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2/50 Five Proposals for Classroom Teaching Which theoretical proposal holds the greatest promise for improving language learning in classroom settings? Get it right from the beginning Say what you mean and mean what you say Just listen… and read Teach what is teachable Get it right in the end
3/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Introduction This proposal emphasizes the importance of accuracy in second language teaching and the use of structure-based or form-based approaches. It includes the two most common traditional approaches to second language teaching: grammar translation and audiolingualapproaches.
4/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Grammar-Translation approach It is characterized by giving the explicit instruction of grammatical rules and lists of vocabulary with their translation equivalents in the L1, and then getting students to apply this knowledge to translation and to language analysis. It uses deductive method of language teaching, based on classical studies of dead languages, and often ignores the communicative aspect of language use.
5/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Audiolingual approach (1) It is based on the behaviorist theory of language learning and assumes that language learning can be broken down into a series of individual habits, which can be formed by reinforcement of correct response. It emphasizes habit formation through the practice (e.g., pattern drilling), memorization, and rote repetition of grammatical structures and lexical items usually in isolation from contexts of meaningful use. It places emphasis on the ordering of the four skills – listening, speaking, reading, writing – and the need for maximum error prevention.
6/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Audiolingual approach (2) Teachers avoid letting beginning learners speak freely because this would allow them to make errors. Therefore, it consists of all controlled practice to prevent these bad habits. This approach was used successfully only with highly motivated adult learners in training programs for government personnel in the U.S. Though it emphasizes the learning of oral language, students rarely use the language spontaneously for genuine communicative purposes (but it can help students improve their pronunciation) <see examples on pp. 118-119> There is little classroom research to support this approach for students in ordinary school L2 programs (study 1).
7/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Communicative language teaching (CLT) approaches argue that Language is not learned by the gradual accumulation of one item after another. Errors are a natural and valuable part of the language learning process. The motivation of learners is often stifled by an insistence on correctness and by rote learning. It is better to encourage learners to develop fluencybefore accuracy. They need to develop communicativeabilities right from the beginning.
8/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Limitation of Communicative language teaching (CLT) approaches: Allowing learners too much ‘freedom’ without correction and explicit instruction is likely to lead to early fossilization of errors. However, little research has been done to test the hypothesis that form-based instruction in the early stages of L2 learning will, in the long run, lead to higher levels of linguistic performance and knowledge than meaning-based instruction in the early stages.
9/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Grammar plus communicative practice(study 2) Learners: 48 college students enrolled in French language courses at an American university Methods: 3 groups G1: ALM + CLT (an additional hour) G2: ALM + culture (an additional hour) G3: ALM + ALM (an additional hour) Results: On the linguistic competence measures, no significant differences between groups On the communicative competence measures, G1 scored significantly higher than the other two groups Conclusion: L2 programs which focus only on accuracy and form do not give students sufficient opportunity to develop communication abilities in L2.
10/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Grammar plus communicative practice (study 3) Learners: ESL adult students Methods: 2 groups G1: grammar-based G2: grammar-based + communicative component Results: Beginner and intermediate-level learners engaging in communicative activities in addition to their regular grammar course made greater improvements in accent, vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension than did learners who received only the grammar course. The area of greatest improvement for the learners getting ‘real world’ communicative practice was in grammatical accuracy.
11/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Conclusions (I) The proposal “Get it right from the beginning” has important limitations. L2 learners receiving audiolingual or grammar-based instruction are often unable to communicate their messages and intentions effectively. Primarily or exclusively grammar-based approaches to teaching do notguarantee that learners develop high levels of accuracy and linguistic knowledge. The classroom emphasis on accuracy usually results in learners who are inhibited and will not take chances in using their knowledge for communication.
12/50 Proposal 1. Get it right from the beginning Conclusions (II) Learners benefit more from opportunities for communicative practice in contexts where the emphasis is on understanding and expressing meaning. It is important to be aware that meaning-based instruction is advantageous, but it does not mean that form-based instruction is not. In fact, L2 learners need to develop both accuracy and fluency in order to use the language effectively.
13/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Introduction (I) This proposal emphasizes the necessity for learners to have access to meaningful and comprehensibleinput through conversational interactions with teachers and other students. It is based on the interactionists’ hypothesis. When learners are given the opportunity to use the TL to interact with others, they are compelled to “negotiate for meaning”, that is, to express and clarify their intentions, thought, opinions, etc., in a way which allows them to arrive at a mutual understanding.
