Improving Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Oral Narrative Task Performance in Terms of Accuracy, Fluency and Complexity by Awareness Raising Through Semantic Fields

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

The effects different awareness-raising techniques might have on language learners’ performance have been studied by many researchers. The present study specifically focused on improving EFL learners’ oral narrative task performance in terms of accuracy, fluency and complexity by awareness raising through semantic fields. The participants in the study included 40 intermediate learners whose initial homogeneity in terms of language proficiency was assessed via a Preliminary English Test (PET). They were further randomly assigned as one experimental group and one control group, each comprising 20 participants. The amount of instructional time was 17 sessions, during which the participants in the experimental group received an awareness raising technique through 'semantic fields'. Before and after the treatment, an oral narrative test was administrated. The results of the data analysis revealed that the experimental group which received the awareness raising technique outperformed the control group in three measures of accuracy, fluency and complexity on their performance. The participants showed significant improvements in language proficiency as they retold the narratives. The findings of the present study can create the floor for researchers to go deep through the EFL contexts and find more about the probable effects awareness raising techniques might have on language learning and teaching.

Keywords


Alzeebaree, Y., & Yavuz, M. (2016). Learner autonomy: Iraqi EFL teachers’ beliefs. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 12(31).
Bedore, L. M., & Pena, E. D. (2008). Assessment of bilingual children for identification of language impairment: Current findings and implications for practice. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 11(1), 1-29.
Behroozi, M., & Amoozegar, A. (2014). Challenges to English language teachers of secondary schools in Iran. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences136(0), 203-207.
Berns, G. S., Blaine, K., Prietula, M. J., & Pye, B. E. (2013). Short-and long-term effects of a novel on connectivity in the brain. Brain connectivity3(6), 590-600.
Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching: Autonomy in language learning: Routledge.
Bower, G. H., Clark, M. C., Lesgold, A. M., & Winzenz, D. (1969). Hierarchical retrieval schemes in recall of categorized word lists. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 8(3), 323-343.
Brunstein, J. C., & Maier, G. W. (2005). Implicit and self-attributed motives to achieve: Two separate but interacting needs. Journal of personality and social psychology, 89(2), 205.
Bygate, M. (2001). Speaking. The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages: cambridge: cambridge university press.
Cleave, P. L., Girolametto, L. E., Chen, X., & Johnson, C. J. (2010). Narrative abilities in monolingual and dual language learning children with specific language impairment. Journal of Communication Disorders, 43(6), 511-522.
Dickinson, D., & McCabe, A. (1991). The acquisition and development of language: A social interactionist account of language and literacy development.
Dickinson, D. K., & McCabe, A. (2001). Bringing it all together: The multiple origins, skills, and environmental supports of early literacy. Learning disabilities research and practice, 16(4), 186-202.
Dolati, R. I., & Mikaili, P. (2011). Effects of instructional games on facilitating of students' vocabulary learning. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences5(11), 1218-1224.
Duinmeijer, I., de Jong, J., & Scheper, A. (2012). Narrative abilities, memory and attention in children with a specific language impairment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 47(5), 542-555.
Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching: Oxford University Press.
Gao, C., & Xu, B. (2013). The application of semantic field theory to English vocabulary learning. Theory and Practice in Language studies, 3(11), 2030.
Gutiérrez-Clellen, V. F. (2002). Narratives in two languages: Assessing performance of bilingual children. Linguistics and Education, 13(2), 175-197.
Heilmann, J., Miller, J. F., & Nockerts, A. (2010). Sensitivity of narrative organization measures using narrative retells produced by young school-age children. Language Testing, 27(4), 603-626.
Herder, J. G. (1772). Essay on the Origin of Language, trans. John H. Moran and Alexander Gode. Two Essays on the Origin of Language: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Gottfried Herder.
Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied linguistics30(4), 461-473.
 
Humboldt, F. H. A. F. (1836). Examen critique de l'histoire de la géographie du Nouveau Continent et des progrès de l'astronomie nautique aux quinzième et seizième siècles (Vol. 1). Gide.
Kawauchi, C. (2005). 5. The effects of strategic planning on the oral narratives of learners with low and high intermediate L2 proficiency. In Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 143-164). John Benjamins.
Koda, K., & Zehler, A. M. (2008). Learning to read across languages: Cross-linguistic    
            relationships in first-and second-language literacy development: Routledge.
            Educational psychologist, 41, 161-180.htt//dx.doi.org/10.1207/sl5326985ep4103-3
Lantolf, J. P., & Appel, G. (Eds.). (1994). Vygotskian approaches to second language research.
            Greenwood Publishing Group.
Michel, M. C., Kuiken, F., & Vedder, I. (2012). Task complexity and interaction:(Combined) effects on task-based performance in Dutch as a second language. EUROSLA yearbook12(1), 164-190.
Mackey, W. F. (1965). Language teaching analysis. Bloomington and London.
McCabe, A., & Rollins, P. R. (1994). Assessment of preschool narrative skills. American    
            Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 3(1), 45-56.
Nostarinia, M., & Roustayi, S. (2014). The effect of grammar consciousness-raising tasks on efl learners' reading comprehension and writing ability. IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, 19(3), 203-216.
Nunan, D. (2015). Teaching English to speakers of other languages: An introduction: Routledge.
Pang, J. S. (2010). Content coding methods in implicit motive assessment: Standards of measurement and best practices for the picture story exercise. Implicit motives, 1, 119-151.
Paul, R., & Smith, R. L. (1993). Narrative skills in 4-year-olds with normal, impaired, and late-developing language. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 36(3), 592-598.
Petersen, D. B., Gillam, S. L., Spencer, T., & Gillam, R. B. (2010). The effects of literate narrative intervention on children with neurologically based language impairments: An early stage study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(4), 961-981.
            MULTILINGUAL MATTERS, 35-35.
Rahimpour, M. (2001). The acquisition of L2 in instructed and naturalistic situation. Journal of Faculty of Letter and Humanities, University of Tabriz44, 10-39.
Ramsay, J. E., & Pang, J. S. (2013). Set ambiguity: A key determinant of reliability and validity in the picture story exercise. Motivation and Emotion37(4), 661-674.
Riley, J., & Burrell, A. (2007). Assessing children’s oral storytelling in their first year of school. International Journal of Early Years Education, 15(2), 181-196.
Ruhi,A.(2001).Toward operationalizing focus on form in EFL classroom setting. MA. thesis. Tabriz University.
Samantaray, P. (2014). Use of story telling method to develop spoken English skill. International Journal of Language & Linguistics1(1), 40-44.
Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (2005). 7. Strategic and on-line planning: The influence of surprise information and task time on second language performance. In Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 193-216). John Benjamins.
Sullivan, A., & Brown, M. (2015). Reading for pleasure and progress in vocabulary and mathematics. British Educational Research Journal41(6), 971-991.
Ukrainetz, T. (2006). Scaffolding young students into phonemic awareness. Contextualized language intervention: Scaffolding PreK–12 literacy achievement, 429-467.
VanPatten, B. (1990). Attending to form and content in the input: An experiment in consciousness. Studies in second language acquisition, 12(3), 287-301.
Zhou, W. (2001). A new research on English semantic field. Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 102, 30-35.
Zohrabi, M., & Abasvand, Y. (2014). The effects of task repetition on improving Iranian EFL learners' accuracy and complexity in writing proficiency. International Journal of English and Education, 3(2), 156-165.