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Volume 15 Number 4, Winter 2018, Pages 900-1238 PDF Download

Exploring the Potential of Explicit/Implicit Teaching through Plays for EFL Learners' Pragmatic Development

    S. Mohammad Baqerzadeh Hosseini & Mahmood Safari

The present study investigated the possible contribution of plays as a medium of instruction for pragmatic development through explicit and implicit instruction. To this end, 80 English-major university students formed four intact experimental groups: two literary and two nonliterary groups. One of the literary groups (Implicit Play) received typographically enhanced plays containing the speech acts of apology, request, and refusal, and the other (Explicit Play) received the same plus metapragmatic instruction on the speech acts. The medium of instruction for the nonliterary groups were dialogs containing the given functions; they were also given either enhanced input (Implicit Dialog) or input plus metapragmatic information (Explicit Dialog). All the groups took a written discourse completion test (WDCT) and a multiple-choice discourse completion test (MDCT) before and after instruction. Analysis of the groups' performance on the WDCT pretest and posttest did not show an advantage for the literary medium, that is, there was no significant difference between literary and nonliterary groups. It was rather the mode of instruction that mattered most; explicit groups outperformed their implicit counterparts. As for the groups' performance on the MDCT pre and posttest, analyses revealed that the groups had improved, but there was no significant difference among the groups as a result of the four teaching conditions, suggesting that pragmatic instruction regardless of the medium and mode of teaching can improve learners' knowledge of speech acts.

Keywords: explicit, implicit, literature, play, pragmatic development