This project seeks to investigate the effectiveness of discourse-based instruction on the acquisition of the English verb tense/aspect system by second language learners. Brief Literature Review icon

This project seeks to investigate the effectiveness of discourse-based instruction on the acquisition of the English verb tense/aspect system by second language learners. Brief Literature Review


Similar
The Effect of Computer-Based Grammar Instruction on the Acquisition of Verb Tenses in an efl...
Massachusetts English Language Arts/Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and...
Tense and Time in English Verb Clusters of the Primary Pattern...
Course Title: Literacy Instruction for English Learners (K-12)...
Reading and Adult English Language Learners: The Role of the First Language...
I will be teaching Russian learners of English as a foreign language at English First in...
Working with English Language Learners...
Speaking of speaking : Meta-language for effective communication about pronunciation between...
Rnib care Homes Falls Prevention Project: a review of the Literature...
A web-Based Benchmarking Information System Developed as a Student Project...
Literature Based Discovery Support System and its Application to Disease Gene Identification...
Reading Comprehension Strategies for English Language Learners...



Загрузка...
скачать
TEACHING THE ENGLISH TENSE/ASPECT SYSTEM FROM A DISCOURSE BASIS IN ESL


by

Douglas Adams

Introduction:

This project seeks to investigate the effectiveness of discourse-based instruction on the acquisition of the English verb tense/aspect system by second language learners.


Brief Literature Review:

For several years now researchers in the area of discourse analysis have argued that all language should be thought of as discourse and thus, have advocated the importance of teaching grammar in a discourse context. One useful and important area within which a discourse approach could prove particularly successful is in the instruction of the English verb tense/aspect system. Several researchers, including McCarthy and Carter, have attempted to fit tense/aspect instruction into a discourse context. However, their approaches primarily focus on the role of tense/aspect in different genres. Thus they argue that students should be made aware of the ways that tense/aspect changes with specific genres (Mcarthy & Carter 1994; McCarthy 1991; Carrasquillo 1994). This instructional suggestion is too limited and offers little help to the classroom instructor in search of a more detailed, systematic method for explaining verb choice to their students. What is needed is a systematic, more extensive conception of verb tense/aspect. Such a concept was suggested by Bull in 1960. The Bull Framework, however, is not so much a practical pedagogical method as it is a theoretical concept for thinking about the English verb tense/aspect system. As such it is somewhat confusing and inaccessible to many ESL/EFL teachers. At the heart of this concept is the division of tense into three time lines: past, present and future. Within each line there is a point of reference around which all aspects relate (Bull 1960; Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman 1999; Hinkel 1997). At this time, there does not yet seem to be an accessible way to use the Bull Framework within the classroom and many ESL/EFL teachers continue to present the verb tense/aspect system at the level of a series of decontextualized sentences ( van Zante et al. 2000). Such an approach often deprives learners of the necessary contextual clues with which to adequately determine the function of the forms under consideration. It is my intention to propose a practical, teacher and student-friendly method, adapted from the Bull Framework, which can be used to teach the English verb tense/aspect system in a discourse context. My particular focus will be on the instruction of the past and present time lines (Biber 1988; Hinkel 1997; Zikmund et al. 1995). Additionally, since the participants in my study will be drawn from a variety of L1 backgrounds the effects of language background will be investigated as they relate to the acquisition of tense/aspect (Bardovi-Harlig & Reynolds 1995; Coppetiers 1987; Hinkel 1997).

hypothesis:

Second-language learners in all ability levels will improve their ability to correctly use the present and past English verb tense/aspect system in a written narrative after six hours of instruction in using English verbs in a discourse context. Instruction will be based on a method developed by the author and adapted from the Bull Framework. Improvement will be operationalized by learners' adherence to the following two criteria:

(1) Did they stay on a single time line?(if they changed time lines did they use a

transition word or phrase such as last week, at that time,....)

(2) Within time lines, did they use before, at, and after verb aspect correctly?


