Relative effects of oral corrective feedback combined with explicit instruction on EFL learners' pragmatic competence

  • Thi Hanh Pham

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    While the positive impact of oral corrective feedback (OCF) in language acquisition has been confirmed, limited research has been conducted on the effectiveness of OCF on learners' pragmatic development (Lyster, Saito,& Sato,2013). It has also been suggested that many factors such as instructional context and choice of linguistic targets impact CF effectiveness (Ellis,2008). More research is needed to identify the interaction of CF and instruction type on learners' pragmatic acquisition. To address the gap, this study investigated the effects of four OCF types, namely recast, clarification request, explicit correction, and metalinguistic clue, on the acquisition of English requests by low intermediate Vietnamese EFL learners (n=122) in the university foreign language (EFL) classroom who were given explicit instruction. A mixed methods design using an embedded quasi-experimental model was employed to address these aims with more weight assigned to the quantitative than the qualitative aspect. The study involved one control group who received six hours of explicit instruction on English requests and four experimental groups who received six hours of explicit instruction on English requests combined with one of the types of OCF. Quantitative data were collected using three instruments: role plays (RP),discourse completion tasks (DCT) and judgement tasks (JT). The RP and DCT were used to assess the overall rating of appropriateness of the participants’ requests and the number of requesting strategies they used. The JT were employed to elicit the participants’ perceptions and awareness about features of English requests. Qualitative data were collected from diaries of student participants during instruction time, and were used to complement and validate the quantitative data. Scoring was conducted by one native and one non-native speaker, and the analysis used ANOVA and ANCOVA tests. The statistical results demonstrate the superior effectiveness of explicit instruction alone, there being significant improvement in both the control and treated groups. The results show that the effectiveness of OCF types is highly dependent on the type of outcome measure. Regarding the strategy use, recast work best of the four types in both the RP and DCT. In terms of overall rating appropriateness of request, metalinguistic clues and clarification requests appeared to be most effective in both the RP and DCT. While there was no significant difference in the effectiveness of CF with regards to the measure of pragmatic awareness among the groups, the groups that received feedback in the form of metalinguistic clues and explicit correction were most sensitive to their treatments and most likely to make improvements. The thematic analysis from the participants’ diaries showed that, generally, feedback was essential and required in the context of explicit instruction and students’ high motivation helped promote the acquisition of L2 pragmatic learning. The result of this research also highlighted that explicit instruction has substantial effects to the field of SLA and pedagogical applications to the teaching of L2 pragmatics.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorEleni Petraki (Supervisor), Jeremy Jones (Supervisor) & Alice Richardson (Supervisor)

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