The Effect of Explicit vs. Implicit Instruction on the Learnability of English Consonant Clusters by Iranian Learners of English

Ruhollah Khanbeiki, Seyed Jalal Abdolmanafi-Rokni


The present study was aimed at providing the English teachers across Iran with a good and fruitful method of teaching pronunciation. To this end, sixty female intermediate EFL learners were put in three different but equivalent groups of 20 based on the results of a pronunciation pre-test. One of the groups received explicit instruction including exposure to the correct pronunciation of consonant clusters, extra examples, and explanations. The kind of treatment for the second group was implicit including only exposure to the correct pronunciation of such clusters. The third group, serving as the control group, received no instruction on pronunciation. After ten sessions of instruction, all the participants were provided with the post-test in which they were to read aloud 50 words containing initial and final consonant clusters while they were recorded. The results of ANOVA showed that although they were all the same in the pre-test, they had performed differently on the post-test, demonstrating that different treatments had various impacts on learning pronunciation. The results of Tukey test showed that although the participants in the implicit group had progressed during the course, the explicit instruction was the best method in improving participants' pronunciation. To compare the groups’ mean scores two by two, t-test was also used. The results of this test showed that explicit instruction is better than the implicit instruction which in turn is better than the control group.

Keywords: pronunciation, consonant cluster, explicit teaching, implicit teaching 

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