Teaching English grammar communicatively in an Indonesian university
The research reported on in this thesis is motivated by concern about the current level of student outcomes in English language teaching and learning in Indonesia, specifically in the higher education sector. The aim ofthe research is to investigate how effectively the expression of English tense and aspect are acquired during the process of learning English as a foreign language within the classroom. Specifically, the research compares the level and usage of English tense and aspect forms by two separate groups of students exposed to two different teaching methods. The first ofthese teaching method is that currently used within a Diploma of English program at an Indonesian university, whereas the second is one developed by the researcher that includes activities based on the principles of the communicative approach to language teaching. Using a set of specially developed language development assessment tasks which require students to demonstrate their proficiency in using English in a variety of tasks with differing levels of focus on grammatical form and differing levels of contextualisation of meaning and practice the research investigateshow the learners'tense and aspect use changes over time and is affected by the teaching process. The research design combines cross-sectional and longitudinal measures of learner performance and involves comparison of performance of 21 students randomlyas signedto one or other of two teaching methods,the current method (control group) and the alternative communicative grammar method(experimental group). The students undertake the tasks on four separate occasions; pre-test, mid-test (part way through the six week teaching intervention), posttest and delayed post-test (4 weeks after the completion of the teaching intervention).In addition to data on the performance of the two groups in the language development assessment tasks a number of lessons within each teaching method were recorded and are analysed using the Spada and Frohlich's 'Communicative Orientation to Language Teaching'Scheme. The research reveals a number of important findings, including : Differences in teaching methods, Evidence ofoverall marginally superior improvement in performance over time by the experimental group , Evidence that the experimental group is advantaged in contexts which provide opportunities for more spontaneous and extended communication. The experimental group is more adventurous and less inhibited in spontaneous production and more advanced in range oftenses and aspects used , Evidence that the control group has a higher level ofaccuracy in their second language production in the marking of 3rd person -S in the simple present tense and in the choice offunctionally appropriate tenses , Support for general development trends in tense/aspect acquisition as found in earlier studies The study provides preliminary, but, nevertheless, important support for the potential benefits ofa more communicatively focussed approach to the teaching and learning of second language grammar. Discussion concludes with consideration of future research that could extend the findings ofthis study.
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