A Comparative Study of two Second Language Teaching Approaches:I The Language AcqUisition and Conscious Rule-Learning Approaches

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


This study was conducted in order to determine whether the Language Acquisition Approach to language teaching is more effective and functional than the Conscious Rule-learning Approach in enhancing students' proficiency in English. Six sections of freshman Social Sciences students were selected and assigned into two groups, the study group and the control group, by lot. A pretest was given before the study started and the results showed that the~was no significant dif~erence in English language proficienoy among the groups. The three sections of the study group were supplied with a set of topics - topics that freshmen would find meaningful and interesting, and that are related to their courses. The students were expected to select topics and initiate discussions. Each study group class was divided into small discussion groups consisting of a maximum of four students. These small groups worked independently in the selection and treatment of the topics. Each member had a turn to come prepared and present his views to others on topics assigned to him. To keep the students busy, each member was then expected to write a report on what the group discussed. Teacher's role was reduced to co-ordinating the activities and acting as a partner. The control group which had three sections was supplied with teaching materials based on the Conscious Rule-learning Approach. The materials consisted of adequate linguistic descriptions of selected items, i.e., the descriptions of the uses of "would," "could", "should" and conditional sentences, and adequate exercises that would help to form the desired habits. They consisted of oral drills and simple sentence completion exercises. The teacher had the dominant role and errors were deliberately and tirelessly corrected. After six weeks, a post-test was given and the results showed a significant difference in language proficiency between the study groups and the control groups. A twotailed t-test at a significance level of 0.05 was used to determine the significance difference between the means of .the groups. On the basis of the findings, it was recommended that non-native speakers ehould be taught English using the Language Acquisition Approach. Moreover, it was recommended that research must be conducted on ways of designing syllabus, methodology. preparation of teaching materials and evaluating performances based on the Language Acquisition Approach



Language AcqUisition