English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 30.1
Volume 30 No 1 14 English Australia Journal There is not space here to give a detailed account of results, but in general when comparing the pre and post DCTS there was a noticeable increase in learners’ use of pragmatic language appropriate to this community of practice. Only 2 (out of 8) native speakers showed no development in their pragmatic knowledge, indicating that these materials also helped native speakers to learn about the language of this community of practice which was new to them. All the other participants showed increased knowledge in at least one function. In particular, there was an increase in the use of typical softening devices such as modals, expressions such as I think and discourse markers. When we compared performances in the videoed roleplay there were individual increases in fluency, confidence and use of pragmatic language. Overall, there is evidence that the teaching around the use of softeners, and tentative, indirect and inclusive language, was accompanied by improved pragmatic performance. In contrast to data from lower levels the data collected in the student survey at this level shows that discussion was highly valued. Explicit instruction was favored by students. Listening input from naturalistic texts (both scripted and unscripted) was also highly valued, though the input from the scripted texts used was ranked slightly lower than input from semi-authentic (unscripted) texts and discussion. A fuller description of this stage of the project is at present in review for publication. Discussion and implications for teaching The evidence collected on this action research journey showed us that there was a positive increase in pragmatic awareness and/or competence in a number of skills at all levels using input and activities based on naturalistic texts relevant to learners’ needs. Student surveys showed that the use of full, or extracts from full, texts as input was motivating for students at all levels studied, and useful in their learning about what native or expert speakers really say. Building up banks of roleplayed discourse samples for teachers to share would therefore be worthwhile, as the time and resource investment is likely to be lower than for the very difficult and ethically doubtful practice of gathering fully authentic sample texts. The resulting resources can be shared, and afford learners access to real discourse samples in areas relevant to their needs. There were common features in the instances in which there were greater gains. Where formulaic language could be used, there was a greater level of increased awareness and improvement at all levels. In addition where the function was high in salience there was stronger increased pragmatic awareness/improvement, especially at higher levels (from B1 up) where learners were better able to notice features of interaction outside the classroom.
English Australia Journal 28.2
English Australia Journal 31.1