Learners need to focus on form

General discussion about learning languages
Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4063
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 12577

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Cavesa » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:25 pm

Cainntear wrote:
Cavesa wrote:But it might be nice to see their "natural learning" excuse deconstructed :-D

It has been, many times. The problem is a generational one. People are trained once, and most are never exposed to anything other than the fads their trainers bought into. Most teachers are trained by trainer teachers who were also only trained once. That can mean that it takes decades for any given fashion to die.


You are right. It's like a new treatement in medicine. It gets invented, tested (all that is already a lengthy and difficult process), it is even available in a few advanced hospitals, but it takes time before it spreads, and before it gets into the guidelines and to the ears (and into the habits) of every individual doctor worldwide. And it still doesn't reach and convince everyone. Unfortunately, the teachers are far less pressured to keep their education up to date, to look up new recommendations and methods. If the teaching method sucks, it is still the learner, who is blamed.

Fortunately, the learners still demand their grammar books and such stuff, unless they trust a bad teacher too much. And that's where the market partially fixes the problem. The individual learner may know nothing about the theories and terminology, but they find it weird that stuff doesn't get explained, and they don't want to settle for speaking and writing like a neanderthal. In some cases, the teachers fight against this and try to explain that all that is wrong (as they feel threatened by the books). Especially the children and teenagers are victims of this (as they are automatically considered to be be stupid and ignorant), so the more curious and ambitious ones waste years of their time.


...I would love to see more research on the independent learners (the serious learners and learning, not a marketing research on the players of Duolingo), but we simply seem not to exist. ...


iguanamon wrote:These SLA studies are cited a lot on the forum by various members. I really struggle what to make of them. Thy are all geared to classroom learners in a classroom setting, thus providing little relevance to what we do here.


There's two reasons for that: 1) most researchers are teachers so have access to classes and 2) the classroom setting is a controlled environment and repeatable -- if you teach 20 people at once, they've all received the same treatment (more or less; the ones at the back might not have heard as well as the ones at the front, and things like that) whereas if you send them home to study alone, you've got no guarantee they've all engaged with the material the same way, reducing the reliability and usefulness of your results.

Both my masters theses were built around self-study materials, and in the first, and equivalence was something I had to address explicitly -- my supervisor was pushing me to make the test conditions equal in time as that's standard practice in SLA research, but I successfully argued that time was out of my control, so I made my conditions equal in number of activities instead, but I had to write that up as a justification, and I had to note it as a possible reason for the results.


Yes, that is absolutely true. It is much easier to control a classroom. But it wouldn't be an unsurmountable problem. However, if the researchers value this aspect of classrooms this much, how comes the papers I've seen were done on laughable samples (if you can teach 20 the same way, you can teach 500 and the results will be much more reliable). Independent learners are harder to localise and gather for a research, sure. But if there was no motivation to cheat, it would definitely be possible to measure stuff like time spent on those activities (some people on this forum make wonderful spreadsheets, perhaps the guinea pigs would love to fill out something like this), the results, etc.

A totally wasted research opportunity are the international language exams. It would be an ideal sample to compare methods, time necessary to reach the levels, the conditions of the learners, weaknesses and strengths of various approaches. The sample would be huge and would include both classroom and individual learners, all you need to do is to devise a solid standardised questionary. Yet, nothing like this gets done, not even the number of test takers and average results get shared with the larger public.


This is so true. The reason why these studies are not done may be that we independent learners are not deemed by researchers to be important enough in language-learning to be studied.

No, it's just that we're difficult to evaluate objectively.

Are we? We have tons of CEFR exams, and other similar tools that can evaluate the results. We are no less reliable, when it comes to self reporting, than patients in many medical studies. Yes, there are limits, but the studies still get done.
And even the classrooms are not that easy to evaluate objectively. I may have read relatively few such articles, but I can't remember any taking into account stuff like independent work in the free time, intelligence, and other such stuff that affects the results dramatically.

I'd say the problem is a bit different. We are not that profitable. Governments and other grant giving institutions are interested mainly in improving their system. Private companies are interested in the most profitable stuff, and classes are the most expensive way to learn a language available.

We don't generate enough of a presence in language-learning.