14/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Introduction (II) Negotiation for meaning can be achieved in communicative language teaching (CLT) and task- based instruction (e.g., students are asked to work together to accomplish a particular goal using the TL). Negotiation enables learners to use a variety of modifications that naturally arise in interaction, for example, clarification, confirmation, repetition, and other kinds of information as they attempt to negotiate meaning. Through negotiation, learners can acquire the language forms more naturally – the words and the grammatical structures – which carry the meaning they are attending to (see examples 3-7).
15/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Group work and learner language (study 4) Learners produced not only a greater quantity but also a greater variety of speech in learner- centered (group-work) activities than in teacher-centered activities. In addition, the learner-centered activities led to a much greater variety of language functions (e.g., disagreeing, hypothesizing, requesting, clarifying, and defining). In contrast, in the teacher-centered activities, the students primarily responded to the teacher’s questions and rarely initiated speech on their own.
16/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Learners talking to learners (study 5) Learners talked more with other learners than they did with native speakers. Though they cannot always provide each other with the accurate grammatical input, they can offer each other genuine communicative practice. Also, learners produced more talk with advanced-level than with intermediate-level partners. However, their errors showed no differences across contexts. That is, intermediate-level learners did not make any more errors with another intermediate-level speaker than they did with an advanced or native speaker.
17/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Learner language and proficiency level (study 6) When different proficiency-level learners interact with each other, the result showed that when low-proficiency learners were in the ‘sender’ role, the interactions were longer and more varied than when high-proficiency learners were the ‘senders’. The explanation was that high-proficiency ‘senders’ tended to act as if the lower-level ‘receiver’ had very little contribution to make in the completion of the task. Therefore, the lower-level ‘receivers’ played a very passive role and had very little negotiation for meaning.
18/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Interaction and comprehensibility (study 7) Modified interaction led to higher levels of comprehension than modified input. Learners who had the opportunity to engage in interaction (e.g., asking clarification questions and seeking verbal assistance as they were listening to the instructions) comprehended much more than those who received simplified input (e.g., repetition, paraphrasing, simple grammatical constructions, and simple vocabulary) but had no opportunity to interact while listening.
19/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Interaction and L2 development (study 8) Learners who engaged in conversational interactions with native speakers produced more advanced question forms than 1) learners who had no interaction with native speakers and 2) learners who received pre-modified input (i.e., the native speakers use language which had been simplified and scripted to match a level of language which was comprehensible to the learners) but had no negotiation of meaning with native speakers.
20/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Interaction with recasts (study 9) Learners who were at more advanced stages of question development benefited more from interaction with recasts than they did from interaction without recasts. However, learners who were at less advanced stages of question development did not differ according to the type of interaction they were exposed to (study 9). * “Recasts” are paraphrases of a learner’s utterance which involve changing one or more components of the utterance while maintaining the meaning (see examples on p. 104).
21/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Conclusions (I) The research described above has contributed to a better understanding of how to organize group and pair work more effectively in the classroom. Limitations: The measure of L2 learning in these studies was often the learners’ immediate production following the interactions. It is therefore difficultto draw any conclusions as to thelong-term benefits of conversational interaction. These studies were designed as one-on-one pair-work activities between trained native speakers and learners focusing on a single grammatical feature. Therefore, it is also difficult to relate the findings toclassroom interactions.
22/50 Proposal 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say Conclusions (II) Limitations: 3. Recasts may be more salient in pair work, particularly if only one form is recast consistently. However, in the L2 classroom, teachers’ recasts are less likely to be effective in regular L2 classrooms. For one reason, teachers’ recasts are not usually focused on only one form; for the other, they may not be perceived by the learners as an attempt to correct their language form but rather as just another way of saying the same thing.
23/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Introduction (I) This proposal emphasizes providing learners with comprehensible input through listening and/or reading activities. It is believed that hearing and understanding the TL is sufficient for L2 learning. It is based on the assumption that it is not necessary to drill and memorize language forms in order to learn them. It is particularly associated with Krashen’s Input hypothesis that one essential requirement for SLA is the availability of comprehensible input. (see example 8)
24/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Introduction (II) This approach is very controversial because it not only says that L2 learners need not drill and practice language, but also that they do not need to speak at all in their learning process. The material that the students read and listen to is not graded in any rigid way according to a sequence of linguistic simplicity. Rather, the material is graded on the basis of what teachers consider intuitively to be comprehensible for the learners, because a given text has shorter sentences, clearer illustrations, or is based on a theme or topic that is familiar to the learners.
