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Teaching Pargmatics in the ethiopian context

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  • 1. Investigating the Challenges and Opportunities for Developing Pragmatic Competence of EFL Learners: The Case of St. Joseph School in Adama A thesis Defense Prepared By: Korie Shankulie Advisor: Dr Haileleul Zeleke (PhD) June 25/20124/8/2013 thesis defense 1
  • 2. Table of Contents1.Introduction2. Review of Related Literature3. Research Methods and Procedures4. Summary of Findings5. Conclusions and Recommendations4/8/2013 thesis defense 2
  • 3. 1.1. Background to the study• In order to develop CC of learners there is a shift from:• Formal system of grammar rules to a more communicative perspective;• Language Usage rules to language Use rules;• Formal and textual factors to interactional and contextual factors because of the advent of Pragmatics;4/8/2013 thesis defense 3
  • 4. Background... In Ethiopia:• International communications are part of every day life activities;• Cross-cultural communications• Hence, pragmatics should be an important asset for students learning at various levels of education;• Pragmatic skills should be one of the objectives of teaching language alongside other linguistic skills to help learners develop pragmatic competence;• However, instruction of English or the learning environment, most commonly comprises of :• non-native language teachers, who have no relevant trainings;• a fairly large classroom full of learners with very dissimilar aptitudes,• teaching materials, that are mostly textbooks, printouts, or grammar books.4/8/2013 thesis defense 4
  • 5. Background...• Hence, teaching authentic language use in these circumstances is very challenging and,• the teaching materials and teachers should play an integral role in offering the students a model of real- life language use,• pragmatic competence is considered to be a major component of CC, yet little attention has been paid to teaching and testing it,4/8/2013 thesis defense 5
  • 6. 1.2. Statement of the Problem• Learning a language is more than just acquiring the rules of grammar; learners must be able to use the language as well; but textbooks are not that reliable in this regard,• Pragmatic ability is not only fundamental to the smooth functioning of society, but did not receive considerable attention in the EFL contexts4/8/2013 thesis defense 6
  • 7. Statement of...• English language textbooks present the language to students in terms of written and spoken language, but their presentation of the language is not rich in metalanguage and metapragmatic explanations,• pragmatic competence is considered to be a major component of CC, yet little attention has been paid to teaching and testing it,4/8/2013 thesis defense 7
  • 8. Statement...• EFL student teachers‟ curriculum and in-service professional development program lack the inclusion of pragmatic aspect of language teaching,• pragmatic errors are often considered impolite, and yet no research has been conducted on learners„ ability to choose the proper use of language,4/8/2013 thesis defense 8
  • 9. 1.3. Objectives of the Study• Investigate the challenges of teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting,• Analyze textbooks in terms of their pragmatic contents,• Explore opportunities/possibilities of teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting,• Discover whether students can choose appropriate language in a given situation,• Forward possible recommendations based on the research results4/8/2013 thesis defense 9
  • 10. 1.4. Research Questions• To what extent do the students‟ textbooks provide pragmatic information for learners to acquire pragmatic competence?• What are the challenges perceived by high school teachers to develop students‟ pragmatic competence?• How do the teachers perceive students‟ textbooks pragmatic contents-are they challenges or opportunities for them?• Do students choose appropriate language based on a provided situation/context?• To what extent do teachers consider other possibilities than the textbook, for teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting?4/8/2013 thesis defense 10
  • 11. 1.5. Significance of the study• It can help syllabus designers to revise English language syllabuses to improve the quantity of pragmatic features and the quality of their presentations in the textbooks,• It could be worthwhile resource for teachers who are interested to develop their own teaching materials for teaching pragmatics,• It would be helpful for textbook writers who are wishing to have an informed opinion on the pedagogical implications derived from research on pragmatics,• It fills the research gap that exists in studying challenges and opportunities to teaching pragmatics in an EFL setting;• the research would be of importance for the other researchers to look into the field attentively.4/8/2013 thesis defense 11
