Ruba Fahmi Bataineh, Wedad Khalid Al-Bzour, Abdallah Ahmad Baniabdelrahman


This study examines the effect of communication strategy instruction on Jordanian EFL students’ oral performance and strategy use.  Following a thorough content analysis of units 10- 13 of the prescribed Action Pack textbook, the instructional material was designed and implemented over a duration of eight weeks.  A three-task oral pre-/ post-test, a communication strategies-based observation checklist, and a 10-item scoring rubric were used to collect data from a purposeful sample of 24 sixth-grade students. The (predominantly interactional) communication strategies of approximation, circumlocution, repetition, appeal for help, self-repair, appeal for confirmation, appeal for clarification, and guessing were targeted.  The data analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, suggests that the utilization of communication strategies in language instruction both improves oral performance and increases strategy use.

Keywords: communication strategies, EFL, oral performance, strategy instruction

Full Text:



Abdollahzadeh, A., & Mesgarshahr, E. (2014). The impact of teaching communication strategies on EFL learners’ willingness to communicate. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(1), 51-76.

Alibakhshi, G. (2011) The effect of teaching strategic competence on speaking performance of EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(4), 941-947.

Al-Rabadi, R. Y., & Bataineh, R. F. (2015). Learning strategies in literature-based instruction: A qualitative study of Jordanian university students. Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education (University of Bahrain), 3(1), 101-110. Retrieved 3 May 2016 from http://journals.uob.edu.bh/teacher/ Pages/Content.

Bataineh, R. F., Bataineh, R. F., & Thabet, S. S. (2011). Communicative language teaching in the Yemeni EFL classroom: Embraced or merely lip-serviced? Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 2(4), 859-866.

Bataineh, R. F., Al-Rabadi, R. Y., & Smadi, O. M. (2013). Fostering Jordanian university students’ communicative performance through literature-based instruction. The TESOL Journal, 4(4), 655-673.

Bataineh, R. F., Thabet, S. S., & Bataineh, R. F. (2007). Obstacles of using communicative techniques in Yemeni EFL classes. Grazer Linguistische Studien, 67/68, 79-92.

Benson, S, Fischer, D, Geluso, J., & Von Joo, L. (2010). Effects of communication strategy training on EFL students’ performance in small-group discussions. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 3(2), 245-259.

Bialystok, E. (1990). Communication strategies: A psychological analysis of second language use. London: Blackwell.

Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of language learning and language teaching. Englewood, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1-47.

Chun, T. H. (2012). A study on the teachability of EFL communication strategies. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46(1), 3565-3570.

Corder, S. P. (1983). Strategies of communication. In C. Færch, & G. Kasper. Strategies in interlanguage (pp. 15-19). London: Longman.

Dewaele, J. (2005). Investigating the psychological and emotional dimensions in instructed language: Obstacles and possibilities. The Modern Language Journal, 89(3), 367-380.

Dörnyei, Z. (1995) On the teachability of communication strategies. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 55-58.

Dörnyei, Z., & and Kormos, J. (1998). Problem-solving mechanisms in L2 communication: A psycholinguistic perspective. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 20(3), 349-85.

Dörnyei, Z., & Scott, M. L. (1995). Communication strategies: An empirical analysis with retrospection. In J. S. Turley, & K. Lusby (Eds.), Selected papers from the Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Symposium of the Deseret Language and Linguistics Society (pp. 155-168). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University.

Dörnyei, Z., & Thurrell, S. (1994). Teaching conversational skills intensively: Course content and rationale. ELT Journal. 48(1), 40–49.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. New York: Oxford University Press.

Færch, C., & Kasper, G. (1983). Plans and strategies in foreign language communication. In C. Færch,, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Strategies in interlanguage communication (pp. 20-60). London: Longman.

Fernández Dobao, A. (2001). Communication strategies in the interlanguage of Galician students of English: The influence of learner and task related factors. Atlantis, 23(1), 41-62.

Fernández Dobao, A. (2002). The effect of proficiency level on communications strategy use: A case study of Galician learners of English. Miscelánea. A Journal of English and American Studies, 25, 53-75.

Gass, S. M., & Selinker, L. (1994). Second language acquisition: An introductory course. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Grenfell, M., & Harris, V. (1999). Modern languages and learning strategies: In theory and practice. London and New York: Routledge.

Harding, E. M. (1983). Compensation strategies. Dublin: Center for Language and Communication Studies, Trinity College Dublin.

Hymes, D. (1972). On communicative competence. In J. D. Pride, & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics. Selected readings (pp. 269-193). Harmondsworth, Washington, DC: Penguin.

