理论基础是克拉申的输入假说、斯温的输出假说以及建构主义学习理论。本研究的意义有三：其一是有助于教师运用“故事教学法”激发学生学习英语词汇的兴趣，为英语学习的可持续发展打下一个良好的基础；其二是有助于教师运用“故事教学法”优化初中英语词汇教学效果，提高英语教学质量；其三是有助于英语教师在教学实践中关注行动研究，即在行动中研究、对行动进行研究和为行动进行研究，提高教师的研究能力和教学实践能力。 本次行动研究主要探讨两个研究问题： 1、“故事教学法”在多大程度上能激发学生学习英语词汇的兴趣？ 2、“故事教学法”在多大程度上能提高英语词汇教学效果？ 本研究包含两轮行动研究。第一轮涵盖提出问题、制定计划、实施计划、评价和反思；第二轮涵盖重新提出问题、修订计划、实施修订后计划、重新评价与再次反思。本研究的研究对象为宜兴市某中学初一（23）和（24）班的学生。研究方法为教学日志、课堂观察和访谈等。数据收集包括课前、课中和课后。数据分析包括分类和比较。 本研究主要有两点发现： 第一，“故事教学法”有助于激发学生学习英语词汇的兴趣。本研究中，笔者巧妙地将所教词汇融入故事“Two Brothers”中，使学生被故事的人物和情节所吸引，自然而然地积极投入到词汇学习中去。笔者还通过组织纵横字谜游戏、讲故事比赛、单词“三字经”等活动增加了课堂教学的趣味性，克服了学生容易走神的弱点。此外，“三文治故事教学法”与普通故事教学法相比，更能激发学生的学习兴趣，其原因是母语夹杂外语的讲述方式，排除了其他生词对故事理解的干扰，提高了故事的可理解性。 第二，“故事教学法”在一定程度上提高了英语词汇教学效果。教师通过编写故事设置情境，将原本孤立的词汇联系起来，加深学生对生词意义的理解。此外，“三文治故事教学法”改善英语词汇教学的效果更为明显。从量的角度看，24班当堂测验的平均成绩高出23班0.33分（总分20分）。其原因是“三文治故事教学法”为重复刺激提供了可能，主要表现为故事中的自然重复和故事外的刻意重复。 本研究的教学启示: 首先，语言课堂上，教师要优先考虑输入的可理解性。在运用“故事教学法”时，切忌以牺牲故事的可理解性为代价，一味追求故事的趣味性。其次，“以生为本”是英语课堂的基本理念。一方面，教师要充分考虑学生的个性和学困生的需求，帮助学生制定有效的学习方法；另一方面，教师要确保学生在课堂上的主体地位，鼓励学生自己建构知识。再者，在教学实践中，教师要灵活应对突发事件。课堂的动态生成性要求教师在保持基本教学目标、教学内容、教学步骤不变的情况下，预留足够的灵活调整的空间，根据学生的需要和现实情况发挥主观能动性。 本研究还存在以下两方面的不足： 第一，本次研究本质上是试验性的，“故事教学法”的使用是否受到单元主题的限制，是否能广泛应用到所有词汇的教学中去还有待今后的系统研究。为增加行动研究的客观性和科学性，在日后的研究中，可以适当延长行动研究的时间跨度。第二，由于课堂上难以保证教学和观察同时进行，笔者没有能够记录下所有的细节。尽管笔者事后努力回忆，仍不可避免会有疏漏。 关键词：行动研究，故事教学法，词汇教学，三文治故事教学法 Abstract This thesis explores how to apply story-based approach to teach English vocabulary at junior high school through action research. To be specific, it explores how to apply story-based approach to teach new words in Unit 4, Book 7A, Fun with English. This study was theoretically based on Krashen’s Input Hypothesis, Swain’s Output Hypothesis and Constructivism Learning Theory. Its significance includes three aspects. First, story-based approach is beneficial to stimulating students’ interest in vocabulary learning, which may lay a solid foundation for their sustainable learning. Second, story-based approach is beneficial to improving the effect of vocabulary teaching and enhancing the quality of English teaching. Third, this study is beneficial to drawing teachers’ attention to action research, namely action in research, action on research and action for research, as well as improving their research ability and teaching ability. This action research had two research questions: 1. To what extent does story-based approach stimulate students’ interest in English vocabulary learning? 2. To what extent does story-based approach improve the effect of English vocabulary teaching? This study consisted of two cycles of action research. The first cycle included problem identification, plan making, plan implementation, assessments and reflections. The second cycle was made up of problem re-identification, plan revision, plan re-implementation, re-assessments and re-reflections. The participants of this study were students from Class 23 and 24, Grade 7 at a junior high school in Yixing. The instruments of this study were classroom observation, interviews and teaching journals. The data collected before, in and after class were analyzed in two steps: classification and comparison. This study had two major findings. First, story-based approach was beneficial to stimulating students’ interest in vocabulary learning. The author integrated the new words into a story-“Two Brothers” to make students attracted by the characters and plots of the story. She also made the lesson interesting and solved the problem of students’ short attention span by arranging activities such as crossword puzzle game, story-telling contest and Three Character Primer. In addition, compared to traditional story-based approach, the Sandwich Story Methodology was better at stimulating students’ interest in learning. It enhanced the comprehensibility of the story by replacing unfamiliar words that might hinder students’ comprehension with Chinese. Second, story-based approach was an effective method to teach English vocabulary. The author overcame the scattered property of words by connecting them in a story. The situation constructed in the story offered students a better understanding of the meanings of the new words. What’s more, the Sandwich Story Methodology was better at improving the effect of vocabulary teaching. Quantitatively, the average score of Class 24 was 0.33 points higher than that of Class 23 concerning the immediate vocabulary test. The reason was that the Sandwich Story Methodology made it possible for repetitive stimulation, which was realized by natural repetition within the story and intended repetition beyond the story. This study’s pedagogical implications were as follows. First, it is of great significance to enhance the comprehensibility of input in class. Teachers should not seek for attractiveness at the cost of the comprehensibility of the story when applying story-based approach. Second, student-centeredness should be the principle of every lesson. On the one hand, teachers should take students’ individuality and underachievers’ needs into full account and help them make effective study plans. On the other hand, teachers should make sure of students’ leading role in class and encourage students to construct knowledge