An Analysis of the Effects of Explicit Teaching on the Acquisition of Structural Discourse Markers in EFL Speaking Classes in Saudi Arabia

Alraddadi, Budoor Muslim J (2019) An Analysis of the Effects of Explicit Teaching on the Acquisition of Structural Discourse Markers in EFL Speaking Classes in Saudi Arabia. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document]
PDF (Thesis document) - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The study investigates the most appropriate way to teach structural discourse markers (SDMs) and the effect of different treatments on their learning and acquisition. Discourse markers (DMs) play a vital role in spoken language (Carter & McCarthy, 2006). Schiffrin (1987) defined them as “sequentially dependent elements which bracket units of talk” (p. 31) and their main function is to “add to discourse coherence” (p. 326). This research focuses on exploring Saudi EFL learners’ use of the target SDMs in oral production (presentations) after explicit instruction, either through a task-based language teaching approach (TBLT) or an inductive/deductive presentation-practice-production (PPP) approach. One of the key justifications of carrying out this research is to contribute to classroom research and to literature on teaching and learning DMs in the context of English as a foreign language (EFL) education. Most of the studies in the Saudi EFL context investigate the use and the frequency of DMs, this study attempts to fill in the gap by providing empirical research on the most effective approach to teach SDMs to EFL learners. In addition, this research contributes to the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) by examining and providing a description of the effectiveness of different teaching approaches regarding students’ learning and acquisition of the target SDMs in the EFL context, and specifically in Saudi Arabia, where there is currently a gap in research. For this purpose, 49 female learners on their foundation year at Taibah University in Saudi Arabia participated in this study. Furthermore, for the intention of teaching SDMs, learners were divided into three experimental groups, one group was taught using a TBLT approach, the other was introduced to the deductive PPP approach and the last group was taught by using an inductive PPP approach. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis (mixed methods) were used. The findings demonstrated that teaching SDMs explicitly by using the three different teaching approaches, helped learners to learn and use the target SDMs in oral presentation (short-term learning). However, deductive and inductive PPP led to greater use of SDMs and these two groups outperformed the TBLT group. All treatment groups improved and gained DMs from the pre-test to the first delayed test. However, inductive PPP outperformed both TBLT and deductive PPP, consequently it can be said that the inductive PPP approach had more effect on learners’ learning and acquisition of SDMs in this specific context.

Repository Staff Only: item control page