Teaching English Pragmatics in an EFL Context: Effects of Obtrusive and Unobtrusive Focus on Form Instructions

Document Type: Research Paper


English Department of the University of Isfahan


With the aim of more emphasis on pragmatics and its inclusion in EFL classrooms, this study attempted to investigate the effectiveness of obtrusive and unobtrusive focus on form instructions on learners’ pragmatic performance of criticizing in English. 54 Iranian learners, all at intermediate level, participated in this study, and they were divided into three groups: 19 participants receiving obtrusive instruction, 21 learners receiving unobtrusive instruction and 14 participants had no pragmatic instruction (control group). Techniques related to each method were operationalized in details and applied in the classrooms. The most basic techniques in obtrusive methods were consciousness raising activities, metalinguistic explanation, and explicit correction. In unobtrusive method, input enhancement activities, and recast were used. Discourse completion test and oral feedback were used as pretests and posttests in this study. After applying statistical analyses using ANOVA, it was found that learners’ pragmatic knowledge of criticizing improved significantly in both kinds of instructions. Also, results of post hoc analyses indicated that learners in obtrusive focus on form instruction outperformed those in unobtrusive focus on form instruction significantly. These results were justified through noticing hypotheses, importance of metalinguistic explanations, effects of explicit correction, and output hypothesis. These findings may have great implications for language teachers, syllabus designers, and future researchers. 


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