Jidong, G. (2011). Empirical studies on L2 communication strategies over four decades: Looking back and ahead. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 34(4), 89-106.

Jourdain, S., & Scullen, E. (2002). A pedagogical norm for circumlocution in French. In S. Gass, K. Bardovi-Harlig, S. Magnan, & J. Walz (Eds.), Pedagogical norms for second and foreign language learning and teaching (pp. 221-239). Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Kellerman, E. (1991). Compensatory strategies in second language research: A critique, a revision, and some (non-)implications for the classroom. In R. Phillipson, E. Kellerman, L. Selinker, M. Sharwood Smith, & M. Swain (Eds.), Foreign/second language pedagogy research (pp. 142-161). Clevedon, United Kingdom: Multilingual Matters.

Kellerman, E., & Bialystok, E. (1997). On psychological plausibility in the study of communication strategies. In G. Kasper, & E. Kellerman (Eds.), Communication strategies: Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives (pp. 31-48). New York: Longman.

Lam, W.Y.K. (2005). Is strategic competence teachable? The Journal of Asia TEFL, 2(4), 87-112.

Littlemore, J. (2001). An empirical study of the relationship between cognitive style and the use of communication strategy. Applied Linguistics, 22(2), 241-265.

Maleki, A. (2007). Teachability of communication strategies: An Iranian experience. System, 35, 583-594.

Mitchell, R., & Myles, F. (1998). Second language learning theories. London: Arnold Publishers.

Nakatani, Y. (2005). The effects of awareness-raising training on oral communication strategy use. Modern Language Journal, 89(16), 76-91.

Nakatani, Y. (2010). Identifying strategies that facilitate EFL learners’ oral communication: A classroom study using multiple data collection procedures. The Modern Language Journal, 94(1), 116-136.

Poulisse, N., Bongaerts, T., & Kellerman, E. (1990). The use of compensatory strategies by Dutch learners of English. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Foris Publications.

Rabab’ah, G., & Bulut, D. (2007). Compensatory strategies in Arabic as second language. Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 43(2), 83-106.

Rababah, G. (2002). Second language communication strategies: Definitions, taxonomies, data elicitation methodology and teachability issues. A review article. Eric Reproduction Services (ED 472698). Retrieved 19 October 2016 from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED472698.pdf.

Rababah, G. (2005). Strategic competence in an ELT syllabus. ITL: International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 145, 145-166.

Rodríguez Cervantes, C. A., & Roux Rodriguez, R. (2012). The use of communication strategies in the beginner EFL classroom. Gist Education and Learning Research Journal, 6, 111-128.

Rubin, J., & Thompson, I. (1994). How to be a more successful language learner. New York: Heinle, & Heinle.

Russell, G., & Loschky, L. (1998). The need to teach communication strategies in the foreign language classroom. JALT Journal, 20(1), 100-114.

Schmidt, R. (1983). Interaction, acculturation and the acquisition of communication competence. In N. Wolfson, & E. Judd (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and second language acquisition (pp. 137-174). Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.

Selinker, L. (1972). Interlanguage. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 10, 209-231.

Si-Qing, C. (1990). A study of communication strategies in interlanguage production by Chinese EFL learners. Language Learning, 40(2), 155-187.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stern, H. (1983). Fundamental concepts of language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tarone, E. (1977). Conscious communication in interlanguage. A progress report. In H. D. Brown, C. A. Yorio, & R. C. Crymes (Eds.), On TESOL ’77 (pp.194-203). Washington DC: TESOL.

Tarone, E. (1980). Communication strategies, foreigner talk and repair in interlanguage. Language Learning, 30(2), 417-431.

Tarone, E. (1981). Some thoughts on the notion of communication strategy. TESOL Quarterly, 15, 285-295.

Váradi, T. (1973). Strategies of target language learner communication: Message adjustment. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 18, 59-72.

Williams, J., Inscoe, R., & Tasker, T. (1997). Communication strategies in an interactional context: The mutual achievement of comprehension. In G. Kasper, & E. Kellerman (Eds.), Communication strategies: Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives (pp. 304-322). London: Longman.

Wood, J. (2012). Strategic competence in the L2 classroom: An introduction. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 5(5),171–176.

Yule, G., & Tarone, E. (1997). Investigating communication strategies in L2 reference: Pros and cons. In G. Kasper, & E. Kellerman (Eds.), Communication strategies: Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives (pp. 17-30). London: Longman.


  • »

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Prof. Dr. İsmail Hakkı Mirici
Editor in Chief 

Hacettepe University 
Faculty of Education 
Department of English Language Teaching 
06800, Beytepe Ankara, Turkey

E-mail: hakkimirici@gmail.com