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In the light of data analysis performed in the previous chapter, this chapter displays the conclusions arrived at. In accordance with these conclusions, some pedagogical implications are presented and finally suggestions for further research are proposed.
The principal aims of this study are to investigate whether the grammatical components of the course of IOs are communicatively presented. And, secondly to see to what extent such presentation can help learners to develop their grammatical competence.
To fulfill the above stated aims, certain procedures have been adopted and the study has come up with the following conclusions:
1- Grammar in IOs is communicatively presented as it is introduced in consistency with Leech & Svartvik's, ''A Communicative Grammar of English'' (1994); (See Chapter Five). And this validates the first hypothesis adopted in this study, i.e., grammar in IOs is communicative.
2- The results of the test and the statistical analysis made have proved that there is no significant development in the performance of the student in the three grades specified.
The percentage of CRs in the second grade is 75.5%, while the one of the third grade is 74.8%, and that of the fourth grade is 75.6% of the total number of the subjects' responses in each grade. The three percentages reflect this result as they are so proximate, that is there is no big difference that can be noticed from one grade to the other. This result proves that the second hypothesis of this study is refuted. The one which states, ''To those who study the newly adopted course under consideration, there is development in their grammatical performance''.
This means that even though grammar is communicatively presented, the way in which it is taught is not adequate enough to make it effective.
3- Students' performance on the Reco. task is better than theirs on the Prod. one. The total number of CRs on the Reco. task in the three grades is (1820), while the total number of CRs on the Prod. one is (1585). The difference between the two numbers is clear in favor of the Reco. task. This proves that their receptive knowledge is better than their productive knowledge.
4- The results of the test which show that the number of students who have exceeded (50%) is (100%) prove that they have performed well in spite of the fact that there is no significant development from one grade to the other.
5- Results have proved that the intralingual source of errors is the highest one among the three other sources. It makes (81.8%) of the total number of the subjects' ERs.
6- Subjects find some kind of difficulty in dealing with some new types of language testing techniques like error recognition and error correction, if these are compared with the traditional techniques like filling in the gaps or multiple choices.
7- Some kind of difficulty is found with the English tenses different from those found in the subjects' L1, like the present perfect tense. Subjects have their weakness in recognizing the use of these tenses, in spite the fact that they may do well with the structures.
6.2 Pedagogical Implications
Language teaching cannot stand away from the findings of EA. Students' errors have always been of interest and significance to teachers, syllabus designers and test developers. This may lead educators to devise appropriate materials and effective teaching techniques, and to construct tests suitable for different levels and needs of learners. Hence, the implication of EA to language teaching can be viewed from the aspect of language teachers and syllabus designers.
Teachers can benefit from the findings of EA in many ways. Errors tell the teacher how far towards the goal the learner has progressed and what remains for him to learn (Corder, 1973b: 165). Following the student's progress, the teacher is able to carry on his studies in accordance with what the learner needs to know and what part of the teaching strategy to change or reconstruct. Errors are a means of feedback for the teacher reflecting how effective he is in his teaching style and what changes he has to make to get higher performance from his students.
Furthermore, errors indicate to the teacher the points that need further attention. Additionally, errors show the way to be treated when their sources are identified correctly.
Syllabus design of an English teaching course is a very important component of the teaching-learning process. There are many factors to be considered to decide on what to teach to what level and age group. At this point, errors are significant data for syllabus designers as they show what items are important to be included or which items needs to be recycled in the syllabus. Keshavarz (1999: 48-49) maintains that an error-based analysis can give reliable results upon which remedial materials can be constructed. In other words, analysis of second language learners' errors can help to identify learners' linguistic difficulties and needs at a particular stage of language learning.
Results of the implicational analysis lead to significant implications for syllabus designers, materials writers, and teachers. Language is a 'self-contained system' (a term of de Sassure), in which each part is systematically related to another part. Then learning of some new item requires the learning of all items that are already studied. Eventually, this requires the necessity for a cyclical syllabus in language learning. IOs is a cyclical syllabus; but students can not get the best of this point unless they are helped by teachers to review almost every past material to go on learning new ones.
The findings that the subjects' have their own difficulty in dealing with English tenses, and especially their use more than their structure, should be utilized by syllabus designers and materials writers.
More attention should be paid by all those interested in the teaching of English to Arabic-speaking learners to help them overcome this difficulty.
In a point related to the second conclusion, it has to be stated that there are other certain factors that can affect the students' performance beside the course book. One of these is the learner himself and his readiness to learn. The communicative methodology is a learner-centered approach to language learning. This, however, doesn't lead to the conclusion that there is no role played by the teacher in this approach. To the contrary, a highly competent and imaginative teacher is a major requirement for the successful application of the approach, and this is the other important angle of the learning process triangle. So the fact that the second hypothesis has not been proved may not be attributed only to the textbook itself, but one or both of the other two factors may be the cause.
