Learning in the
Six proposals for classroom teaching
• 1 Get it right from the beginning
• 2 Just listen ... and read
• 3 Let's talk
• 4 Two for one
• 5 Teach what is teachable
• 6 Get it right in the end
Get it right from the beginning
• In this proposal, there is a focus on structure based instruction
and it is given emphasis to form and accuracy.
• In its origin, there are grammar translation and audio-lingual
• According to this proposal, free language use is not allowed
because students can make mistakes and if they repeat these
mistakes, they can be habits or get fossilized. Therefore,
teachers should give corrective feedback to the students.
• However, the supporters of more communicative approaches
argue this view and they suggest that errors are natural for
learning and it is better to encourage learners to develop
fluency before accuracy, but allowing learners too much
freedom without correction and explicit instruction is a
negative side of this view.
Studies on this proposal:
Study 12: Audio-lingual pattern drill
• In the late 1970s, Patsy Lightbown carried out an experiment to
investigate the effect of audio-lingual instruction on
interlanguage development. At the end of this research, it is
understood that exclusive focus on accuracy and practice of form
doesn’t mean that learners will use the forms correctly. It does
not guarantee lasting accuracy and knowledge of forms.
Study 13: Grammar plus communicative practice
• In 1972, Sandra Savignon studied the linguistic and
communicative skills of students. She gave additional language
instruction to the each group of students and tested the
differences in students’ language development before and after
instruction. This study shows that focus only on accuracy and
form do not give students opportunity to develop communication
Just listen ... and read
• This proposal is based on the hypothesis that language
acquisition takes place when learners are exposed to
comprehensible input through listening and reading.
• According to this view, comprehensible input is essential
for understanding the meaning. Also it suggests that
drills and practices are not necessary to learn a language
and learners do not need to speak.
• It is enough to hear and understand the target language.
Therefore, there are lots of reading and listening
activities in this kind of classroom.
• We can say that this proposal is inspired from Krashen’s
Studies on this proposal:
Study 14: Comprehension-based instruction for children
• In 2002, Patsy Lightbown and her colleagues investigated the second
language development in a comprehension based program and
compared their learning with that of students in the regular ESL
• According to study results, learners receiving comprehension based
instruction performed as good as the others in both comprehension and
speaking skills through exposure to the comprehensible input. Even
three years later, they continued to perform well, and this shows that
there are long term benefits of comprehension based instruction.
Study 15: Reading for words
• In 2005, Marlise Horst studied on the vocabulary development among
adult immigrants who were enrolled in an ESL programme by using
• She found that there was vocabulary growth attributable to
reading, and the more students read, the more words they learned.
Study 16: Total physical response
• In 1972, it was developed by James Usher. In TPR classes, children or
adults engage in activities in which they respond physically. Language
production is not expected. They listen and demonstrate heir
comprehension by their actions.
• Unlike Krashen’s view, in TPR instruction the vocabulary and
structures are carefully graded and organized. Asher’s research showed
us that students can develop advanced levels of comprehension
without engaging in oral practice.
Study 17: Input flood
• Martha Trahey and Lydia White carried out a study with young
French-speaking learners to investigate the effects of high frequency
exposure to a particular form and use of that form in 1993. Learners
were exposed to so many correct instances of that form and failed to
notice ungrammatical usage. It can be concluded from the study that
there should be explicit information in the lesson about what is not
grammatical in second language.
Study 18: Enhanced input
• Johanna White carried out a study involving enhanced input in 1998.
To draw the learner’s attention to the teaching item typographical
enhancement was added (bold type, capitalized letters etc. ) and at the
end of the study little difference was found between learners who
received enhanced input and learners who did not.
Study 19: Processing instruction
• In 1993, VanPatten and Cadierno investigated the effects of guided
exposure to form on language performance among the adult learners of
Spanish. In this study, learners’ attention was directed to how language
forms were used to express certain meanings (processing instruction).
This study showed that learners who received comprehension-based
processing instruction performed better in both comprehension and
• In this proposal, the emphasis is on the meaningful interaction
and this proposal supports the interactionism. It gives
importance of access to both comprehensible input and
conversational interactions with teachers and other students.