Methodology:


participants:

For this study I intend to elicit the participation of a minimum of six classes of students drawn from the University of Florida's English Language Institute. Within each class I hope to receive the participation of a minimum of nine students. Thus my total sample size will consist of a minimum of 54 students. These students will be drawn from three ability levels, beginning, intermediate, and advanced. Levels will based on the results of the Comprehensive English Language Test and further division by diagnostics administered by the students' teachers. The ELI uses these measures to separate students into levels ranging from 20(beginner) to 60(advanced). I realize that it could be argued that such a criteria for division does not provide a basis for replication by other researchers. However, there is no other viable alternative given the resources I have available. Despite these limitations, care will be taken to sample at least two groups of students from each ability level. These groups will be evaluated relative to each other and thus a division between ability levels should be possible. From each level I will form a control group and an experimental group. The control groups will receive instruction in English verb tense/aspect at the sentence level as outlined in the Northstar Grammar series. The experimental groups will receive instruction in English verb tense/aspect based on a discourse approach (described later). I do not expect ability level to be the crucial factor in this study but it could influence the results and thus will be included. Additionally, I intend to replicate this study at least three times over the course of a six month period with at least three different sets of classes. Thus my possible sample size should increase to at least 162 participants.


^ Table 2-1: Level Groupings




Beginning

Intermediate

Experimental

DLI (30)

DLI (50)

Control

SLI (20)

SLI (40)

Note: DLI= Discourse-level instruction. SLI= Sentence-level instruction


materials:

The materials include a pre-test and two post-tests.(see appendix A) The pre-test and post tests follow the same pattern. Each test consist of a series of 4 pictures of scenes from various short stories including: Fog by Bill Lowe, Girl Wanted by O'Henry, and Love of Life by Jack London. The sets of pictures are descriptive and are intended to guide students in generating ideas for the written element of the test. The pictures contain no temporal clues and can be presented in a random order and should have no effect on students' choice of verb tense/aspect. Additionally, since every participant will receive the same set of pictures any possible influence the images might have can be factored out. Along with the set of pictures each test contains an instruction sheet which tells students to use a minimum of 15 sentences (every sentence has a verb) to write a narrative to explain the pictures. The first 15 verbs will be scored.

The materials also include an instruction handout on using English verb tense/aspect in a discourse context.(see appendix B) The handout can serve as an aid to student comprehension as well as an element in training teachers to teach verb tense/aspect in a discourse context.


procedure:

The pre-test will be administered to every participant, during class time, in exactly the same manner. There is no time limit as there is usually no time limit in naturalistic narrative writing. The students' writing will be evaluated for two criteria:

(1) Did they stay on a single time line?(if they changed time lines did they use a

transition word or phrase such as last week, at that time,....)

(2) Within time lines, did they use before, at, and after verb aspect correctly?.....


6 hour instructional procedure for experimental group:

(day one)

a. Introduce the discourse approach with two identical sentence sets which differ

only with regards to their adherence to a single time line. (see appendix C). Ask

students which set sounds better. (Students almost always choose the

set which maintains a consistent time line reference) This provides a lead-in to the lesson.

b. Conduct lesson on the present time line (use the handout for an assist).

In addition to the sample paragraphs found in the handout, generate at least two present time paragraphs on the board with the participation of the students. Diagram these paragraphs to illustrate the before, at, and after relationships.

*^ Note: if students have difficulty understanding the meaning of "at"(point of reference),

advise them to think of it like the "you are here" arrow on a Disneyland park map.

c. Have students work in pairs and practice by writing a present time line

paragraph. Then have each pair share their paragraph on a section of the chalk

board. Finally, in a time of peer correction go over any mistakes and also

reinforce any correctly done elements.

d. HW: write and diagram a present time line paragraph

(day two)

a. Briefly review the present time line with an example paragraph.

b. Conduct lesson on the past time line (use the handout for an assist).

In addition to the sample paragraphs found in the handout, generate at least two past time paragraphs on the board with the participation of the students. Diagram these paragraphs to illustrate the before, at, and after relationships.

c. Have students work in pairs and practice by writing a past time line

paragraph. Then have each pair share their paragraph on a section of the chalk

board. Finally, in a time of peer correction go over any mistakes and also

reinforce any correctly done elements.

d. HW: write and diagram a present time line paragraph.

