Developing Multiple-Choice Discourse Completion Tasks as Pedagogical Materials in L2 Pragmaticserials in L2 Pragmatics

Yuanshan Chen, D. Victoria Rau


This study reports the development of pragmatics teaching materials in the format of multiple-choice discourse completion tasks (MDCTs) by two groups of American in-service TESOL teachers in the United States. One advantage of using MDCTs as pedagogical materials in L2 pragmatics instruction is that they incorporate positive (i.e., the key) and negative (i.e., the distractors) evidence, both of which have been demonstrated to facilitate language learning in SLA research. The other advantage is that they prepare students for multiple-choice standardized tests, which are very common in test-oriented educational systems like Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea. In this study, we asked one group of teachers to design MDCTs based on social appropriateness. Four months later, we asked the other group of teachers to rate and comment on the content and form of the learner speech act data. Each teacher was then required to construct a multiple-choice pragmatics task with a balance between social appropriateness and grammatical accuracy. We close our paper by discussing the pragmatics tasks created by these teachers and suggesting construction principles as a guide to teaching, learning and assessing L2 pragmatic competence.

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