Second language development through the lens of a dynamic usage-based approach

Irshad, F. M., 2015, [Groningen]: University of Groningen. 237 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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  • Fathima Mufeeda Irshad
Most universities across the globe offer English programs, but all programs offered are not equally effective. The reason could be because often large groups of unmotivated students with different levels of language proficiency are taught by teachers. This also happens at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Sri Lanka, where Mufeeda Irshad - as part of this dissertation - has investigated whether teaching English as a second language could be done better with a computer programme and a Dynamic Usage-Based (DUB) approach. Key words in DUB approaches are frequent input, repetition, and offering a meaningful context. The second language is taught holistically without explicit grammar instruction (Verspoor & Hong, 2013). In the present experiment, three groups (216 first year student) participated. One group followed the newly designed DUB computer programme; one group was taught the same DUB materials by a teacher. The third group followed the standard, teacher-directed method with grammar instruction. The results revealed that the students who followed the computer programme gained significantly more than the other two groups in general English proficiency and outperformed them on explicit grammar tasks, despite never having been taught grammatical rules as part of their intervention. The computer DUB group was also more positive about the intervention they had received. These results show that a computer can replace a teacher in a second language classroom to a great extent and explicit grammar training is not required. The next step is to develop this programme further and test it in different (cultural) contexts.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Verspoor, Marjolijn, Supervisor
  • Keijzer, Merel, Co-supervisor
  • Graaff, H.C.J. de, Assessment committee, External person
  • Schmid, Monika, Assessment committee
  • Thorne, Steven, Assessment committee
Award date12-Oct-2015
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8236-4
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8235-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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