A Video-driven Approach to Promoting Pragmatic Development in the Context of English as a Foreign Language
Keywords: onsciousness-raising, complaints, metapragmatic instruction, pragmatic development, speech acts, video-driven prompts
While pragmatic competence has proven to be teachable over the past three decades, determining the most appropriate and effective approach to facilitating English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ pragmatic development is still a central concern for researchers of interlanguage pragmatics (ILP). An investigation into the effects of video-driven prompts on less-studied and more complex teaching speech acts, such as complaints, will significantly supplement the inconclusive results of pragmatic interventional studies in foreign language contexts. To this end, the present study aims to investigate the effects of metapragmatic instruction on English complaints through the implementation of video-driven prompts to raise Saudi female EFL students’ awareness of the pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic aspects associated with the production of appropriate and accurate target-like complaints during one academic semester. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to collect data from 62 English majors, assigned to an experimental group (n = 31) and a conventional group (n = 31), at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. To elicit the required data, a proficiency test and pre-/post-test written discourse completion tests (WDCT) were distributed among participants. The results of the post- test demonstrated significant improvement in participants’ pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic skills in the production of English complaints. The experimental group immensely outperformed the control group due to their exposure to authentic, contextualized video excerpts. The study supports the teachability of complaints as well as the benefits of incorporating metapragmatic awareness tasks based on contextually authentic input, which can, in turn, accelerate EFL students’ ability to produce pragmatically appropriate and accurate target-like complaints.