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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An exploration of the explicit instruction of discourse markers on ESL readers’ production of oral language Hewitt, Geraldine


English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) students who attend academic institutions are required to communicate orally about the texts they read but are often anxious about their oral language proficiency. They, as well as their instructors, have noted that oral production for ESL students can be problematic particularly in classrooms where English is the dominant language. While previous research has examined the written work of ESL students, this study explores the production of their oral language. Fourteen intermediate level ESL students at a mid-sized college/university in British Columbia received explicit instruction in discourse marker use through either a question-and-answer series or a graphic representation of the knowledge structure of principles or cause and effect (Mohan, 1986). Participants analyzed the text for key ideas and for markers that are conventionally recognized in cause and effect discourse, then recalled the text orally. Through pre and post-tests, a written questionnaire, a semi-controlled task in constructing graphics and in-depth analyses of participants' oral samples, the effects of explicit instruction on the production of oral language were researched. Findings were expressed as observations with implications for facilitating ESL students' oral production of cause and effect discourse and possibly for their notemaking so that they might integrate the language and content they require for their academic studies.

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