6.3 Recommendations and Suggestions for Further Research
1- Results have proved that the intralingual source of errors is the highest one among the three other sources. This result is due to the students' incomplete application of rules and their weakness in trying to understand the questions and the way these questions should be answered. Thus teachers are to be recommended to exert much effort with their students to develop their linguistic and communicative competence and thus their abilities to use the language. This can be done by activating students with daily quizzes and tests.
2- Errors due to the context of learning indicate that teachers should try to intensive their efforts to help students to differentiate the use of words of obligation and permission.
3- Learners find some kind of difficulty in dealing with some new types of language testing techniques like error recognition and error correction. Thus, experimenting with new testing techniques is more preferable than sticking to the traditional ones. It is hoped that these techniques and other new ones are to be used. Starting from this point, a study may be conducted to investigate the effectiveness of using some untraditional testing techniques on the way Iraqi learners usually perform in tests.
4- One result of the present study is that subjects' face difficulty in dealing with English tenses, and especially their use more than their structure. Consequently, it is to be recommended here that teachers should try to handle this point when identified. This could be done by intensive drilling and at later stages by pointing out this problem to the students. It is the task of the teacher to provide the extra drilling and the necessary exercising.
5- In this study the researcher has tried to show that in a communicative approach to language teaching, grammar is not an insignificant side-issue, rather, it is the very means by which learners become able to fulfill their communicative needs. Thus teachers are recommended here not to repeat the mistakes of the past, when grammar has often been taught as an end in itself, divorced from the role it performs in communication. Teachers should make use of the recent insights and affirms the importance of grammar as it enables people to communicate meanings. A suggestion can be made here for conducting an empirical study to investigate how the course approaches, for example the four skills, vocabulary or even pronunciation, and the effectiveness of this on the development of Iraqi learners in using the English language.
6- Teachers should change their attitude towards errors, at least to encourage the learners to use the language in the class without being worry about their errors. Students would use the language to express their feelings and attitudes instead of writing on some stale topics which are suggested by teachers.
The existence of errors has been a subject to all language- teaching theories as they represent an important aspect of second language learning. Thus one can recommend here that for correcting written works, it is accepted that the teacher should not correct the students' mistakes directly but instead, should put marks indicating that there is something wrong with the sentence. Thus students are able to correct themselves looking for the source of their errors. Furthermore, teachers should keep in mind that overemphasis on errors can frustrate learners' motivation. Here a further study may be conducted to investigate the different ways used by Iraqi teachers to correct their students' erroneous expressions, and how the newly adopted approach views this point, or how much the Iraqi teachers are serious in following the approach and its recommendations concerning the matter of correcting students' errors.
7- A major premise underlying this approach is its emphasis on learners' needs and interests. This implies that every teacher should modify the syllabus to correspond with the needs of the learners.
8- One problem with this kind of language teaching is that it is an approach not a method. The difference between the two is that methods are fixed teaching systems whereas approaches form the theory and leave the teaching system to the creativity and innovation of the teacher.
Thus teachers should try hard to shoulder the burdens of looking on their own for ways and techniques of teaching.
9- Decision makers should consider the fact that with the implementation of such kind of language teaching, our schools should be modernized as to cope with the new horizons in teaching. The structure of our schools is not designed for group work which is a major requirement of this method. That is, they are not acquainted with aids or facilities through which the application of such an approach would be successful. Loading classes with large numbers of students is a fact that would kill any effort towards language teaching in general, let alone applying this approach.
10- In the Iraqi language teaching and learning context, the change in the teaching materials by way of employing new syllabuses and the change in teaching approaches have not been paralleled by an attempt to achieve a change in the attitudes of teachers involved in implementing the curriculum innovation. Implementation of CLT can be more effective if teachers have strong attitude towards it. It is therefore recommended that policy makers, syllabus designers and other concerned bodies should take into account teachers' attitudes and beliefs. Beside, in adopting an innovation, it is important to consider the circumstances it is operating so that the communicative approach can fit well into the Iraqi context. To be more specific, though the syllabuses claim to be communicatively oriented, there seem to be a common understanding that the teachers' orientation about the different theories and principles of CLT approach is limited. In relation to the importance of teachers' attitudes and beliefs, Kleinsasser and Savignon (1991) as quoted by Karavas, argue:
In our quest for the improvement of language teaching, we
have overlooked the language teacher. Explorationâ€¦ of
teachers' perceptions of what they do and why they do it
holds promise for understanding the frequently noted
discrepancies between theoretical understanding of
second/foreign language acquisition and classroom practice
This shift of emphasis towards teachers' perceptions might be because, for one thing, knowledge is understood as the development of beliefs and attitudes. For another thing, teachers' perception of the practicality of new teaching practice (philosophical acceptance of an innovation) influences later implementation. It is also believed that teachers' actions are highly influenced by their beliefs and attitudes, even more than they are determined by their knowledge. Thus a further study may be conducted to investigate teachers' attitudes towards CLT and with the practical problems in its implementation.