A.K.A. statistical outliers. There are surveys of successful learners from time to time, and these are influential in directing future research. If there's an observed pattern in successful learners, research does shift to trying to encourage all learners to do the same thing.
But this doesn't always work. Consider: "successful learners consume native media". Fair statement, right? How do you implement that? Well, they tried introducing more native media into the classroom. Result? Less achievement, because they were replacing study time with something that only worked as a supplementary activity for the successful learners. Less successful learners didn't have the base level to engage with the content, so it was a waste of time.

How do you get school kids to engage with native media outside of class? You don't. Unless you're an English teacher. If you are an opt-in language school and you're dealing with adults, you can attempt it, but it's a hard sell. Either way, pragmatics interfere with the perfect solution.


You are totally right. I see this even in the online communities. Ten years ago, it was difficult to convince people that "yes, you should take the leap of faith at your C1 level and finally use the language to read a real book". Nowadays, we see people like "I've been learning for two months, watching tons of tv and trying to read a novel, and I still cannot understand at all, what is wrong with me?"

I remember teachers even discouraging me from native media outside the class. Either openly, like "what you find fun is too hard for you", or indirectly and not intentionally by totally bad recommendations, like "perhaps you could try some radio". The teachers seem to be totally disconnected from the real world, from the kinds of native media are appropriate and also fun.

It is not that hard to get school kids to engage with native media even if you teach a different language. You just need to introduce them to something they find interesting. As long as the coursebooks present total clichés or just classical literature or very old movies as the highlight of the culture produced in the target language, the kids won't be interested. That's the problem.

Most teenagers won't be captivated by Edith Piaf, that's what their grandma loves, but they might be interested in Maitre Gims. They aren't interested in movies with Louis de Funès, but they might love Kaamelott. Most do not want to read yet another classical novel in their free time, they have enough of the obligatory ones. But they might appreciate Autre-Monde and discover that the books they like are not being written just in the anglophone countries. They are not lazy or uninterested in the target culture. They are just not willing to spend their free time on stuff they'd find boring even in their native language, which is understandable.

The adults in the private classes will be harder. They are very often there because they want a higher salary, that's it. And they expect the teacher to do the learning for them, that's why they paid, even a direct and straight to the point homework (like a grammar exercise) is already a problem. They don't want to spend their free time on this, they don't want to spend in on activities that do not seem to lead very directly to their goal (which is using the language at work and being paid more). It is also normal to become a bit more rigid in one's cultural tastes. People listen to the music of their youth, have less time to discover new books, and so on. The kids are still curious and easier to reach, if only you don't mess it up by presenting the target language's culture as totally irrelevant to them. No idea why the publishers and teachers don't seem to get this.
7 x

Cainntear
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1908
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 4870
Contact:

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Cainntear » Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:10 pm

TOPIC DRIFT ALERT!!
Cavesa wrote:The kids are still curious and easier to reach, if only you don't mess it up by presenting the target language's culture as totally irrelevant to them. No idea why the publishers and teachers don't seem to get this.

Yeah, this is another interesting ideological problem. There is a persistent belief among teachers that the reason people aren't interested in the language is that they aren't interested in the culture, and therefore the teacher has to develop students' interest in the culture first, whereas there seems to be a fair body of evidence that suggests that all this achieves is making the language seem more alien and less relevant to the kids.

Of course, I accepted that claim uncritically and never really looked at the quality of the evidence, because it seemed pretty obviously correct to me. Confirmation bias: we all have it.
3 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4063
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 12577

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Cavesa » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:44 pm

Cainntear wrote:TOPIC DRIFT ALERT!!
Cavesa wrote:The kids are still curious and easier to reach, if only you don't mess it up by presenting the target language's culture as totally irrelevant to them. No idea why the publishers and teachers don't seem to get this.

Yeah, this is another interesting ideological problem. There is a persistent belief among teachers that the reason people aren't interested in the language is that they aren't interested in the culture, and therefore the teacher has to develop students' interest in the culture first, whereas there seems to be a fair body of evidence that suggests that all this achieves is making the language seem more alien and less relevant to the kids.

Of course, I accepted that claim uncritically and never really looked at the quality of the evidence, because it seemed pretty obviously correct to me. Confirmation bias: we all have it.


I'd say the main problem is a very narrow definition of what the target culture is.