25/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Comprehension-based instruction (study 10) Learners received native-speaker input from tapes and books but virtually no interaction with the teacher or other learners. There was no oral practice or interaction in English at all. The result showed that learners in the comprehension-based program learned English as well as learners in the regular program (from grade 3 through grade 5). This was true not only for their comprehension skills but also for their speaking skills. However, a follow-up study in grade 8 showed that students who continued in the comprehension-only program were not doing as well as students in a program that included speaking and writing components, teacher feedback, and classroom interaction.
26/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Total physical response (TPR) (study 11) In TPR class, students (children or adults) participate in activities in which they hear a series of commands in the TL. They simply listen and show their comprehension by their actions but are not required to say anything. The vocabulary and structures are carefully graded and organized so that learners deal with material which gradually increases in complexity and each new lesson builds on the ones before. This position differs from Krashen’s input hypothesis.
27/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Total physical response (TPR) Research showed that students can develop quite advanced levels of comprehension in the TL without engaging in oral practice. When students begin to speak, they take over the role of the teacher and give commands as well as following them. However, the kind of language students can learn in such an environment is quite limited. This approach gives learners a good start. It allows them to build up a considerable knowledge of the language without feeling the nervousness that often accompanies the attempts to speak the TL.
28/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Immersionprograms (study 12) In an immersion program, a second language is taught via content-based instruction. The emphasis is on subject matter learning through rich, comprehensible input, and little time is spent focusing on the formal aspects of the L2. Canadian French immersion programs provide excellent examples. The findings show convincing evidence that these programs are among the most successful large-scale L2 programs in existence. Learners developed not only good comprehension, but also fluency, functional abilities, and confidence in using their L2.
29/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Limitations of immersion programs However, learners failed to achieve high levels of performance in some aspects of French grammar after several years of the study in the immersion programs. Some researchers think that learners engage in too little language production in these programs and do not get sufficient form-focused instruction. Students just use their incomplete TL knowledge because they are rarely pushed to be more precise or more accurate. Also, because students share the same interlanguage, they have no difficulty understanding each other. Therefore, there is little need for them to use appropriate TL form to negotiate for meaning.
30/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Input flood (study 13) Learners were given high-frequency exposure to a particular form in the instructional input (e.g., adverb placement). They read a series of texts containing the use of this form, but there was no teaching of this form nor was any error correction given. The results showed that exposure to many instances of correct models in the instructional input could help learners add something new to their interlanguage, but not to get rid of an error based on their L1. That is, this approach failed to provide learners with information about what is not possible or not grammatical.
31/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Enhanced input (study 14) Learners were given the reading passages designed to draw their attention to a particular form (e.g., the possessive determiners – his/her) which was embedded in the text. This was done through typographical enhancement (i.e., the form appeared in bold type, underlined, italicized, or written in CAPITAL LETTERS). Comparison of the performance of learners who had read the typographically enhanced passages with that of learners who had not showed little difference in their knowledge and use of these forms. Perhaps the enhancement was not explicit enough to draw the learners’ attention to this form.
32/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Input processing (study 15) Learners received explicit explanations about a particular form (e.g., object pronouns) and comprehension-based “procession instruction” (i.e., through focused listening and reading activities, learners were required to pay attention to how the target forms were used to convey meaning). The results showed that learners who had received the comprehension-based processing instruction achieved higher levels of performance on both the comprehension tasks and the production tasks than learners who engaged in production practice doing exercises to practice the form.
33/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Conclusions (I) The French immersion research confirms the effectiveness of comprehensible input in terms of learners’ development of comprehension skills (reading and listening), fluency, and confidence in the TL. However, the research does not support that an exclusive focus on meaning in comprehensible input is enough to bring learners to high levels of accuracy in their L2. The claim that “language will take care of itself as long as meaningful comprehensible input is provided” is questionable.
34/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Conclusions (II) It is important to keep in mind that the learners in the comprehension-based immersion studies were beginners and the follow-up study suggested that more guidance from a teacher was needed to ensure their continuing development in the L2. The performance of the learners in the comprehension-based programs was eventually surpassed by that of learners who had opportunities to use the TL interactively and to receive some careful form-focused intervention later in their development.
