Hashemi Shahraki, Sara*
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (email@example.com)
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (firstname.lastname@example.org)
English Department, University of Isfahan, Iran (email@example.com)
While the teachability of second language (L2) pragmatics has been the subject of considerable recent research interest (e.g. Bardovi-Harlig, 2011; Murray, 2011), testing the ability to infer implicatures in L2 has received limited attention (Roever, 2006). This study, therefore, tested the applicability of Group dynamic assessment (G-DA), rooted in Vygotskian socio-cultural theory (SCT), in assessing intermediate learners’ pragmatic knowledge of conversational implicatures in the context of listening while simultaneously identifying the mediational strategies that can nurture the development of this knowledge. To this end, 50 English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners of two intermediate intact classes at a language institute in Iran were selected to participate in this study (experimental group=24 and control group=26). Both groups went through a multi-assessment procedure in the format of dynamic and non-dynamic pretest -enrichment phase- dynamic and non-dynamic posttest. Only the experimental group received mediational support during the ten-week G-DA procedure. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative data analyses. The qualitative analysis of G-DA interactions led to the detection of nine mediational strategies ranging in their degree of explicitness. Moreover, both qualitative and quantitative data analyses revealed that the mediational support offered resulted in significant changes in the listening ability of the learners improving their pragmatic understanding of conversational implicatures. The findings may be revealing in that they support G-DA and its applicability to Second Language (L2) listening comprehension and pragmatics instruction.
Keywords: group dynamic assessment; socio-cultural theory; conversational implicatures; listening comprehension; intermediate EFL learners