Rethinking a focus on grammar: From drills to processing instruction-data from the French subjunctive

Date
2008-01-01
Authors
Wong, Wynne
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Publisher
Heinle Cengage Learning
Abstract
This chapter first discusses how views about grammar instruction have changed over time as research in second language acquisition (SLA) has helped members of the profession develop a fuller understanding of how languages are acquired. Processing instruction, a type of focus-on-form instruction that uses structured input activities, is presented as an example of one type of grammar instruction that is grounded in theory and research in SLA. Following a review of current research in PI, data from a study on the French subjunctive are provided.This study examined the relative effects of processing instruction (PI), traditional instruction (TI), meaningful output instruction (MOI), structured input (SI), and explicit information (EI) on the development of the French subjunctive measured by a sentence-level interpretation and production task. Results of the interpretation task reveal that there was no difference between the performance of the PI and MOI groups, and that both groups fared significantly better than the TI and EI groups in terms of performance, with no difference found between the TI an EI groups.There were also no significant differences between the performance of the PI, MOI, and SI groups, or between the performance of the SI and EI groups. On the production task, the MOI group had significantly better performance than the TI group, but there is no difference between the performance of the TI and EI groups. PI did not appear to be significantly different from any of the other four treatments (MOI,TI,SI, EI) in terms of effectiveness.In conclusion, the chapter suggests new directions in PI research and implications for program language direction.
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Citation
Wong, W. (2008). Rethinking a focus on grammar: From drills to processing instruction-data from the French subjunctive. The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 72-92. http://hdl.handle.net/102015/69658
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