Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Second Advisor

Sedique Popal

Third Advisor

Mathew Mitchell


This mixed methods study investigated the effectiveness of neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques in vocabulary instruction at the high-intermediate level of English as a second language learners’ vocabulary learning and recall at a community college in Northern California. While previous studies offered and demonstrated different methods, those studies emphasized only one particular vocabulary learning modality. As a result, most ESL learners learn vocabulary passively but not actively. No study has proposed to explore the inclusion of the neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques on vocabulary learning and recall, in order to analyze the resulting effects of these proposed instruction techniques among community college students. Utilizing a mixed methods approach, 51 ESL students, including 27 students in the experimental group and 24 students in the control group, participated in this study. The experimental group was taught the target words based on neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques; the control group received the target words based on a traditional method. Split-plot ANOVA and Independent t-sample tests were used to analyze the pre-test and post-test data. Learners’ attitudes and perceptions towards the inclusion of neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques were examined through a questionnaire and interviews. The quantitative findings revealed a statistically significant difference in gain score means between the control and experimental groups. Qualitative findings revealed that the experimental group noticed improvement in their vocabulary learning and recall as a result of efficiently utilizing the proposed techniques. Thus, the qualitative and quantitative findings converged and suggested a new conceptual framework in the field of second language acquisition. Based on the evidence of this dissertation’s research, the inclusion of neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques had positive effects on the community college ESL students’ vocabulary learning and helped them to use the study’s target words actively in their writing and speaking. This study has implications for the fields of research methods and ESL vocabulary instruction. More research on the inclusion of neurocognitive, metacognitive and sociocultural techniques in instruction for different age ranges and different ESL group levels would further expand the current findings of the effects of the vocabulary technique instruction and to identify curricular implications.