The Effectiveness of a Task-Based Instruction Program in Developing the English Language Speaking Skills of Secondary Stage StudentsReport as inadecuate

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Online Submission, Ph.D. Dissertation, Ain Shams University

Communicative tasks are defined as activities in which meaning is primary, there is a goal which needs to be worked toward, there is a real world relationship and the interaction among students is the means for achieving the task outcome. However, it was assumed that adopting communicative tasks alone is not adequate as it leads the learner to prioritize meaning and neglect focus on form either to achieve accuracy or precision in speaking. Hence, the cognitive approach focuses on how tasks are implemented to maximize chances of focus on form. The cognitive approach is an information processing theory concerned with the nature of what is learned, the role of consciousness, the role of performance factors, and the way attention impacts upon language learning. The present study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of tackling communicative tasks in the light of the cognitive approach principles throughout a proposed program in developing the speaking skills of 1st year secondary students. The study adopted the quasi- experimental pretest-posttest control group design. A group of 76 first year secondary students were randomly selected from one of Cairo governmental schools, namely Saray El Kobba Secondary School for Girls, in the school year 2005-2006 (38 students in the experimental group and 38 students in the control group). Students of the experimental group received training through the suggested program; while students in the control group received regular instruction. To determine the most important speaking skills to be developed throughout the program, a checklist was designed and approved by a jury of subject matter specialists. Based on these speaking skills, a speaking proficiency test was developed and used as a pre-post test. A task-based program was developed by the researcher based on the cognitive approach principles to develop the experimental group's speaking skills. The program was taught over a period of three months. By the end of the treatment, a post- test was administered to both the experimental and control groups to find out the effectiveness of the program in developing the experimental group students' identified speaking skills. Most of the study results provided support for the hypotheses. The study showed evidence that: There were statistically significant differences at 0.01 level between the mean scores of the experimental group exposed to the suggested task-based program, and the control group receiving regular instruction on the post-test in favor of the experimental group in overall speaking proficiency as well as in the speaking sub-skills (grammatical, discourse and pragmatic competences subskills), as well as in fluency. Besides, there were statistically significant differences at 0.01 level between the mean scores of the experimental group on the speaking pre-test and post-test in favor of the post-test scores in overall speaking proficiency as well as in speaking sub-skills (grammatical, discourse and pragmatic subskills), as well as in fluency. It was concluded that the program designed according to task-based instruction proved to be effective in improving first year secondary students' speaking skills. It was recommended that: (1) Speaking instruction should be given more attention in our EFL classes. More time and effort should be exerted to develop this main skill and its sub-skills. (2) Teaching speaking should be grounded in an adequate approach--the cognitive approach--to develop its skills adequately. (3) Teachers should adopt task-based instruction in teaching speaking to their students. Thus, speaking sub-skills can be taught in the context of communicative speaking tasks, taking into consideration the implications of the cognitive approach to language learning. The following are appended: (1) Teachers/supervisors questionnaire; (2) The first/final form of the speaking skills checklist; and Names of the jury; (3) The speaking test in its final form; Names of the jury who validated the test; Criteria for judging the test validity; and Time allotted for test sections; (4) The rates' training checklist; Samples of students' performance on the pre/post test; and Names of the raters who scored the test; (5) Activities used to develop speaking skills in each lesson; Approximate time allotted for class activities; The Names of the jury members who approved the program; and Criteria for judging the suitability of the program; and (6) The suggested program lessons; and Names of the teachers who approved the listening texts. (Contains 28 tables, 13 figures, and a bibliography.)

Descriptors: Speech Communication, Program Effectiveness, English (Second Language), Language Skills, Communication Skills, Pretests Posttests, Secondary School Students, Females, Single Sex Schools, Comparative Analysis, Speech Skills, Check Lists, Cognitive Processes, Questionnaires, Communicative Competence (Languages), Hypothesis Testing, Consciousness Raising, Peer Evaluation, Self Evaluation (Individuals)

Author: Torky, Shaimaa Abd EL Fattah



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