The Effect of Mechanical and Meaningful Drills on the Acquisition of Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
This study tested the hypothesis of the superiority of meaningful drills over mechanical drills in teaching comparative and superlative adjectives to high school students. A convenience sample of 84 male high school freshmen took part in this study. They were matched based on their pre-test scores and constituted the control and experimental groups, 42 in each group. The participants in the control group received mechanical drills while their counterparts in the experimental group received meaningful drills for presentation and practice of intended grammatical points. One week later, both groups took a post-test containing 20 multiple-choice items under two categories of mechanical and meaningful subscales. The results of the independent samples t-test revealed a statistically significant difference between the groups, t (82) = -2.53, p = .013, indicating that meaningful drills resulted in better achievement than mechanical drills. The results of the paired-sample t-test also showed that those learners who received mechanical drills performed poorly on meaningful subscale of the post-test, t (41) = 3.35, p = .002, while for those who received meaningful drills no significant difference was observed between their performances on the mechanical and meaningful subscales , t (41) = -1.31, p = .19. Based on the results, it is concluded that inserting meaning into form realized in meaningful drills not only has no extra burden on EFL learners but also results in better acquisition of linguistic forms.
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