The teachers with university background probably had tons of classes on the classical literature in the language, have been excited by the art movies of top quality, etc. They seem to completely ignore that vast majority of the cultural production people are after (including the natives) is very different. It looks sometimes snobbish. I don't know what is more to blame. Whether the lack of understanding of the students' interests, or total disconnection from the real, contemporary, and living culture and entertainment in the target language's country (or countries).

I remember a nice post no idea where, in which the author complained about their Japanese classes killing their interest in the culture. They entered the class and started learning the language out of desire to understand the contemporary J-drama, music, manga, youtubers. The teacher kept stuffing them with origami, tea, and geishas.

edit:one more thought: people often learn a language to connect with others. The kids want to connect with other kids, not with university professors. The culture seems irrelevant and alien, if you are presenting the parts a native kid of the same age probably wouldn't be interested in either. Cause when they meet a native of their own age, they'll be much more likely to talk about Game of Thrones than Charles Dickens. A minority will be excited about the latter, but most will not. And the kid knows damn well that their native counterpart isn't spending time on the stuff being presented by the teacher.
4 x

User avatar
mentecuerpo
Blue Belt
Posts: 526
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:15 am
Location: El Salvador, Centroamerica, but lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Languages: Spanish (N) English (B2) Italian (A2) German (A1)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 18#p155218
x 693

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby mentecuerpo » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:19 am

Cainntear wrote:How do you get school kids to engage with native media outside of class? You don't. Unless you're an English teacher. If you are an opt-in language school and you're dealing with adults, you can attempt it, but it's a hard sell. Either way, pragmatics interfere with the perfect solution.


I am a living testimony of that, and this is probably out of context. My daughter is 10-yo, and she studies French only when I make her study French (literally, I make her study, like a dictator). She will not do any self-study at all. In her school, she is learning Latin, a waste of time, because we already speak Spanish.

There is a French tutor that comes home once a week (I am happy about that because she interacts with the teacher). I can only put the FIA videos and French songs and Easy French YouTube, but I have to make her work on it. I would put her in a French Classroom, but I can't find French classes for kids here in Phoenix. Unfortunately, the Alliance Frances here teaches adults only.

The point, children, can probably engage with the langauge better in a classroom setting, seeing other children engage, I think this can also motivate them to do homework, to keep up with the other kids in the school.
1 x

User avatar
reineke
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3496
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 7:34 pm
Languages: Fox (C4)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6979
x 6241

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby reineke » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:51 am

Focus on form thread

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14&t=1598

While the terminology may lead to some confusion this thread so far hasn't provided much clarity.

Señor Google provides the following quick definitions:

"Focus on form and focus on forms refer to differing instructional practices in the second language classroom. Focus on form consists of primarily meaning‐focused interaction in which there is brief, and sometimes spontaneous, attention to linguistic forms. In contrast, focus on forms involves a primary emphasis on linguistic structures, often presented as discrete grammar rules or other metalinguistic information. Focus on form assumes that acquisition occurs best when learners' attention is drawn to language items when they are needed for communication. Focus on forms emphasizes the role of explicit knowledge in the acquisition process. Types of focus on form include input flood, input enhancement, and corrective feedback. Types of focus on forms include present, practice, produce (PPP) and explicit language instruction. Instructional methods with aspects of both types of instruction include consciousness‐raising activities and input‐based instruction."

Focus on Form Versus Focus on Forms
Teaching Grammar
Shawn Loewen

Now let's expand our horizons by adding that in addition to FonF and FonFs we actually do have focus on meaning (FoM). Below I've included a few short excerpts from the above-mentioned thread but in a nutshell, Long's definition of the term has been evolving over the years and Rod Ellis has attempted to refine and even redefine it.

reineke wrote:Focus on Form: A Critical Review

‘Focus-on form’ (FonF) is a central construct in task-based language teaching. The term was first introduced by Long (1988; 1991) to refer to an approach where learners’ attention is attracted to linguistic forms as they engage in the performance of tasks. It contrasts with a structure-based approach - ‘Focus-on-forms’ (FonFs) - where specific linguistic forms are taught directly and explicitly. However, there is perhaps no construct in SLA that has proved so malleable and shifted in meaning so much...

