Halenko, Nicola and Jones, Christian
Teaching pragmatic awareness of spoken requests to Chinese EAP learners in the UK: Is explicit instruction effective?
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2011.05.003
The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of explicit interventional treatment on developing pragmatic awareness and production of spoken requests in an EAP context (taken here to mean those studying/using English for academic purposes in the UK) with Chinese learners of English at a British higher education institution. The study employed an experimental design over a 12 week period with 26 students assigned to either an explicitly instructed group or a control group receiving no instruction. Performance was measured based on a pre, immediate and delayed post test structure using Discourse Completion Tasks (DCTs). The findings firstly revealed that explicit instruction facilitated development of pragmatically appropriate request language, although this was not noticeably maintained after a six week period. Secondly, despite the potential advantage that the second language environment affords to pragmatic development, this was not necessarily instrumental in enhancing competence. Finally, study abroad (ESL) (taken here to mean those studying English in an English speaking country as opposed to EFL learners studying English in their home country) learners found pragmatic instruction valuable, which suggests practitioners should consider incorporating this at the pre departure stage in order for learners to be more adequately prepared for communicating in similar EAP contexts.
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