Enhancing Thai Engineering Students’ Complaints and Apologies through Pragmatic Consciousness-Raising Approach (PCR)

Uraiwan Rattanapan Noonkong, Anamai Damnet, Kanjana Charttrakul

Abstract


Successful communication requires “Pragmatic Competence” or abilities to use appropriate language in transferring one’s needs while maintaining a positive relationship with the interactant (Thomas, 1995; Leech, 1983). This study was an attempt to investigate the pragmatic competence of Thai Engineering students when making complaints and apologies through twelve sessions of a pragmatic consciousness-raising approach (PCR). Perceptions toward the innovative teaching activities were also examined. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to collect data from forty-five engineering students (n=45) at a university in Thailand. Pre-test and posttest written discourse completion tests (WDCTs) were administered and a semi-structured interview was conducted. Three native speaker raters scored the performances through WDCTs using assessment criteria from Hudson (2001) and Duan (2008). For data analysis, paired-samples t-test was employed to compare the mean scores of students, while the researcher employed a Grounded Theory’s color coding technique (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) to generate the findings on students’ perceptions about the innovative methods implemented. The results revealed significant development of students’ pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic abilities in both complaints and apologies. Furthermore, participants perceived the PCR class to be beneficial in four areas: having more awareness of the impacts of social factors in language use, realizing the favor of indirect strategies, more understanding of nonverbal communication, and provision of motivating class atmosphere. However, some participants concerned about three aspects: inadequate confidence to use expressions learned in class in real communication, insufficient endeavor to develop grammar knowledge, and the test abilities of the roleplay test. The results confirm the teachability of pragmatic and the benefits of PCR in EFL contexts; whereas, students’ concern about learning through the approach might be helpful for further teaching practices. 


Keywords


Pragmatic Competence, Complaints, Apologies, Appropriateness, Pragmatic Consciousness-Raising (PCR)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.8n.6p.92

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