Unpacking the Nexus between Teachers' Awareness of Pragmatics Instruction and Their Classroom Practices

Document Type : Original Article


1 Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran


Developing learners' pragmatic competence is claimed to be influenced by teachers' awareness of pragmatic instruction. However, this awareness and the way teachers teach pragmatics in their classrooms have been rarely explored. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the extent of English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers' metapragmatic awareness and their instruction of pragmatic features. To achieve this goal, a 30-item questionnaire was adapted and administered to 300 EFL teachers and analyzed in terms of the four components of the questionnaire, including Language teachers, Language learners, Colleagues and institutes, and Coursebooks and exams. Moreover, the classes of 30 teachers were observed based on a 20-item observation checklist that was developed by the researchers and analyzed qualitatively. Results indicated that the teachers' awareness of pragmatics was relatively high only in one of the components of pragmatic awareness, namely language teachers. However, observation results indicated that they did not consistently teach pragmatic features in their classes. In addition, it was revealed that, except for the component of Language teachers, the differences between less and more experienced teachers' mean scores on the other components of pragmatic awareness questionnaire were not statistically significant. The low levels of awareness and corresponding practice could be attributed to the fact that meager attention is devoted to pragmatic instruction in teaching education programs.


Alcón-Soler, E. (2015). Pragmatic learning and study abroad: Effects of instruction and length of stay. System, 48(1), 62-74.
Alemi, M., & Tajeddin, Z. (2020). Reflection and good language teachers. In C. Griffiths & Z. Tajeddin (Eds.), Lessons from good language teachers (pp. 41-53). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. (2010). Language assessment in practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2013). Developing L2 pragmatics. Language Learning, 63(1), 68-86.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2016a). Pragmatics and second language acquisition. In R. Kaplan (Ed.), The handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 232-243). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2016b). How formulaic is pragmatics? In K. Bardovi-Harlig, & J.C. Félix-Brasdefer (Eds.), Pragmatics and language learning, (Vol. 14, pp. 325-340). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i, National Foreign Language Resource Center.
Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Dörnyei, Z. (1998). Do language learners recognize pragmatic violations? Pragmatic versus grammatical awareness in instructed L2 learning. TESOL Quarterly, 32(2), 220-233.
Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Griffin, R. (2005). L2 pragmatic awareness: Evidence from the ESL classroom. System, 33(3), 401-415.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. & Mossman, S. & Su, Y. (2017). The effect of corpus-based instruction on pragmatic routines. Language Learning and Technology, 21, 76-103.
Basturkmen, H., & Nguyen, T. T. M. (2017). Teaching pragmatics. In A. Barron, Y. Gu & G. Steen (Eds.). The Routledge handbook of pragmatics (pp. 563-574). New York, NY: Routledge.
Byram, M. (2014). Twenty-five years on – from cultural studies to intercultural citizenship. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 27(3), 209-225.
Cohen, A. D. (2016). The teaching of pragmatics by native and nonnative language teachers: What they know and what they report doing. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 6(4), 561-585.
Culpeper, J., Mackey, A., & Taguchi, N. (2018). Second language pragmatics: From theory to research. New York, NY: Routledge.
Derakhshan, A., & Arabmofrad, A. (2018). The impact of instruction on the pragmatic comprehension of speech acts of apology, request, and refusal among Iranian intermediate EFL learners. English Teaching & Learning, 42(1), 75-94.
Derakhshan, A., & Eslami, Z. R. (2020). The effects of metapragmatic awareness, interactive translation, and discussion through video-enhanced input on the Iranian upper- intermediate EFL learners’ comprehension of implicatures. Applied Research on English Language, 9(1), 637-664.
Ekin, M. T. Y., & Damar, E. A. (2013). Voices from the young learner classrooms: If I were …. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 93, 602-606.
Eslami-Rasekh, Z (2005). Raising the pragmatic awareness of language learners. ELT Journal, 59(3), 199-207.
Eslami-Rasekh, Z. (2011). In    their    own    voices:    Reflections    of    native    and    nonnative    English    speaking    TESOL    graduate    students    on    on-line    pragmatic    instruction    to    EFL    learners. TESL-EJ, 15(2), 1-21.
Freeman, D. (2001). Second language teacher education. In R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.). The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Glaser, K. (2018). Enhancing the role of pragmatics in primary English teacher training. Glottodidactica: An International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 45(2), 119-131.
