Do ESL students enrolled in informal classes which emphasize conversation with native-speakers of English experience greater gains in English proficiency than do ESL students enrolled in formal or traditional ESL classes which do not emphasize conversation with native speakers? This study was designed to answer this question.
Subjects in the study consisted of Arab ESL students, all of whom had been originally taught English by non-native speakers of the language and who were now taking ESL classes with native-speakers of English. All subjects were pre- and posttested using a researcher-designed instrument measuring language proficiency. The instrument was designed using the cloze procedure.
One half of the students were assigned to ESL classes where conversation with native speakers of English was not emphasized (the formal instructional environment condition) and the remaining one half of the students were assigned to ESL classes which emphasized conversations with native speakers of English (the informal instructional environment condition). Both classes provided 15 hours of instruction per week for 15 weeks.
A comparison of the pretest scores of students in both condition using the t-test analysis evidenced no significant difference indicating that both groups of subjects began the study equated for English language proficiency. A comparison of the posttest scores of students revealed that students in the informal instructional environment condition experienced greater gains in English language proficiency than did students in the formal instructional environment condition. Based on these findings it was concluded that ESL classes emphasizing conversation with native speakers of English are superior in terms of producing English language proficiency than are ESL classes which do not emphasize conversation with native speakers of English.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether the English Language P...