A Case Study on EFL Teachers’ Views on Material Adaptation for Teaching Pragmatics

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Civelek M., Karatepe Ç.

Paper presented at the VIth International Conference on Research in Applied Linguistics (ICRAL2020), Bursa, Turkey, 24 - 26 October 2020

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Bursa
  • Country: Turkey
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Textbooks are indispensable components of language classrooms; however, recent research has documented that they are unsatisfactory in terms of pragmatic information (Barron 2016; Crandall & Baştürkmen, 2004; Gilmore, 2004; Ren & Han 2016). Previous studies have documented that the features of pragmatics are teachable, and that explicit teaching can be more effective in EFL teaching contexts where textbooks are one of the few sources readily available for teachers and learners. the presentation of the use of these features looks sketchy and fails to provide a good source of language use in real contexts. Due to this limitation, teachers are sometimes need to adapt existing textbook activities for teaching these features, such as speech acts. 

This study investigated a group of Turkish EFL teachers' views on an adapted activity for the instruction of pragmatics. the second aim of the study was whether there was a significant difference between the views of EFL teachers who had taken  a course on pragmatics and the ones who had not. A dialogue activity from a textbook which was adapted by the researchers. The adaptation was based on the findings of the previous research (Barron, 2016; Karatepe & Yılmaz 2018; Ishihara & Cohen 2010; Siegel 2016). 

The paricipants were 77 Turkish EFL teachers (19 male and 58 female) who were teaching different age groups. The participants were given a questionnaire with 29 statements and asked to evaluate the adapted activity for teaching pragmatics. The reliability of the questionnaire was calculated by using Cronbach's ¤ and found to be reliable ( .929). Moreover, it was examined by two experts (one of them teaches material design to EFL teacher candidates and the other has got a PhD in Interlanguage Pragmatics) and three Turkish EFL teachers. After consulting their opinions, the wording of the statements and the presentation of the terminology related to pragmatics (e.g. head act) were revised and rewritten. In addition, some of the participants  were also interviewed to elicit further information on their specifc views on the adapted activity.

Frequency analysis and independent samples t-test were employed to analyse the questionnaire data. The frequency analysis revealed that teachers had positive views on the modified version of the activity under investigation. The independent t-test results documented that there was no significant difference betwen the views of the teachers, who had taken a course on pragmatics during their teacher training, and the ones who had not. These results were supported by the interview data analysis findings. The information given by the interviewees revealed that teachers regard material adaptation for the instruction of these features as a must. However, they admitted that none of them had made such adaptations as they thought they were not equipped with a satisfying level of knowledge on pragmatics and material development to this end. Therefore, they stated that they did not feel competent for adapting textbook activities for the instruction of pragmatics. 

The findings indicate that topics related to teaching the features of pragmatics are not fully represented in teacher training programmes. Since even the teachers who took a pragmatics related course do not feel confident enough to make materials adaptation, a specific aspect of creating / adapting materials for the pupose of teaching pragmatics can be integrated with the existing courses in teacher training programmes.