Hagiwara, A. (2010).  Journal watch.  Pragmatic Matters, 11(1), 3-4.
Ishihara, N. (2011). Co-constructing pragmatic awareness: Instructional pragmatics in EFL teacher development in Japan. TESL-EJ, 15(2). Retrieved from http://tesl-org/wordpress/issues/volume15/ej58/ej58a2/
Ishihara, N., & Cohen, A. (2010). Teaching and learning pragmatics: Where language and culture meet. New York, NY: Routledge.
Jeon, E.-H., & Kaya, T. (2006). Effects of L2 instruction on interlanguage pragmatic development. In J. M. Norris & L. Ortega (Eds.), Synthesizing research on language learning and teaching (pp. 165-211). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Köylü, Y. (2018). Comprehension of conversational implicatures in L2 English. Intercultural Pragmatics, 15(3), 373-408.
McConachy, T. (2017). Developing intercultural perspectives on language use: Exploring pragmatics and culture in foreign language learning. Retrieved from https://researchgate.net/publication/317401525.
Martínez-Flor, A. (2008). The effect of inductive-deductive teaching approach to develop learners' use of request modifiers in the EFL classroom. In E. Alcón (Ed.), Learning how to request in an instructed language learning context (pp. 191-226). Bern: Peter Lang.
Meihami, H., & Khanlarzadeh, M. (2015). Pragmatic content in global and local ELT textbooks: A micro analysis study. Sage Open, 8, 25-37.
Mohammad-Bagheri, M. (2015). The status of pragmatics among Iranian EFL Learners. English Language Teaching, 8(4), 67-90.
Niezgoda, K., & Roever, C. (2001). Pragmatic and grammatical awareness: A function of learning environment? In K. Rose & G. Kasper (Eds.), Pragmatics in language teaching (pp. 63-79). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Pallant, J. (2013). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using IBM SPSS (4th ed.). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Papay, J. P., & Kraft, M. A. (2015). Productivity returns to experience in the teacher labor market: methodological challenges and new evidence on long-term career improvement. Journal of Public Economics, 130(1), 105-119.
Pasternak, M., & Bailey, K. (2004). Preparing nonnative and native English-speaking Teachers: Issues of professionalism and proficiency. In L.  Kamhi-Stein (Ed.), Learning and teaching from experience (pp. 155-176).  Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Phipps, S., & Borg, S. (2009). Exploring tensions between teachers' grammar teaching beliefs and practices. System, 37(2), 380-390.
Plonsky, L., & Zhuang, J. (2019). A meta-analysis of second language pragmatics instruction. In N. Taguchi (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and pragmatics (pp. 287-307). New York, NY: Routledge.
Povolná, R. (2014). Pragmatic awareness and its role in teacher education. Vienna English Working Papers, 4(3), 111-118.
Rose, K. R. (2005). On the effects of instruction in second language pragmatics. System, 33(2), 385-399.
Savic, M. (2018). Lecturer perceptions of im/politeness and in/appropriateness in student e-mail requests: A Norwegian perspective. Journal of Pragmatics, 124(1), 52-72.
Savvidou, C., & Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2019). Intercultural communication education teaching pragmatics: Nonnative-speaker teachers' knowledge, beliefs and reported practices. Intercultural Communication Education, 2(1), 39-58.
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013) Using multivariate statistics. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Taguchi, N. (2011). The effect of L2 proficiency and study-abroad experience in pragmatic comprehension. Language Learning, 61(3), 904-939.
Taguchi, N. (2012). Context, individual differences and pragmatic competence. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Taguchi, N. (2015). Instructed pragmatics at a glance: Where instructional studies were, are, and should be going. Language Teaching, 48(1), 1-50.
Taguchi, N. (Ed.). (2019). The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and pragmatics. New York: Routledge.
Taguchi, N., & Roever, C. (2017). Second language pragmatics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Taguchi, N., & Yamaguchi, S. (2019). Implicature comprehension in L2 pragmatics research. In Taguchi, N. (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and pragmatics (pp. 31-46). New York, NY: Routledge.
Tajeddin, Z., & Alemi, M. (2014). Criteria and bias in native English teachers’ assessment of L2 pragmatic appropriacy: Content and FACETS analyses. Asia Pacific Educational Research, 23(3), 425-434.
 Tajeddin, Z., & Shirkhani, S. (2017). Pragmatic corrective feedback in L2 classrooms: Investigating EFL teachers' perceptions and instructional practices. Teaching English Language, 11(2), 25-56.
Tatsuki, D. H., & Houck, N. R. (2010a). Pragmatics from research to practice: Teaching speech acts. In D. H. Tatsuki & N. R. Houck (Eds.), Pragmatics: Teaching speech acts (pp. 1-6). Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Vasques, C., & Sharpless, D. (2009). The role of pragmatics in the master's TESOL curriculum: Findings from a nationwide survey. TESOL Quarterly, 43(1), 5-28.