Focus on form’ was first used by Michael Long but has been borrowed (and extended) by countless scholars and researchers since. A good starting point, however, is to examine how Long’s own use of this term has changed over time. To the best of my knowledge, Long first used the term in 1988 in a review of research of instructed interlanguage development. He concluded this article as follows: …a focus on form is probably a key feature of second language instruction because of the salience it brings to targeted features in classroom input, and also in input outside the classroom, where this is available. I do not think, on the other hand, that there is any evidence that an instructional program built around a series (or even a sequence) of isolated forms is any more supportable now, either theoretically, empirically, or logically than it was when Krashen and others attacked it several years ago...

Here Long views FonF and FonFs as ‘programs’ or ‘approaches’. In a later article ("Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching methodology"), Long (1991) elaborated on the differences between these two approaches. FonF ‘overtly draws students’ attention to linguistic elements as they arise incidentally in lessons whose overriding focus is on meaning or communication’ (pp. 45-46). In contrast, FonFs involves traditional language teaching consisting of the presentation and practice of items drawn from a structural syllabus. Later
Long (1997) also sought to distinguish ‘FonF’ from ‘focus on meaning’ (FonM) – an approach to teaching that emphasized incidental and implicit language learning through content-based instruction or immersion programmes where the learners’ focus was more or less entirely on meaning...

Long’s views about FonF can be characterized as entailing a focus on form that:
 arises in interaction involving the L2 learner
 is reactive (i.e. occurs in response to a communication problem)
 is incidental (i.e. it is not pre-planned)
 is brief (i.e. it does not interfere with the primary focus on meaning)
 is typically implicit (e.g. it does not involve any metalinguistic explanation)
 induces ‘noticing’ (i.e. conscious attention to target linguistic forms)
 induces form-function mapping.
 constitutes an ‘approach’ to teaching (i.e. FonF) that contrasts with a traditional formcentred
approach (i.e. FonFs).

For Long, then, the negotiation of meaning was the primary means for achieving a focus on form. As we will see in the next section, as other researchers and teacher educators have seized on the importance of incorporating attention to form in a communicative curriculum, the scope of the term ‘focus on form’ has expanded considerably. This is reflected in part in Long’s latest definition taken from his 2015 book Second Language Acquisition and Task-based Language Teaching:

Focus on form involves reactive use of a wide variety of pedagogic procedures to draw learners’ attention to linguistic problems in context, as they arise during communication in TBLT, typically as students work on problem-solving tasks, thereby increasing the likelihood that attention to code features will be synchronized with the learner’s internal syllabus, developmental stage and processing ability...

The essential theoretical foundation remains intact –attention to linguistic form needs to occur in ways that are compatible with how an L2 is acquired by learners. So too is Long’s insistence that the focus must be reactive and brief. But it would seem that ‘focus on form’ is no longer seen as an ‘approach’ (i.e. FonF) but as a set of procedures. Nor is it just an interactive phenomenon. Also – and in this respect there is major shift – focus on form need not be implicit. Long acknowledges that it can even include provision of an explicit grammar rule as long as this is provided in response to a problem that arises during a communicative exchange. Nor does Long see focus on form as catering just to incidental learning; rather ‘intentional learning is brought to the aid of incidental learning, thereby improving the likelihood that a new form-meaning association will be perceived or perceived more quickly’ (p. 317). Clearly, focus on form now involves much more than the negotiation of meaning...

This account of the how ‘focus on form’ has been construed in Long’s work is not intended as a critique of Long. The development I have described is quite natural, reflecting Long’s response to continuing research and theory development. It does, however, serve as a warning
to readers. The term has a long life and lives on but the construct it refers to has changed in quite major ways. In the following section I will attempt my own definition of this construct. Defining pedagogic focus on form

‘Form’ is often misunderstood as referring solely to grammatical form. In fact, ‘form’ can refer to lexical (both phonological and orthographic), grammatical, and pragmalinguistic features. Also the term ‘focus on form’ is somewhat misleading as the desired focus is not just on form but on form-meaning mapping (e.g. the use of the –ed morpheme to denote past time or the pronunciation of a word like ‘alibi’ so that its meaning can be understand by listeners) as Long made clear.

We have seen that Long defined FonFs as involving the explicit teaching of linguistic forms based on a structural syllabus. The problem here is that explicit language teaching can also include activities designed to focus learners’ attention on form in communicative activities...

