Comparing traditional and task-based approaches to teaching pragmatics: Task design processes and learning outcomes

You Jin Kim, Sanghee Kang, Meredith D’Arienzo, Naoko Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The goal of the current study is twofold: (1) to demonstrate how to design authentic blog-posting tasks for Korean learners of English as a foreign language (EFL); and (2) to compare traditional (textbook-based) and task-based instruction in Korean high school students’ learning of advice-giving strategies in English. Fifty high school students in Korea were assigned to either a traditional or a task-based instruction condition. The traditional group was taught advice-giving strategies using their required textbook. For the task-based instruction group, advice-giving tasks were designed simulating online Q&A communities. Participants were asked to read other high school students’ blogs about their personal concerns and respond to the concerns by posting their advice in a forum. Both groups completed a background survey, a pretest, instructional treatment (a textbook exercise for the traditional condition and individual advice-giving tasks for the task-based condition), a reflection survey, and immediate and delayed posttests over three months. Both groups’ pretest/posttest responses were analysed in terms of the occurrence of advice-giving strategies (e.g. expressing sympathy) based on existing coding frameworks and what students produced. In addition, linguistic forms in each strategy were coded for syntactic complexity (e.g. bi-clausal or mono-clausal constructions). The frequency of different advice-giving strategies and linguistic forms on posttests was compared between the two groups, and between the pretest and posttests for each group. The results showed that the task-based group outperformed the traditional group on the immediate posttest only. However, both groups demonstrated significant gains in advice-giving knowledge at the immediate posttest, and the learning was sustained for 8 weeks. In terms of learning complex constructions of advice-giving head acts (i.e. bi-clausal constructions), there were immediate learning benefits for the task-based group only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • advice-giving speech acts
  • English as a foreign language
  • L2 pragmatics
  • task design
  • task-based language teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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