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Embedding ICT to teach and assess the pragmatic targets of refusals and disagreements in spoken English

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This report evaluates the effectiveness of using ICT tools for the development of pragmatic competence in the classroom.

Participants received explicit instruction on how to formulate appropriate refusals and disagreements in English, using online language practice activities and animated role plays. Performance was measured before and after instruction, against a control group receiving no instruction. Participants also completed post-instruction interviews to find out to what extent they believed the instruction and practice tools to be helpful for language learning. Findings from the research show that the use of a variety of online software can facilitate pragmatics instruction by supporting learners to notice and develop their productive pragmatics skills. Furthermore, participants showed greater improvements in using mitigation strategies in refusals – a feature which was underdeveloped before instruction.

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