Analysis of the Effectiveness of Contextual Guessing Activities: Grade 11 in Focus

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Addis Ababa University


This study was an attempt to analyze the effectiveness of contextual guessing activities being conducted at grade 11. It is specifically targeted to identify whether the passages and the sentences meant for contextual guessing activities are appropriate for the case. It also investigated whether EFL teachers train their learners a contextual guessing strategy. And finally, it checked if contextual guessing strategy training reinforces students' ability to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words form the context. To achieve its purpose, the research targeted three data sources; grade 11 textbook English for Grade 11 (2006), teachers, and students of grade 11 in two preparatory schools in Addis Ababa. The schools (Menilik and Bole) were selected by lot. As far as sampling technique is concerned, availability sampling technique was employed to select the teachers, whereas multiple techniques were used to get the target student-subjects. First, quota sampling was used to select equal number of students from each section of each school. Then, to select the allotted number of students simple random sampling was used. Accordingly, 216 students were selected from each school. A pre-test was administered. Then, 100 relatively homogenous (ability) students who scored 5 to 8 inclusive were selected from each school. These students were grouped into four according to their score; then each group was divided between experimental and control group by lot. Those in experimental group attended training on contextual guessing strategy for which a material was prepared by the researcher. At the end of the training, a post-test was given for both groups. The instruments used to collect data were analytical scale, two sets of questionnaires (for both teachers and students), classroom observation, and post-test. Analysis of the data was made using quantitative (frequency count and percentage) and qualitative methods. Results of the study showed that the ability to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words is important. Therefore, the inclusion of contextual guessing activities in the textbook is rewarding. However, the passages and the sentences meant for contextual guessing activities are not presented in a way to encourage intelligent guessing. Besides, the teachers' practices on the issue at hand were proved to be inadequate. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the students were not benefited from the contextual guessing activities conducted. In fact, it is found out that if necessary conditions, such as preparing contextual guessing activities with helpful guessing clues and allotting enough time for students to exercise looking for these clues in order to guess meanings of new words, are relatively fulfilled, the students may be able to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words from the context.



Contextual Guessing Activities