Native-speakers tend to stress communicative fluency while non-native speakers tend to stress linguistic accuracy in error treatment : a classroom study conducted within the jurisdiction of the English language program in the Academic Division of Saudi Aramco Training Department
thesisposted on 06.10.2009, 10:03 by Nafez Hamdan Salim Shahin
Within the context of communicative language Teaching, teachers have a tendency to stress communicative fluency rather than linguistic accuracy in error treatment. This study uses Aramco ESL teachers, students, and classes where teachers from different-educational backgrounds teach English to adult Saudi employees within its English language program, as an example to explore this tendency. The study hypothesis that native-speakers, given their different educational background tend to stress communicative fluency while the non-native speakers tend to stress linguistic accuracy. Hence, the study attempts to present an account of how these teachers look at errors and how they treat them in class, to reach some findings about this hypothesis. The study applies multiple methods in data collection including a teacher's questionnaire designed by the researcher, followed by classroom observations along with audio-recordings of those classes. The classroom observation scheme used is adapted from Spada and Frohlich's COLT observation Scheme-Part A- (Communicative Orientation of Language Teaching). The students' preferences to error treatment were also explored by using a students' questionnaire designed by the researcher, to add dimensions to the findings. To analyse elements in the research context, Likert Scale for coding responses to the questionnaires was used to provide numbers and percentages for analysis. Then, samples of classroom discourse collected from the audio-recorded observations were transcribed to analyse teachers behavior toward errors in class. To add further dimensions to the findings, the findings were discussed in view of Chaudron's illustration in his model: Features and Types of Corrective Reaction in the Model of Discourse. The findings were also discussed in view of Chaudron's Table: Rate of Error Production and Teacher Treatment, for the same reason. By using Chaudron's model and table in the discussion, the study aims to provide a sound interpretation of the strategies that Aramco teachers use to treat errors and whether these strategies reflect principles of Communicative Language Teaching. The study identifies several distinctive issues from the research context including opinions and beliefs of Aramco teachers and students about errors treatment. It also identifies types of strategies these teachers use in treating their students' errors in class, and provides conclusions that demonstrate that both NSs and NNSs have beliefs and strategies that promote both communicative fluency and linguistic accuracy although NNSs showed noticeable tendency for linguistic accuracy more than their native-speaking counterparts did.