(day three)

a. Review both time lines by providing sample paragraphs.

b. Have students work in pairs to write a narrative to explain the events of a

series of pictures taken from ^ Hearts and Crosses by O'Henry. Instruct them to

use at least 15 sentences. Allow them to choose the time line they'll use.

Then have groups share their stories orally, clearly stating the verbs they used.

Elicit peer evaluation and correction of any errors.

c. HW: Have students write a narrative, containing at least 15 sentences, about a

memorable experience they had.


The procedure for the control group will take 5 weeks and is outlined in the verb tense chapters of Northstar's ^ Focus on Grammar. Post-test #1 will be administered immediately after completion of instruction. The procedure for the post-test is the same as for the pre-test. Post-test #2 will be administered one month after completion of instruction. The procedure for the post-test is the same as for the pre-test.


^ Anticipated Results:

Based on the results of a previously conducted pilot study, it is expected that the instruction of the present and past English verb tense/aspect system within a discourse context will yield improvement in the written narratives of participants as operationalized in my hypothesis. This improvement is further expected to be evident across ability levels. I do not anticipate the same degree of improvement to be existent in the written narratives of the control group participants. If the evidence suggests that this method is effective then it could represent a viable alternative to the current practice of sentence-level instruction.


^ Statistical Approach:

I intend to compare the means of the pre-test and post tests, for each of the groups, to infer a pattern of improvement. Each test will be scored based upon two criteria: adherence to a single timeline and correct use of before, at and after relationships. Thus, each narrative will receive two scores and a mean will be calculated for each set of scores. If the resulting distribution is skewed due to outliers I intend to calculate the median score. To test the Null Hypothesis I intend to perform a paired t-test between the control and experimental groups' results. Furthermore, I also intend to use aone-way ANOVA to interpret the effects of the language background and ability level variables.


References


Bardovi-Harlig K Tense and aspect in second language acquisition: Form, meaning, and use LANG LEARN 50: 1-+ Suppl. 1 2000


Bardovi-Harlig, K. and D. Reynolds. (1995). The role of lexical aspect in the acquisition of tense and aspect. TESOL Quarterly, 29, 107-131.


Biber, D. Variation Across Speech and Writing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 1988.


Bull, William E. Time, Tense and the Verb: A Study in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, with Particular Applications to Spanish. University of California Press., LA and Berkeley. 1960.


Carrasquillo, Angela L. Teaching English as a Second Language. Garland Publishing Inc., N.Y. 1994.


Celce-Murcia, Marianne and Diane Larsen-Freeman. The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course. Heinle and Heinle Publishers, USA. 1999. pp.162-164.


Coppetiers, R. (1987). Competence differences between native and non-native speakers. Language, 63, 544-573.


De-Carrico, J. (1986). Tense, aspect and time in English modality. TESOL Quarterly, 20, 665-682.


Hinkel, Eli. (1997). The Past Tense and Temporal Verb Meanings in a Contextual Frame. TESOL Quarterly, 31(2): 289-313.


McCarthy, Michael and Ronald Carter. Language As Discourse: Perspectives for Language Teaching. Longman, London. 1994.


McCarthy, Michael. Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. 1991.


van Zante, Janis et al. Grammar Links 3: A Theme-Based Course for Reference and Practice. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 2000.


Zikmund, W., Middlemist, R., & Middlemist, M. Business: The American Challenge for Global Competetiveness. Austen Press, Homewood, IL. 1995.








Download 28.34 Kb.
leave a comment
Date conversion17.09.2011
Size28.34 Kb.
TypeДокументы, Educational materials
Add document to your blog or website

Be the first user to rate this..
Your rate:
Place this button on your site:
docs.exdat.com

The database is protected by copyright ©exdat 2000-2017
При копировании материала укажите ссылку
send message
Documents

upload
Documents

Рейтинг@Mail.ru
наверх