There is a fundamental difference between a synthetic approach involving the linear teaching of discrete linguistic features and an analytical approach where attention to form only emerges out of the efforts to comprehend and produce meaningful texts in the L2.
The problem here lies in trying to characterize FonF and FonFs as approaches. As I have argued elsewhere (Ellis 2015), focus on form is best understood not as an approach (i.e. as FonF) but as involving different kinds of instructional procedures. That is, focus on form
entails various techniques designed to attract learners’ attention to form while they are using the L2 as a tool for communicating. In contrast, focus on forms entails various devices (such as ‘exercises’) designed to direct learners’ attention to specific forms that are to be studied and learned as objects.

Focus on form – both interactive and non-interactive – can vary in how obtrusive it is (i.e. how much it interferes with communication). Doughty and Williams (1998c), for example, offer a taxonomy of focus-on-form techniques that vary in terms of the extent to which they
interrupt the flow of communication. For example, ‘input flood’ is viewed as minimally obtrusive, corrective recasts as more obtrusive while ‘input processing’ involving structured input (VanPatten, 1996) is very clearly obtrusive. The more obtrusive techniques, however, might be better classified as focus-on-forms techniques as arguably they direct rather than attract attention to form. Perhaps, though, focus on form and focus on forms activities should be seen as placed on a continuum depending on the extent to which they cater to explicit or implicit attention to form...

I propose the following: Focus on form occurs in activities where meaning is primary but attempts are made to attract attention to form. Thus it is not an approach but rather a set of techniques deployed in a communicative context by the teacher and/ or the learners to draw attention implicitly or explicitly and often briefly to linguistic forms that are problematic for the learners. The focus on form may be pre-planned and thus address a pre-determined linguistic feature(s) or it can be incidental as a response to whatever communicative or linguistic problems arise while learners are primarily focused on meaning. Focus on form activities can be interactive or non-interactive and involve both production and reception. They can be found in both explicit and implicit approaches to language teaching. They can also occur before a communicative task is performed or while it is being performed..."

Focus on Form: A Critical Review
Rod Ellis
https://espace.curtin.edu.au/bitstream/ ... sequence=2
2 x

User avatar
jeff_lindqvist
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2257
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:52 pm
Languages: sv, en
de, es
ga, eo
---
fi, yue, ro, tp, cy, kw, pt, sk
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2773
x 5662

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:43 pm

Cavesa wrote:Nowadays, we see people like "I've been learning for two months, watching tons of tv and trying to read a novel, and I still cannot understand at all, what is wrong with me?"


That sounds like one of the fellow students in my Russian class some years ago. Four months into the language, as a beginner, they said: "Oh, this is so difficult - I had hoped to be able to read Chekhov!"

It took me years before I read a book in English.
13 x
Leabhair/Greannáin léite as Gaeilge: 9 / 18
Ar an seastán oíche: Oileán an Órchiste
Duolingo - finished trees: sp/ga/de/fr/pt/it
Finnish with extra pain : 100 / 100

Llorg Blog - Wiki

Online
Bilingual_monoglot
Yellow Belt
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:15 am
Location: Singapore
Languages: English (n) Tamil (n-heritage) French Esperanto (can talk about language policy/lepak, and nothing else) Hindi (bumbling tourist) Malay (basic conversations) Chinese (introductions and ordering food)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16715
x 282

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Bilingual_monoglot » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:46 am

This looks interesting, I think I will add my own 10 cents here.

The way I see it, the amount of grammar instruction a learner needs (classroom or self study) will depend on many different factors and will change depending on the learner and the language being learned. This, in my opinion, is part of why classroom instruction doesn't produce good results.

Languages grammatically closer to your L1 (or another language you already know since this is a forum largely composed of polyglots) need less explicit grammar as you can make more one to one associations and largely say things the same way. Moreover, learners who are good at pattern recognition will also need less explicit grammar as they can more easily make inferences based on input, though it's probably best to check that those inferences are correct.

For example, part of why I don't use grammar heavy methodologies is because I am a native speaker of both an agglutinative language with a case system and an analytic (?) language (Tamil and English in case you didn't know). As a result, I can rely more heavily on this is like this generalisations, as well as an ability to notice certain patterns. Though this process is largely subconscious so I generally don't think like that.

