Towards Self-Expression in L2 Classrooms: The Effect of Explicit Teaching of Story Structures on EFL learners’ Narrative Ability

| May 1, 2010
Towards Self-Expression in L2 Classrooms: The Effect of Explicit Teaching of Story Structures on EFL learners Narrative Ability

Keywords: narrative, story structures, narrative proficiency, retelling stories, evaluation

Esmat Babaii
University for Teacher Education, Iran

Zahra Yazdanpanah
Islamic Azad University, Lar Branch, Iran

Bio Data
Esmat Babaii received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from Shiraz University, Iran. She is currently an assistant professor, teaching discourse analysis, language testing, research methods and contrastive rhetoric. She is interested in discourse analysis, assessment, functional linguistics, appraisal theory and narrative studies. She has published widely in local and international journals.

Zahra Yazdanpanah received her MA in Applied Linguistics from Khatam Institute of Higher Education, Iran. She is currently an EFL instructor at Islamic Azad University and Payam-e-Noor University. Her areas of interest include learning strategies and narrative structure with special focus on Bakhtin s voicing and Goffman s footing.

Retelling stories, as an instance of guided speaking, can be an effective strategy to enhance learners communicative output and class participation. In many EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classes, however, this effective strategy is rarely exploited to its full potential, and the usual performance on the part of students is hardly anything better than a partially memorized impersonal report. The current study set out to investigate whether this deficiency is due to the learners linguistic incompetence or their unfamiliarity with narrative macrostructures. To this end, 60 intermediate-level EFL students were assigned to two classes of experimental and control, where the experimental group received explicit instruction on narrative story structures (Polanyi, 1979; Liskin-Gasparro, 1996). Results indicated that learners in the experimental group outperformed those in the control group regarding storytelling abilities. Although suffering from similar linguistic inadequacies as their peers in the control group, they seemed to have developed skills to meet narrative demands of story telling; specifically, they had learned how to inject their emotions, attitudes and evaluative stance into their story, and make it worthy and different from merely reporting a sequence of events occurring in the past. The sense of achievement through self-expression, as attested by the participants, was another advantage of this experiment.

See pages: 4-19

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 44