The study aims to analyze the theoretical underpinning of the design technique of formal-informal contextual alternation in scripted role-plays for teaching and learning English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and the practical effects it bears upon the communicative skills of ESP learners at levels above B1 (CEFR) as compared to a traditional predominantly-formal contextual design. The experiment was conducted with 30 adult participants employed in different areas of industry who all expressed an interest in learning Business English among other special varieties like Technical and Legal English. The experiment consists of two teaching modules with order counter-balance of the intervention. The paper focuses on qualitative results based on participants’ opinions about the application of the formal-informal design technique for the purposes of teaching and learning ESP. Learners’ comments are quoted, categorised and contextualised. Findings of significant importance are described and analysed. One of the important findings is the learners’ higher in-class communicative willingness and strengthened confidence in dealing with specialised literature as a result of the applied formal-informal contextual alternation technique within the ESP scripted role-plays. Another is related with the effect of the design technique on target ESP vocabulary retention rates. An emerging hypothesis based on researcher’s observations at this point is that the amount of informality within the scriptual contextual design is directly linked with the degree of imperceptible learning that takes place.
Irina Stoykova Dimitrova, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria
Stream: Innovative language teaching and learning methodologies
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