Now that I think about it, the reason why I don't speak Malay as well as I would like to might be that Malay grammar can be different from both Tamil and English. Well, I guess I need to go through Malay grammar. This discussion actually changed my mind, weirdly enough.

Then again, this post mostly states the obvious, so it probably doesn't contribute much and this mostly my own musing based on a sample size of 1, so take this as you will.
2 x

User avatar
chove
Green Belt
Posts: 316
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:42 pm
Location: Scotland
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (intermediate), Polish (very very low intermediate?), French (just started). I dabble sometimes but rarely commit.
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9355
x 670
Contact:

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby chove » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:34 pm

jeff_lindqvist wrote:
Cavesa wrote:Nowadays, we see people like "I've been learning for two months, watching tons of tv and trying to read a novel, and I still cannot understand at all, what is wrong with me?"


That sounds like one of the fellow students in my Russian class some years ago. Four months into the language, as a beginner, they said: "Oh, this is so difficult - I had hoped to be able to read Chekhov!"

It took me years before I read a book in English.


It can be extremely discouraging to try and use native materials before you're ready, and when that's a bit of standard advice I think it actually puts people off because, indeed, they've been studying Russian for four months and can't read Chekov while "everyone" tells them to jump right into extensive reading. It makes the task ahead seem impossibly enormous, and/or the learner feels like they must be stupid.

I can read in Spanish *now* but when I first tried it was just depressing and off-putting.
2 x

Kraut
Brown Belt
Posts: 1183
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:37 pm
Languages: German (N)
French (C)
English (C)
Spanish (A2)
Lithuanian
x 1497

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Kraut » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:15 am

Big Ideas in Cognitive Neuroscience, CNS 2017: Angela Friederici
white matter fibre tracts in natives of different languages
6'00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dfKX-OvjKs

Angela Friederici shows that morpho-syntactic characteristics of languages correspond to different brain structures of the speakers, especially in how a fiber in which syntax is located is built
If that is so, this would imply different approaches in how individual languages are taught in the classroom.
She recommends grammar instruction, semantics can come later.

http://gocognitive.net/interviews/langu ... ore?page=1

According to Dr. Friederici, focusing on syntax and the grammatical rules of a language is more efficient than learning vocabulary. In this case, a simple set of a few nouns, verbs, and adjectives can help the learner to understand the syntactical rules of the language before branching out into more complex semantic contexts.
Attachments
friederici.JPG
friederici.JPG (46.49 KiB) Viewed 1755 times
2 x

Cainntear
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1908
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:04 am
Location: Scotland
Languages: English(N)
Advanced: French,Spanish, Scottish Gaelic
Intermediate: Italian, Catalan, Corsican
Basic: Welsh
Dabbling: Polish, Russian etc
x 4870
Contact:

Re: Learners need to focus on form

Postby Cainntear » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:39 am

reineke wrote:Focus on form thread

https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14&t=1598

While the terminology may lead to some confusion this thread so far hasn't provided much clarity.

Señor Google provides the following quick definitions:

"Focus on form and focus on forms refer to differing instructional practices in the second language classroom. Focus on form consists of primarily meaning‐focused interaction in which there is brief, and sometimes spontaneous, attention to linguistic forms. In contrast, focus on forms involves a primary emphasis on linguistic structures, often presented as discrete grammar rules or other metalinguistic information. Focus on form assumes that acquisition occurs best when learners' attention is drawn to language items when they are needed for communication. Focus on forms emphasizes the role of explicit knowledge in the acquisition process. Types of focus on form include input flood, input enhancement, and corrective feedback. Types of focus on forms include present, practice, produce (PPP) and explicit language instruction. Instructional methods with aspects of both types of instruction include consciousness‐raising activities and input‐based instruction."


That definition doesn't help either, because you cannot define focus on form until after you have defined focus on meaning, as it is a term that was defined to specifically address problems in meaning-focused classrooms.

The fact that we are still using the term today is a problem -- we are no longer in the situation where focus-on-form was defined, so we are no longer in a situation where the term is meaningful. Instead, it has lived on simply because people don't like abandoning jargon. By sticking with focus-on-form rather than (e.g.) "developing grammatical subskills", we implicitly and inadvertently reinforce the focus-on-meaning that it assumes as the norm.
4 x


Return to “General Language Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests