News from the pragmatics classroom: Contrasting the inductive and the deductive approach in the teaching of pragmatic competence

Karen Glaser 1
  • 1 Institute for Primary and Pre-Primary Education, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Karen Glaser
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  • Karen Glaser is Junior Professor for TEFL/TEYL at University of Leipzig, Germany. She holds a PhD in English Linguistics from Leuphana University Lüneburg, an MA in TESL from Kent State University, Ohio/USA, and an MA in English and Applied Linguistics from TU Dresden. She has taught ESL/EFL, linguistics and teacher training courses in Germany and the USA. Her research interests include interlanguage pragmatics, classroom interaction, and Teaching Languages to Young Learners.
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Abstract

While the role of pragmatic skills in a foreign or second language has been receiving increased attention both from a research and a language teaching perspective, there is still a lamentable scarcity of systematic empirical studies into the effectiveness of instructional methods in the teaching of pragmatics. Addressing this research gap, this article reports about a quasi-experimental study into possible differences between an explicit-inductive and an explicit-deductive instructional approach in the teaching of pragmatic skills in English as a Foreign Language (EFL), more specifically the teaching of offer refusals to 49 advanced adult EFL learners in Germany. The instruction consisted of three 90-minute lessons, which were spread out over the duration of a 15-week academic semester and designed according to the deductive principle and the inductive principle, respectively. While the deductive group was provided with metapragmatic rules directly at the beginning of the instruction, the inductive group only encountered such rules after engaging in language use and guided discovery. Production data was elicited by means of DCTs and role play in a pretest-posttest format. Effectiveness of instruction was operationalized by means of two indicators: Indicator 1 measured the increased usage of the strategies taught in class, while indicator 2 measured the approximation to a native speaker target. The results indicate that the gains in the inductive group surpassed those in the deductive group, suggesting that when situated within the explicit framework, inductive instruction is more effective in the teaching of pragmatic skills.

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Intercultural Pragmatics is a fully peer-reviewed forum for theoretical and applied pragmatics research. The journal promotes the development and understanding of pragmatic theory and intercultural competence by publishing research that focuses on general theoretical issues, more than one language and culture, or varieties of one language, while making a special effort to cross disciplinary boundaries.

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