• According to this view, when learners engage in interaction,
they have access to meaningful and comprehensible input and
negotiate for meaning to arrive at mutual understanding.
Through negotiation, language learners can acquire the
language forms more naturally.
• As the focus is on the meaning, grammar mistakes can be
tolerated. Students can ask and answer genuine questions.
• Pair and group work are also important in this view. With the
help of this proposal we can create task-based and meaningbased classrooms.
Studies on this proposal:
Study 20: Learners talking to learners
• Michael Long and Patricia Porter examined the language
produced by adult learners performing a task in pairs in 1985 and
they concluded that though learners’ language can not be purely
grammatical, they can still benefit from each other as this kind of
interaction enables genuine communicative practice.
Study 21: Learner language and proficiency level
• In 1990, George Yule and Doris Macdonald investigated the
effect of the communication roles of the learner on their
interactive behavior. To do this, they set up a task and after
completing task, they reached a conclusion that teachers should
sometimes place more advanced students in less dominant roles
in paired activities with lower-level learners.
Study 22: The dynamics of pair work
• Naomi Storch investigated the patterns of pair interaction over time and the
effects of different natures of the interactions on language learning in 2002. In
her study, she identified four distinct patterns of interaction
(collaborative, dominant-dominant, dominant-passive, and expert-novice) and
she concluded that when pair work functions collaboratively and learners are in
an expert-novice relationship, they can successfully engage in the coconstruction of knowledge.
• Study 23: Interaction and second language development
• In 1999, Alison Mackey carried out a study among adult learners engaging in
different communicative tasks with native speakers of the target language on
producing question forms. At the end of the study, learners who interacted with
native speakers produced more advanced questions and this result showed that
spontaneous natural interaction can be more beneficial for the learners.
• Study 24: Learner-learner interaction in a Thai classroom
• Kim McDonough investigated the use of pair and small group activities in
English as a foreign language classes in 2004. In this study, students engaged in
interaction about environmental problems by using conditional types, and they
used interactional features such as explicit correction, recast and modified
output and this improved their accuracy. However, when she asked whether
such activities contributed to learning, she found that students did not perceive
pair and group activities as useful for learning.
Two for one
• This proposal refers to Content-based Instruction and it
suggests that learners acquire second or foreign language as
they study subject matter taught in that language. That is to
say, learners get two for one.
• They can develop both their academic skills and second
language ability. Also, it creates a genuine need to
communicate, motivating students to acquire language in
order to understand the content.
Studies on this proposal:
Study 25: French immersion programmes in Canada
• There are some studies which examine French immersion
programmes. Firstly, in 1984, Harley and Swain expressed that
although students develop fluency, listening comprehension and
confidence in using language, they fail to achieve high levels of
performance in some aspects of French grammar. Some researchers
argued that this is because of insufficient comprehensible input in
these programmes and teacher-centered classes. Also, Elaine Tarone
and Merrill Swain noted in 1995 that only classroom exposure was
not enough for the language learning and lessons needed to include
focus on form and pragmatic features of the language.
Study 26: Late immersion under stress in Hong Kong
• In 1997, Keith Johnson raised concerns about the ability of the
educational system to meet the demands for such
programmes. He noted that students lacked the necessary
proficiency to follow the secondary level curriculum and
teachers had difficulty in delivering the content because of
limitation in their own language proficiency.
Study 27: Inuit children in content-based programmes
• Nina Spada and Patsy Lightbown (2002) observed the teaching
and learning of school subjects and language with 5-7 aged
children. At the end of the observation, they concluded that
the students’ lack of age-appropriate academic French is a
Teach what is teachable
• According to Manfred Pienemann and his associates, some
linguistic structures develop along a predictable
developmental path and this refers to developmental features.
• This proposal gives information about the development of the
learner language. Also, there are some variational features
which depend on many factors such as motivation and
aptitude. These certain aspects of language can be taught at
• As a conclusion, it is suggested that while some features of the
language can be taught successfully at various points in the
learners’ development, other features develop according to
the learners’ internal schedule.