  • 12. 1.6. Delimitation of the Study• It doesn‟t include all micro level approaches to pragmatics: indexicals, presupposition, implicature and speech acts;• It confined itself to the study of pragmatic competence with particular emphasis on some speech acts and challenges to developing pragmatic competence of EFL learners;• It doesn‟t incorporate all upper high schools in the Adama Town.4/8/2013 thesis defense 12
  • 13. 1.7. Limitation of the Study• The research faced time and many constraints,• Lack of local researches has hampered the depth of this research work,• the research was first designed to be conducted on homemade English language textbooks; unfortunately, the new textbooks authored by foreign writers came into use in the middle of the research work which might throw some light on the research result,4/8/2013 thesis defense 13
  • 14. 2. Review of Related Literature2.1 Communicative Competence• The ultimate goal of learning or teaching a language is to develop CC• CC is relative• CC is abstract• The ability for use/to communicate appropriately• Knowledge• Acceptability• Appropriateness• Adequacy• Grammaticalness• CC is social evaluation of behavior as appropriate or inappropriate4/8/2013 thesis defense 14
  • 15. Review...Competence (underlying/tacit knowledge)Performance (actual communicating ability)Performance: Use-rules of socioculture-social context Usage-rules of grammar-linguistic contextWhat, when, how to speak or not speak=rule of SC4/8/2013 thesis defense 15
  • 16. Review...Models of CC Discourse Grammatical competence competence Strategic Sociolinguitic Competenc competence e CC4/8/2013 thesis defense 16
  • 17. Communicative Competence skills knowledge attitude awareness4/8/2013 thesis defense 17
  • 18. Pragmatics relatively late comer in linguistics;relatively late comer in linguisticsbecame increasingly popular through researchers‟ explorations of linguistic facts;pragmatics involves social as well as individual norms in language production and comprehension (use);social, cultural and psychological factors play important roles in language useThe study of language use in context4/8/2013 thesis defense 18
  • 19. ...pragmatics Social status Selection culture factors age Social distance4/8/2013 thesis defense 19
  • 20. ...pragmatics language users context4/8/2013 thesis defense 20
  • 21. ...pragmaticsContextually appropriate language use includes:What can be said;Where it can be said;When it can be said;How to say it most effectively;4/8/2013 thesis defense 21
  • 22. ...pragmatics////Why do we have to teach pragmatics? Developing learners‟ CC; Minimizing sociopragmatic failure; Minimizing cultural shock; Creating awareness of the different sociocultural rules and different concepts of politeness ; Turn taking; Opening and closing conversation; Staying on topic; All words are not used by all people; Some words are only used in certain places/time; Meaning depends on use or meaning =use; 4/8/2013 thesis defense 22
  • 23. ...pragmaticsLeast polite Invitation  Come over to my house and play with me.  What are you doing after school? You should come and play.  Can you come over after school and play at my house?  Can you please come over to my house and play after school?• Most polite4/8/2013 thesis defense 23
  • 24. Challenges vs. Opportunities Teacher’s textbooks talk Teachers’ textbooks training Class size culture authentic attitude inputs4/8/2013 thesis defense 24
  • 25. 3. METHODS AND PROCEDURE OF THE STUDYA descriptive method was employed in the study;Textbooks and respondents were the major sources of the data;Categorical data i.e. nominal or observations that can be coded and ordinal or observations that can be ranked were used;The existing problems were investigated; Inferences were drawn from the responses;4/8/2013 thesis defense 25
  • 26. Procedure Designing tools Stating the and Selecting Collecting data problem samples Reviewing Giving meaning to Pre-test literature the data Setting research Conclusions and Stating objectives questions recommendations4/8/2013 thesis defense 26
  • 27. Sampling• Purposive sampling was employed for textbooks content analysis;4/8/2013 thesis defense 27
  • 28. ...Sampling Coding Categorizing Counting Describing Interpreting Tabulating and analysing4/8/2013 thesis defense 28
  • 29. ...sampling• Systematic sampling was employed for respondents;• Out of 339 students 183 were selected, based on table of statistics, for questionnaire and MDCT;• All four (4)teachers teaching grades 9-12 were selected for questionnaire.4/8/2013 thesis defense 29
  • 30. Research Tools Content analysis MDCT Perception Data questionnaire Classroom observation4/8/2013 thesis defense 30
