A study of the way(s) to teach signed discourse cohesion, particularly reference, within a story text

  • Donovan Vincent Cresdee

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of differences in communicative orientation of instruction on the improvement in students’ Auslan referential cohesion skills in telling a particular type of story text. This is achieved through a process-product study. This enabled the study to compare the processes by which the four control groups used relative communicative orientations such as a more experiential approach or a more structural-analytic approach and the two experimental groups which used a more functional-analytic approach. Through the use of a multivariate statistical analysis, the study also explored the principal research questions which were: (1) Was an experiential or structural-analytic approach to Auslan story teaching effective, and if not, why not? (2) What particular approach would be more effective or appropriate?’

    Prior to the results of the process-product component, the study also investigated how referential cohesion was structured in two selected story texts produced by a native Auslan storyteller and a learner of Auslan. This investigation was designed to provide preliminary evidence to identify whether or not Auslan has referential cohesion for constructing whole unified texts. Based on functional-analytic methodology informed by a genre-based approach, innovative teaching and learning materials were developed through the use of a multimedia-authoring tool. A teacher, who was selected to teach a story text in the experimental groups, was given intensive training to develop an understanding of this approach.

    The study found that instructional differences contributed to variation in improvement. Data focusing on the accuracy of students’ referential cohesion production collected from 116 pre-test and post-test story texts, were also analysed. Following the research process, it was reported that students from both of the experimental groups, which used a functional-analytic approach, scored significantly higher for the accurate use of referential cohesion than students from both of the control groups using either structural-analytic or experiential approaches. Implications are discussed in terms of the second language acquisition of referential cohesion in signed languages and the need to include functional-analytic orientation in signed language teaching.
    Date of AwardJul 2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPeter Wignell (Supervisor)

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