by themselves. Third, teachers should be more flexible in practical teaching. Considering the dynamic nature of lessons, teachers should leave some space for adjustment according to students’ needs and the actual situation on the basis of adhering to the basic teaching aims, teaching content and teaching procedures of the teaching plan. This study had two limitations. First, this study was tentative in nature. Whether the use of story-based approach would be determined by the theme of a unit and whether it could be universally adopted to teach other words require a systematic study in the future. In future studies, action research could last for a longer period to make it more objective and scientific. Second, although the author tried to recall students’ in-class response as precisely as she could, it was inevitable for her to forget some of the details after class. Key Words: action research; story-based approach; vocabulary teaching; Sandwich Story Methodology Table of Contents AcknowledgementsI 摘 要II AbstractIV Table of ContentsVI Chapter One Introduction1 1.1 General Description of the Study1 1.2 Motivations for the Study2 1.3 Significance of the Study3 1.4 Overall Structure of the Thesis3 Chapter Two Literature Review5 2.1 Key Terms in this Study5 2.1.1 Action Research5 2.1.2 Story-based Approach8 2.2 Theoretical Bases in this Study9 2.2.1 Krashen’s Input Hypothesis10 2.2.2 Swain’s Output Hypothesis11 2.2.3 Constructivism Learning Theory12 2.3 Related Studies13 2.3.1 Related Studies on Action Research13 2.3.2 Related Studies on Story-based Approach14 2.3.3 Related Studies on Vocabulary Teaching15 Chapter Three Methodology18 3.1 Research Questions of the Action Research18 3.2 Participants of the Action Research18 3.3 Instruments18 3.4 Data Collection19 3.5 Data Analysis20 Chapter Four Two Cycles of Action Research21 4.1 First-cycle Action Research21 4.1.1 Problem Identification21 4.1.2 Plan Making24 4.1.3 Plan Implementation27 4.1.4 Assessments28 4.1.5 Reflections32 4.2 Second-cycle Action Research33 4.2.1 Problem Re-identification33 4.2.2 Plan Rivision35 4.2.3 Plan Re-implementation38 4.2.4 Re-assessments38 4.2.5 Re-reflections41 Chapter Five Conclusion44 5.1 Major Findings44 5.2 Pedagogical Implications44 5.3 Limitations and Suggestions for Future Research45 References47 Appendixes50 Appendix I: Story of the First Cycle50 Appendix II: Teaching Plan of the First Cycle51 Appendix III: Story of the Second Cycle54 Appendix IV: Teaching Plan of the Second Cycle55 Appendix V: Key to the Crossword Puzzle58 Appendix VI: Immediate Vocabulary Test59 Chapter One Introduction This chapter serves as an introduction to the study. It consists of four parts: a general description of the study, motivations for the study, significance of the study, and the overall structure of the thesis. 1.1 General Description of the Study The author based the study on two English vocabulary lessons at a junior high school, with the intention of exploring how to apply story-based approach to vocabulary teaching through action research, so as to stimulate students’ interest in vocabulary learning and improve the effect of vocabulary teaching. Before the study, the author learned a lot about the current situation of junior high school students’ vocabulary learning by consulting related literature and visiting vocabulary lessons given by experienced teachers. All these resources provided her with an overall idea of how to conduct the study. The new words to be taught were selected from Unit 4-“My Day”, the theme of which was school life. Considering that students might have felt tired of such a topic, instead of composing a story of school life, the author adapted a story named “Two Brothers” by integrating the new words into it. Additionally, story-based approach aims at teaching vocabulary in situations constructed by stories, so that it can easily arouse students’ interest, increase their intrinsic motivation and lower their anxiety. The participants of the study were students from Class 23 and Class 24, Grade 7 at a junior high school in Yixing, where the author completed her teaching practice. Therefore, the author had a general knowledge of the current situation of students’ vocabulary learning through her observation as well as the interviews with different students and their English teacher, which made it possible for her to make teaching plans that could cater to students’ needs. The study included two cycles of action research. The first cycle comprised problem identification, plan making, plan implementation, assessments and reflections. The first cycle was the author’s preliminary design of how to apply story-based approach to vocabulary teaching. The problems identified in the first cycle were 1) To what extent does story-based approach stimulate students’ interest in English vocabulary learning? 