University of Khartoum

The Acquisition Of Grammatical Accuracy Through A Functional Approach To Second Language Instruction: An Empirical Study On Teaching The English Tenses

The Acquisition Of Grammatical Accuracy Through A Functional Approach To Second Language Instruction: An Empirical Study On Teaching The English Tenses

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Title: The Acquisition Of Grammatical Accuracy Through A Functional Approach To Second Language Instruction: An Empirical Study On Teaching The English Tenses
Author: Adam Ismail, Mohamed
Abstract: This study aims at investigating the effectiveness of the functional approach to second language instruction in acquiring grammatical accuracy. The reason for such an investigation has resulted from the fact that many instructors of English use the structural and traditional approaches in teaching grammar. The consequence of using such approaches is the decline of English language among university students. Another reason for this investigation is the globalization of all the aspects of today’s life which involves second/ foreign language learners to cope with the discourse of modern civilization, so that they can acquire the cross-cultural understanding worldwide through the multimedia and the other communication channels. This step can be achieved by the functional approach to second/ foreign language instruction. In an attempt to lay a foundation for this study, the theories of first and second language acquisition together with their applications in second/ foreign language teaching, are explored and related to the functional approach. However, the teaching of the English tenses through the functional and structural approaches, is used to function as the empirical aspect of the investigation. The hypothesis of the study proposes that the functional approach to second language instruction is more effective in acquiring grammatical accuracy than the structural approach. In other words, the second language instruction that is semantically, interactionally (i.e. the meaning-oriented and interaction-oriented instructional techniques) and structurally based (i.e. the rule-oriented instructional techniques) enhances the acquisition of grammatical accuracy more effectively than the structural approach. To verify the hypothesis, both the qualitative and quantitative research methods have been used to elicit the required data. A descriptive presentation of the functional and structural approaches to second language instruction, mainly in the area of the English tenses, has been provided and accompanied with an interpretative analysis. Furthermore, an experimental study on the teaching of the English tenses through the functional and structural approaches, has been conducted. The structural approach has been used as a control variable and the functional approach has been used as an experimental variable. The population sample (subjects) of the study were the students majoring in English at the University of Nyala. They were 200 students in level 2, 3, and 4, i.e. all of them were undergraduates who were a mixture of male and female students. They were divided xv randomly into two equal groups (the control group and the experimental group). The control group was given a structural presentation of the English tenses, while the experimental group was given a functional presentation of the same tenses. The two groups were given a pre-treatment test and a post-treatment test on the English tenses. The data which was collected from the subjects, has been analyzed statistically by using a T-test. The analysis of the data has focused on verifying the supremacy of the effectiveness of the functional approach in acquiring the grammatical accuracy, compared with the structural approach. The results of the investigation have revealed the following: 1- The functional approach to second language instruction is more effective in acquiring the grammatical accuracy than the structural approach. 2- The functional approach to the presentation of the English tenses is more effective than the structural approach university students learning English. 3- The functional approach may also be used for the teaching of other linguistic aspects (e.g. vocabulary, writing, and discourse analysis). 4- The students’ participation, motivation and communicative competence are greater in the functional approach than in the structural approach. 5- There is lack of response and interest in acquiring the English tenses through the structural approach. 6- The study of the functions of a linguistic expression that is structurally, semantically, and pragmatically based, facilitates the process of language acquisition/ language learning. 7- The functional approach trains the students to think for themselves about the structure of the language and develops their analytical skills. The study concludes with pedagogical implications and recommendations for the application of the functional approach in second/ foreign language learning/ teaching. Suggestions for future research has also been provided.
URI: http://khartoumspace.uofk.edu/handle/123456789/11595
Date: 2015-06-13


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