How Does Explicit and Implicit Instruction of Formal Meta-discourse Markers Affect Learners’ Oral Proficiency?

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Foreign Languages, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of English, Abadeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh, Iran


Meta-discourse markers are an inevitable part of oral proficiency which improve both the quality and comprehension of learners’ speech. While studies of oral meta-discourse have been conducted since the 1980s in a European or US context, they have remained relatively untouched in Iran. Therefore, this study aimed to seek the impact of both explicit and implicit teaching of formal meta-discourse markers on EFL learners’ oral proficiency. To this end, the quantitative data were collected from ninety upper-intermediate students at Shiraz University Language Center. Two groups went through an instruction for an eight-session treatment. However the experimental group ‘B’ (N=45) were instructed the formal meta-discourse markers implicitly, the target formal meta-discourse markers were taught to the experimental group ‘A’ (N=45) explicitly. To compare the participants’ performances, an SOPI (Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview) posttest was administered. The results revealed that the instruction of meta-discourse markers had a positive effect on the learners’ oral outcome. Moreover, the findings showed that learners who received explicit method of teaching formal meta-discourse markers could perform better in speaking than learners who received implicit instruction. The findings can have pedagogical implications for EFL educators and materials developers to enhance learners’ oral proficiency. The findings also provide important insight into the effect of teaching discourse markers and raising learners’ awareness through explicit instruction to make pupils produce more cohesive and coherent speech.


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  • Receive Date: 06 April 2020
  • Revise Date: 19 June 2020
  • Accept Date: 12 September 2020
  • First Publish Date: 12 September 2020