Capstone/Dissertation Title

Aspect Instruction and Narrative Inferencing

Term

Fall 11-3-2016

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAESL

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Andreas Schramm

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Susan Krech

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Carina Beauvais

Abstract

The guiding questions in this research project are Does explicitly teaching aspect to advanced-level adult learners of English lead to greater understanding of causal inferences in narrative context? Does a delayed post-test show that teaching contributes to integration into learners’ knowledge base for later acquisition and not just lead to intake? Aspect is a complicated semantic domain so in many ways it remains difficult for students to learn, understand, and apply. The motivating factor for this research was to incorporate textual enhancement with explicit instruction in order to assist students in noticing aspect and in making correct inferences. This study aims to combine textual enhancement in narratives using color (orange and blue) with explicit instruction of aspect to help EL students make inferences while reading narratives. Noticing, processing, and retaining aspectual forms in long-term working memory (LTWM) and in long-term memory (LTM) were assessed. Results showed that after instruction, students were likely to notice imperfective aspect (LTWM) but were likely to integrate perfective aspect (LTM) into their mental representation of text. There was a noticeable increase in retention of ability to correctly notice perfective aspect (LTWM) over time, as shown in the delayed post-tests; however, these results were not retained over time with respect to imperfective aspect (LTM), as a minimal decrease of imperfective in the mental representation (LTM) was noted in the delayed post-tests. It appears teaching imperfective aspect boosts working-memory awareness and long-term memory, but eventually subsides over time.

Research Methodology

Action Research

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Education Commons

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