The Neglected Combination: A Case for Explicit-Inductive Instruction in Teaching Pragmatics in ESL

  • Karen Glaser


A substantial part of interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) research has contrasted ex- plicit and implicit teaching designs, generally finding that explicit approaches— those featuring metapragmatic rule provision—are more effective than their implicit counterparts, which are characterized by the absence of metapragmatic information. A second dichotomy used to characterize instructional designs, that of deductive vs. inductive approaches, has received somewhat less attention. Con- cerned with the sequencing of the instruction rather than the criterion of whether or not to provide rules, this concerns the question of whether to choose (deductive) rules or (inductive) language use as the starting point of the instruction. Although the two dichotomies are interrelated, they are often unjustifiably merged, with the labels deductive and explicit, on the one hand, and inductive and implicit, on the other, being used interchangeably. This article illustrates the reasons for this oversimplification and argues that the resulting focus on the contrast of explicit-deductive and implicit-inductive designs has led to overlooking a third possible constellation: the explicit-inductive framework. Adopting a classroom perspective, the article further attempts to point out the advantages that this neglected combination can have for the teaching and learning of pragmatics in ESL.

Author Biography

Karen Glaser
Karen Glaser is a PhD candidate in English Linguistics at Leuphana University Lüneburg and an EFL instructor at Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany. Her research interests include interlanguage pragmatics, SLA, and language teaching methodology. Her teaching foci in the EFL classroom include pragmatics, intercultural awareness, and English for Academic Purposes.
How to Cite
Glaser, K. (2014). The Neglected Combination: A Case for Explicit-Inductive Instruction in Teaching Pragmatics in ESL. TESL Canada Journal, 30(7), 150.