Abstract

The present study investigated the effectiveness of using explicit corrective feedback (CF) and gestures in pronunciation instruction on the accuracy of both the interdental fricatives (voiced and voiceless) sounds: /θ/ pronounced as /s/, /ð/ pronounced as /z/, and the bilabial stop /p/ pronounced as /b/, which are problematic for Egyptian adult ESL learners. The study investigated the pronunciation of 47 male and female adult non-native speakers of English between the ages of 18 and 35 learning English in the general English program of a private institution affiliated with one of the major universities in Egypt. The students were recruited based on their proficiency level which was within the range of intermediate to advanced, i.e. A2/B1 on the Common European Frame of Reference, based on their placement test scores. All participants were evaluated by three volunteer raters who were experienced teachers of English as a second language and MA TESOL holders. The participants were divided into two groups: a treatment group (27 participants) and a control group (20 participants) and were assessed based on pre- and post-performance assessments in the form of a matched guise procedure by the three raters. The researcher used one instrument in collecting the data: pre- and post-performance assessments in the form of a matched guise procedure for both the treatment and the control group. To illustrate, each participant was (1) asked to insert a picture in a given frame showing a word that has one of the target sounds, and (2) read a scripted monologue during the first session of the semester before any pronunciation instruction. After the treatment interventions, each participant was given different pictures to insert in a frame – as mentioned above – and a different scripted monologue to read during session 12. A four-stage experiment: (1) presentation/recording, (2) listening to the recording/corrective feedback (explicit CF for the treatment group/recasts for the control group) and modeling the target sounds, (3) practicing, recalling and recognizing the target sounds, and (4) presentation/recording, was conducted on the two groups (treatment and control) to study the effectiveness of using explicit corrective feedback (CF) and gestures in pronunciation teaching of the target problematic sounds (/θ/, /ð/, /p/) of Egyptian ESL learners over methods like repetition and recast of the target problematic sounds. The raters were then given the recordings of the same participants pre- and post- performance, without knowing that these recordings were for the same learners – and their task was to evaluate these voices based on a frequency count scale to quantify the degree of accuracy of the target sounds and fill in a commentary on the participants’ pre- and post- recordings to qualitatively assess their overall comprehensibility in connected speech and to compare the differences between the natural speech post-test and the scripted monologue post-test. The scores for both groups were compared using T-tests to check for significant improvement in specific pronunciation features. The results of the study showed a significant improvement in the pronunciation accuracy and overall comprehensibility of the participants in the treatment group who were exposed to explicit corrective feedback and gestures in pronunciation instruction as compared to the participants in the control group whose pronunciation proficiency did not show significant improvement. This study presents a number of pedagogical implications and contributions as it supports the use of explicit corrective feedback and gestures in the classroom, and it highlights directions that could be targeted for further research.

Department

Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Date of Award

6-1-2018

Online Submission Date

May 2018

First Advisor

Plumlee, Marilyn

Committee Member 1

Agameya, Amira

Committee Member 2

Abdo, Ashraf

Document Type

Thesis

Extent

86p.

Rights

The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

IRB

Approval has been obtained for this item

Comments

Acknowledgements I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Marilyn Plumlee, my committee chair. This study would never have been what it is without your valuable input. I am grateful to you for your insightful comments and all the time and effort that you never hesitated to offer me. Dr. Amira Agameya, I genuinely appreciate your enthusiasm about my topic. Your steady encouragement and valuable suggestions were indispensable to every stage of this process. Dr. Reem Bassiouney, I will never forget the feedback you provided at the first stages of my writing which was crucial in the formulation of my research questions and in focusing and narrowing down my research scope. Dr. Atta Gebril, even though you are not on my defense committee, you were there from the start. You were the one who encouraged me to proceed with my thesis idea and gave many valuable suggestions and feedback that put me on the right track. Dr. Ashraf Abdo, I genuinely appreciate having you on my defense committee, your valuable suggestions were indispensable to every stage in my revisions process. I would also like to thank all my friends and colleagues who volunteered to be a part of this research: Hala, Sara, Amr, Ehab and Alyssa. Thank you for the time and effort you invested in this tedious task. I am grateful to have wonderful and supportive friends as you. Heba, my long-term journey buddy, thank you for all the support you gave me throughout this process, from proofreading, scoring, providing feedback to just being there whenever I needed moral support. I was glad to know I always had you to rely on. To my sisters Doaa and Sara, I can never forget your help in taking care of Judy. Thank you for the long hours you spent babysitting, feeding and disciplining. I am grateful to have such wonderful and helpful sisters as you. None of this would have been possible without the support of my loving brothers, Sherif and Ahmed. Thank you for believing in me when I did not believe in myself and for encouraging me every step of the way. With loving memory of my mother and father who were my backbone, you have always been my support and my motive to excel. The unconditional love and encouragement you had always given and the way you brought me up, is what kept me going and pushed me beyond my limits. Last but not least, I am thankful to my little angel Judy, to whom this thesis is dedicated. I am sorry for all the time you had to spend coping with my busy schedule, but I promise I will do my best to make it up to you.  

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