Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effects of Content-Based Instruction on the Writing Skills of Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effects of Content-Based Instruction on the Writing Skills of Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Content-based language instruction (CBLI) and task based-language instruction (TBLI) are two kinds of integrated-skill instruction. Content-based language instruction places emphasis on learning content through language, whereas task-based language instruction stresses doing tasks that require communicative language use. Both of these instructions benefit from a wide range of materials, textbooks, and technologies for English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. Learners get to practice all language skills in a highly integrated, and communicative fashion, while they learn content such as mathematics, science, and social studies in content-based instruction (CBI).

In CBI, integrating language and content is the main concern of teaching a foreign or second language (FL/L2). The rationale behind CBI is to empower learners to become autonomous and go on with the learning process beyond the classroom. The significant aspect of CBI is on motivation and attitudes of students towards language learning.

It is posited that providing language learners with opportunities to learn a language through the medium of subject matter might be a fruitful vehicle to enhance learners' motivation. Considering the fact that writing is least desired and most difficult among the four skills, enhanced motivation acts as a facilitator and assists learners in developing their writing abilities. This study aims to investigate the possible impact of CBI on Iranian intermediate ESP learners' writing ability. Being cognizant of the efficacy of CBI and the fact that the autonomy of ESP learners is a valuable vehicle to success, necessitates it to conduct this research on the efficacy of CBI in a new context of intermediate Iranian university students.

The literature on CBLI has demonstrated high applicability of this approach in academic contexts in meeting the learners' needs. Thus, studying its impact on a new contexts, Iranian universities would be helpful to endorse the applicability of this approach. Peachy (2003) holds that learners would also benefit from the following advantages: CBI can make the learning of a language a more interesting and motivating experience. Deploying language to fulfil a real purpose, can provide an environment conducive to the autonomy and self-esteem of learners. CBI can provide students with opportunities to widen and deepen their knowledge of the world. CBI has become popular among EAP instructors since it is proved helpful in developing valuable study skills in learners.

Research Question & Hypothesis

Does content-based instruction have a significant impact on the writing abilities of Iranian intermediate ESP learners?

H0. Content based instruction has no significant impact on the writing abilities of Iranian intermediate ESP learners.

As the CBI effects might vary on ESP learners with different levels of writing proficiency, the result of this study might not be extrapolated to all university students. In this study the effect of CBI was only performed on the intermediate learners of ESP course.

2. Literature Review

Content-based instruction (CBI) teaches academic subject matters and second language skills concurrently (Brinton, Snow, and Welsch, 1989, cited in Shang, 2006). According to Krashen (1982, cited in Shang, 2006), in content-based instruction, learners can acquire the content of the subject matter with comprehensible input, and increase their language skills simultaneously. According to Larsen- Freeman (2000), '' the special contribution of content-based instruction is that it integrates the learning of language with the learning of some other content, often academic subject matter'' (p. 137).

The theoretical basis for CBI is founded on educational and cognitive psychology. CBI provides a number of conditions deemed necessary for being successful at L2 acquisition. CBI is founded on two central principles: 1. …

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