Raising awareness of unstressed words for dictation accuracy: A study on the effects of task and Japanese EFL learners’ proficiency and attitude

2017 IJRSLL – Volume 6 Issue 1


Ofuka, Etsuko*
Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan (ofuka@st.kobepharma-u.ac.jp)

Gilbert, Joan E.
Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan (z98325@kwansei.ac.jp)


This study investigates whether or not an intervention task improved the dictation accuracy of 578 Japanese college students with different majors and English proficiency levels. The task consisted of (a) cloze dictation, focusing on unstressed functional elements; (b) collaborative group completion of cloze dictation activities; and (c) output, which was shadowing of the dictation sentences. The study used one control group and two experimental groups. One experimental group did the activities of (a) and (b), while the other experimental group did all three activities. The intervention effect was assessed by recognition of unstressed functional elements (UF) through pre-post dictation tests. Statistically significant results were noted in the dictation accuracy progress for the experimental groups, but the effectiveness of the output activity was inconclusive. The participants’ fields of study and proficiency levels, which were determined by their pretest scores, were also found to influence their post-dictation performance. The lowest English-level participants made the most progress but were unable to make the same progress on UF items that upper-level participants did. The effect of the intervention was also assessed by participants’ self-reported strategic use of paying attention to UF (AUF) through pre-post questionnaires, but the intervention was not significantly related to changes in AUF scores. It was found that pre-AUF scores were related to pre-dictation performance, and participants with higher pre-AUF scores demonstrated higher task performance. Educators could use this type of intervention, which could be implemented easily in any type of classroom, to improve EFL learners’ dictation accuracy.

Keywords: cloze dictation; collaborative group discussions; learners’ readiness; field of study; learning strategy


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2016.1352

*Corresponding Author