2) To what extent does story-based approach improve the effect of English vocabulary teaching? After the implementation of the teaching plan, problems such as low comprehensibility of the story and ignorance of students’ differences arose, which should be taken into full consideration in the second cycle. The second cycle was made up of problem re-identification, plan revision, plan re-implementation, re-assessments and re-reflections. Considering the deficiencies of the first cycle, the author adopted the Sandwich Story Methodology in the second cycle to enhance the comprehensibility and readability of the story, increase repetitive stimulation and spice up vocabulary learning. In both cycles, the author reflected upon teaching objectives, teaching process and students’ response. Her reflections were concluded in the last chapter of the thesis as major findings, pedagogical implications, limitations and suggestions for future studies. 1.2 Motivations for the Study The author was motivated to conduct the study for three reasons: few action researches on applying story-based approach to teach junior high school students vocabulary, personal interest in action research, and the desire to know how to teach vocabulary efficiently. Firstly, although there have been abundant studies on action research, story-based approach and vocabulary teaching respectively, few studies have touched upon action research into story-based approach, let alone action research into the application of story-based approach to English vocabulary teaching. Besides, story-based approach has been widely used in primary school so far. Its application in junior high school is not that frequent. Therefore, this subject is unique and worthy of research. The author hopes that English teachers who have similar interest can draw lessons from her study. Secondly, as a postgraduate student, the author has learned numerous teaching theories and research methods. She is eager to put what she has learned into practice. With the idea “teacher as researcher” ingrained into her mind, the author has realized that research ability is as important as teaching ability to a teacher. As a result, she seized the opportunity of teaching practice to conduct an action research, in order to make researches during action and improve the practice of action during researches. Finally, intending to be a teacher after graduation, the author wants to get some first-hand experience to guide her future teaching. As is known, vocabulary is the cornerstone of any language. Knowing how to teach vocabulary effectively may lay foundation for enhancing the overall quality of English teaching. In addition, those effective teaching methods could be utilized to teach grammar, sentence structures, etc. 1.3 Significance of the Study The author discusses the significance of this study from three perspectives. First, story-based approach is beneficial to stimulating students’ interest in English vocabulary learning. Stories play an essential role in junior high school students’ growth, such as enhancing their language level and enriching their imagination. The employment of story-based approach caters to students’ needs and encourages them to get involved in vocabulary learning actively. Second, story-based approach is beneficial to improving the teaching effect. Story-based approach requires teachers to explore the teaching material in depth and make it unique and attractive by composing and telling stories in a style of their own. Under that circumstance, they can successfully create a relaxed and comfortable classroom environment, which makes their teaching more enjoyable and effective. Third, this study is beneficial to drawing teachers’ attention to action research, namely action in research, action on research and action for research. Conducting action research can improve teachers’ teaching ability and research ability, making teachers not only excellent educators, but also outstanding researchers. 1.4 Overall Structure of the Thesis This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter One serves as an introduction to the study. It has four parts altogether: a general description of the study, motivations for the study, significance of the study, and the overall structure of the thesis. Chapter two is a literature review of the study. It is composed of three sections: the clarification of the key terms, namely action research and story-based approach; the theoretical foundations of this study, including Krashen’s Input Hypothesis, Swain’s Output Hypothesis, and Constructivism Learning Theory; and related studies on this study at home and abroad. Chapter three is the research methodology, which describes the research questions to be addressed, participants of the study, instruments employed in the study, as well as the specific ways of collecting and analyzing data. Chapter four is the two cycles of the action research. The first one consists of problem identification, plan making, plan implementation, assessments and reflections. The second cycle, which is based on the reflections upon the first cycle, is made up of problem re-identification, plan revision, plan re-implementation, re-assessments and re-reflections. Chapter five is the conclusion of the thesis. After two cycles of action research, the author reports the major findings, summarizes the pedagogical implications, points out some limitations in the present study and offers some suggestions for future studies.