aokoye wrote:The primary audience of this article, and most articles like is people who are active in academia (in or outside of the ivory tower).
That still doesn't mean it's good terminology. Focus on form and focus on forms are not highly visually different, and even being familiar with the terms myself from a masters in TESOL and a second masters thesis on language acquisition, I still misread the article first time round and had to reread to clarify.
Maybe my biggest issue is that focus on form is too often presented divorced from its original context. Even the text quoted makes that mistake:
However, it is important that the teaching of formal aspects of the language is inte-grated within lessons with an overriding focus on communication (Long, 1991). In the SLA literature, this approach is often referred to as “focus on form” and it should not be confounded with the more traditional grammar teaching, referred to as “focus on forms”.
This is back-to-front.
Focus on form in its original context started with the assumption that you're teaching in a meaning-focused classroom, then you add form-focused activities to the classroom for better acquisition. That was fine in the USA in 1988, at the height of Krashen's influence.
But if you are not starting with an assumption of a meaning-focused classroom, focus on form doesn't encode the intended message of a predominantly meaning-focused classroom with relevant form-focus within it, so it's misleading. This isn't just a matter of whether you're familiar with the terms or not, because it is often abused by people who should understand it.
But it's part of a deeper problem that affects a lot of human intellectual activity -- reducing things to buzzwords rather than thinking about the principles. The two main principles behind focus-on-form haven't changed -- 1) language is nothing without meaning; 2) without conscious attention, form is not acquired -- but the typical teaching setting (or at least our conceptualisation of it) has changed. Buzzwords are fixed and do not always invite analysis, but principles are not laws and are supposed to inform decisions.
edit: trimming unused quotes accidentally left at the bottom of my post.