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Pictures Speak Louder than Words in ESP, Too!

Author(s): Seyyed Mahdi Erfani

Journal: English Language Teaching
ISSN 1916-4742

Volume: 5;
Issue: 8;
Date: 2012;
Original page

While integrating visual features can be among the most important characteristics of English language textbooks, reviewing the current locally-produced English for Specific Purposes (ESP) ones reveals that they lack such a feature. Enjoying a rich theoretical background including Paivio’s dual coding theory as well as Sert’s educational semiotics, this research was done to investigate the probable effectiveness of using pictorial context in ESP reading comprehension ability of Iranian university students whose syllabus mostly focuses on this skill. To do so, this study was conducted on two groups of Iranian students majoring physics. Before the treatment, pretest was performed in both groups. The students in the experimental group were taught through passages furnished with different kinds of pictures while the ones in the control group were taught through the same passages without the pictorial context. At the end of the treatment which took twenty two sessions of two hours during twelve weeks, the posttest was administered to both groups. At the end, drawing on t-test at the significance level of 0.05, the students’ performance was compared. The results revealed that there was a significant difference between the mean score of the two groups. Thus, it was concluded that using pictorial context improves the ESP reading comprehension of students.
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