This study was designed to investigate the process of improving the inductive thinking strategies of Korean high school students while using paper-based concordancing materials. The study was conducted over a two-month period with 40 male high school students at a boys’ high school located in Kyounggi Province, South Korea; the students were 3rd-year students 18 to 19 years old. According to their English scores on the 2012 National Assessment of Educational Achievement, participants were divided into 2 groups: 20 Proficient group students and 20 Intermediate group students. They completed concordance tasks three times. By using the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), the researcher created three paper-based concordance tasks. Each participant’s report was analyzed qualitatively by adopting Chun’s (2011) descriptions on learners’ types of cognitive skills. Participants’ reports were also supplemented with other sources such as interviews and observation notes.
The results showed that high school students were developing different cognitive skills over the course of the three tasks. However, the improvement rate of their inductive thinking skills differed depending on their language proficiency. Thus, a corpus-based approach might be used as a new method of teaching for improving the inductive thinking skills of high school students. However, students’ proficiency levels should be carefully considered when such an approach is used.
The present study had some limitations. The number of tasks and the duration of the experiment may have not been sufficient to observe students’ cognitive skills improve, especially for the intermediate-level students. In addition, there was no survey to check the degree of participants’ satisfaction, difficulties and opinions. Lastly, it is not wise to generalize results from participants who were exposed to only one type of paper-based material. Further research will need different types of concordance tasks with which these results may be compared.