Discourse Competence Development in English as Second Language Learners: Effect of Poems on Proficiency and Performance

  • Dr. Shaukat Ali Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Malakand, Pakistan
  • Mr. Saddam Hussain Lecturer, Department of English, University of Malakand, Pakistan
  • Mr. Iftekhar Ali MPhil Scholar, Qurtuba University of Science & Information Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan
Keywords: Discourse Competence, Traditional Language Teaching Materials, Poems, Proficiency, Performance


This study investigates the effect of poems as language teaching materials on the discourse competence of English as a second language learners (ESL) learners. Discourse competence is one of the sub-skills of English speaking skills which has further been divided into two sub-skills called 1) organizing a coherent conversation and 2) then maintaining it. It was a quasi-experimental study consisting of a control group (CG) and an experimental group (EG) from the faculty of social sciences, University of Malakand, Pakistan. They were the students of the third semester and were taught English as a minor course. Before the commencement of the experiment, the students of both groups were subjected to a speaking type pre-test. Immediately after the pre-test, the control group was taught through traditional teaching materials whereas; the treatment group was treated with poems as teaching materials. Moreover, observation field notes were employed to find out the reasons behind the performance of the students of both groups. After a six-week experiment, a post-test similar in nature to the pre-test was dispensed among the groups. The scores of the respondents of both groups were compared by using independent samples t-tests. The outcomes indicated that the learners in the treatment group scored significantly higher on the post-test than the learners in the comparison group. The observation field notes further displayed that the students of the treatment group were actively involved in the language learning process. Moreover, they associated the text of poetry with their, socio-cultural, and personal lives. Additionally, they enjoyed greater autonomy due to ambiguity and universality in the texts of the poems. The study suggests that poems should be utilized as teaching materials in ESL classrooms.