  • 31. Methods for Data Analysis• Data were organized based on the research questions;• As the research method was chiefly qualitative, data were analysed descriptively;• Data of closed type items with ratings were analyzed using mean scores and percentiles;• Qualitative type data were analyzed verbally through examination of themes ;• The results were virtually summarised in line with the research questions;• Conclusions were drawn based on the statement of the problem;• Recommendations were forwarded on the basis of the conclusion as indicated in the research objectives.4/8/2013 thesis defense 31
  • 32. 4. Research Results Challenges:• the pragmatic features in the current students‟ textbooks were not explicitly laid down (metalanguage and metapragmatic) table 1;• No scenarios or situations were presented so that the learners will learn how pragmatic expressions are used in a real life like simulations (table 2);• No clear instructions were given so that learners actively act up on those communicative acts (table 2),4/8/2013 thesis defense 32
  • 33. Research...• textbooks rarely provide enough information for learners to successfully acquire pragmatic competence (table 4 & 5);• Teachers did not receive adequate course/topic on pragmatics in teachers‟ training (table 6 & 7);• Lack of time, class size, relevant training, insufficient materials, knowledge of target culture, etc. were challenges for teachers to impart pragmatic knowledge to students (table 10);4/8/2013 thesis defense 33
  • 34. Research...• Majority of the student respondents rated refusals, apologies, compliments, complaints, requests, as difficult and above in their own words (table 18): „because of the English language very hard language‟ „b/c it is so complicated‟ „b/c it need high skill in speaking‟ „b/c those are the difficulties that I get when I speak English with others‟ „b/c they need more explanation and experience on it‟ „b/c things are difficult when we talk in English‟ „because I use them rarely and some of them frequently‟ „I just said that because those things are even hard in Amharic.‟ This implies there is a need gap.4/8/2013 thesis defense 34
  • 35. Research ...• Regarding MDCT, the majority of the participants‟ scored between 6 and 10 (37.8%) (table20) .4/8/2013 thesis defense 35
  • 36. Conclusions• The content analysis indicated that the current English textbooks for Ethiopia upper high schools, i.e. grade 10 and 11 are containing only meager features of pragmatics;• Instead of being opportunity the textbooks are challenges to teaching pragmatic competence;• Most of the metalanguage explanations are very shallow and there are no metapragmatic explanations at all.• teachers seldom use pragmatic instruction in classrooms, and mostly students have to spend time by themselves developing pragmatic competence without explicit instruction.• Communicative activities in the classroom will provide valuable production practice for learners, but they will not generate the type of sociolinguistic input that learners need;• This study provides information about the current state of pragmatic instruction, challenges of teaching pragmatics in real classrooms, and teachers‟ awareness of teaching pragmatics. 4/8/2013 thesis defense 36
  • 37. Recommendations...• it is necessary for the textbook writers to write user friendly textbooks in terms of providing pragmatic information to both the teachers and students;• textbook writers should take note of procedures of teaching, selection of authentic materials, designing of task and approaches to testing pragmatic features of language;• teachers also should be able to receive sufficient knowledge in the area of pragmatics while they are on job or taking undergraduate courses;• researches should be conducted exploring the effects of instruction in pragmatic aspects of the English language in an EFL setting;• pragmatics should be taught on its own right instead of being taught as a portion in linguistic courses of undergraduate studies.4/8/2013 thesis defense 37
  • 38. Implications• Further researches need to be conducted to observe as to how high school teachers can develop the pragmatic competence of learners;• Further researches should also examine students‟ oral requesting, apologizing, complimenting, complaining, tha nking, refusing, etc. when students are unaware;• Pragmatic competence is one of the vital components of communicative competence that needs to be considered in EFL teacher education programs;• Educational administrators should take “pragmatics” into consideration when designing curriculum guidelines for English subjects.4/8/2013 thesis defense 38
  • 39. „What one thinks is acceptable, another finds it offensive!‟ The End. Thank You So Much! ?4/8/2013 thesis defense 39

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