Studies on this proposal:
Study 28: Ready to learn
• In 1988, Manfred Pienemann investigated whether instruction permitted
learners to skip a stage in the natural sequence of development and this study
showed that for some linguistic structures, learners cannot be taught when they
are not ready to learn.
Study 29: Readies, unreadies and recasts
• In 1998, Alison Mackey and Jenefer Philip carried out a study to understand
whether adult learners at different stages could advance in production of
question forms if they receive recasts in interaction. After the study, the results
revealed that ready learners in the interaction with receiving recasts showed
more rapid improvement.
Study 30: Developmental stage and first language influence
• Nina Spada and Patsy Lightbown made an investigation about the acquisition of
questions according to learners’ developmental readiness in 1999. They came to
a conclusion that instruction timed to match learners’ developmental readiness
may move them into more advanced levels. However, their performance may
still be hindered by their native language.
Get it right in the end
• This proposal gives importance to form-focused instruction,
but this doesn’t mean that everything has to be taught. The
emphasis is on the form in communicative framework. It
suggests that if learners have enough exposure to language
and motivation to learn, they acquire some language features
naturally. Also, it is said that focused instruction allows
learners to notice the target features in subsequent input and
• In terms of error correction, errors are corrected explicitly.
Especially in monolingual classrooms, students make similar
mistakes, produce same wrong language and think that these
are correct forms. Therefore, explicit focus on form and
feedback are necessary in this view.
Studies on this proposal:
Study 31: Form-focus experiments in ESL
• In 1991, Lydia White examined the effects of form-focused instruction and
corrective feedback on the acquisition of adverb placement and question
formation. At the end of her study, she concluded that the frequency of newly
taught structures in the classroom and higher degree of exposure to these items
were essential for learner to maintain them in their language.
Study 32: Focusing on the conditional in French immersion
• Elaine Day and Stan Shapson (1991) examined the effects of form-focused
instruction on the acquisition of the conditional mood of the verb. One group
received form-focused instruction, but the other did not, and this study showed
that focused instruction was beneficial especially for writing skills.
Study 33: Focusing on sociolinguistic forms in French immersion
• Roy Lyster (1994) examined the effects of form-focused instruction on the
knowledge and use of style variations. In this study, students were given explicit
instruction in stylistic variation and at the end of study it was concluded that
focused instruction was beneficial for learners.
Study 34: Focusing on gender in French immersion
• In 1998, Birgit Harley carried out a study to examine the effect of instruction
with very young children on grammatical gender. This study claimed that
learners who received instruction were much better recognizing and producing
gender distinctions for familiar nouns.
Study 35: Focusing on verb form in content-based science classrooms
• Catherine Doughty and Elizabeth Varela (1998) investigated the effects of formfocused corrective feedback on second language learning in content-based
teaching. At the end of the study, it was seen that student who received
corrective feedback made more progress in using verb forms.
Study 36: Recasts and prompts in French immersion classrooms
• In 2004, Lyster explored the effects of form-focused instruction and feedback
type on second language learning and he concluded that learners who received
both form-focused instruction and prompts (clarification
requests, repetitions, elicitation etc) did better in written tasks than learners
who received instruction and recast, because according to Lyster prompts ‘can
enhance control over already-internalized forms’.
Study 37: Focus on form through collaborative dialogue
• Merrill Swain and Sharon Lapkin (2002) observed the development
of students as they wrote a story collaboratively and they compared
the story with reformulated version of it. Researchers recorded their
collaborative talk and coded them. Then they concluded that the
multiple opportunities to engage in collaborative talk on the
language features led them to greater understanding of their correct
Study 38: Focus on form in task-based instruction
• In 2002, Virginia Samuda examined the form-meaning relationships
by focusing on expressions of possibility and probability in a task
design. It was aimed to take learners through a ‘meaning to form to
meaning progression’. At the end of the study, it was seen that there
were many more instances of modals in learners’ speech.