Effect of Using Image-Schemas on Learning L2 Prepositions and Enhancing Learner Autonomy: A Dynamic System Theory and Cognitive Linguistics-Inspired Approach

Document Type : Research Article


1 Isfahan University of Technology

2 Sheikhbahaee University


This study investigated the effect of applying the dynamic system theory (DST) and cognitive linguistics (CL) insights into grammar instruction on EFL learners’ learning of English prepositions and learner autonomy. Sixty Iranian EFL learners at the lower-intermediate level of language proficiency were randomly assigned to 1 experimental and 1 control group. The 2 groups filled out an autonomy questionnaire and took a test of preposition measuring their knowledge of on, over, around, for, and under. Then, the experimental group received a DST/CL-based instruction using image-schemas, whereas the control group followed a traditional approach of repetitions, drills, and substitutions for teaching of the same prepositions. Finally, to examine the effectiveness of the DST/CL-based program, the 2 groups were given the posttests of preposition and learner autonomy. Based on the results, the experimental group outperformed the control group on the test of prepositions, but did not show significant differences regarding the perception of learner autonomy. This indicates that the DST/CL-based approach which relies on meaningful motivation of explicit and underlying levels of interactions leads to better retention and learning of prepositions, but may not contribute to learner autonomy if practiced for a limited period of time.


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