35/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Conclusions (III) The TPR results show great benefits for learners in the early stages of their L2 development. It prepares learners to go out into the TL community to get more comprehensible input. The input flood and enhancement studies provide more evidence that L2 learners may not be able to discover what is ungrammatical in their own interlanguage if the focus is always on meaning, even if the frequency and salience of correct model is increased. The processing instruction shows greater benefits for comprehension practice over production practice. This points to the benefits of an explicit focus on language formwithin input-based instruction.
36/50 Proposal 3. Just listen… and read Summary Comprehension-based programs appear to be beneficial in the development of basic comprehension and communicative performance in the early stages of L2 learning. However, comprehension-based instructional approaches may not be sufficient to get learners to continue developing their L2 abilities to advanced levels. In particular, these approaches may make it difficult for learners to discover and eliminate patterns already present in the interlanguage that are not grammatical in the TL.
37/50 Proposal 4. Teach what is teachable Introduction (I) The purpose is for teachers to choose appropriate language features to teach according to learners’ L2 developmental stages. The research has shown that some linguistic structures develop along a particular developmental path. These structures are called “developmental features”, such as question forms (examples 9-12), negation, tense, and relative clauses. On the other hand, researchers also found that some language features can be taught at any time, such as vocabulary, which are called “variational features”. The success of learning these variational features depends on factors such as motivation, intelligence, and the quality of instruction.
38/50 Proposal 4. Teach what is teachable Introduction (II) These research studies can inform teachers about which language features are “developmental” (and thus teachable only in a given sequence) and which are “variational” (and thus teachable at various points in learner language development). The recommendation is to assess the learners’ developmental level and teach what would naturally come next. This is based on Krashen’s “natural order hypothesis”. Thus, instruction cannot change learners’ natural language developmental course.
39/50 Proposal 4. Teach what is teachable Research findings (I) For some linguistic structures, learners cannot be taught what they are not ‘developmentally ready’ to learn. That is, instruction cannot permit learners to ‘skip’ a stage in the natural sequence of development (study 16 – German word order). When learners are ‘developmentally ready’ to learn a specific language feature, instruction on that feature (whether it is meaning-focused or form-focused) makes a difference when it is provided at the time (study 17 – English relative clause formation).
40/50 Proposal 4. Teach what is teachable Research findings (II) The research showed little effect for instruction on learners’ development of question forms. This may be due to limited instructional time or no explicit instruction (study 18 – wh-question inversion rules). Instruction that is timed to match learners’ developmental readiness may move them into more advanced stages but their performance may still be affected by other factors, such as L1 influence (study 19 – questions)
41/50 Proposal 4. Teach what is teachable Conclusions The research only measured the short-term effects of instruction. There is no way of knowing whether instruction had any permanent or long-term effects on learners’ developing interlanguage systems. Explicit instruction might have led to more positive results, particularly if the instruction had consisted of contrastive information about L1 and L2. “Teach what is teachable” position is of great potential interest to syllabus planners as well as teachers.
42/50 Proposal 5. Get it right in the end Introduction (I) Proponents of this position argue that there is a role for form-focused instruction and correction provided within communicative contexts. This position is assumed that learners need guidance in learning some specific features of the TL. Comprehensible input and meaningful interaction is not enough to bring learners to high levels of accuracy as well as fluency. While they view comprehension-based, content-based, task-based, or other meaning-focused instruction as crucial for language learning, they hypothesized that learners will do better if they also have access to some form-focused instruction.
43/50 Proposal 5. Get it right in the end Introduction (II) This position also emphasizes the idea that some aspects of language must be taught and may need to be taught quite explicitly. Explicit instruction is particularly needed when learners in a class share the same L1, because the errors resulting from L1 transfer are not likely to lead to any kind of communication breakdown; thus, it will be very difficult for learners to discover the errors on their own. They argue that learners will benefit in terms of both speed and efficiency of their learning and also in terms of the level of proficiency which they will eventually reach.
44/50 Proposal 5. Get it right in the end Research findings The research findings support the hypothesis that form-focused instruction and corrective feedback within communicative L2 programs can improve learners’ use of particular grammatical features. The effects of form-focused instruction are not always long-lasting, which can be explained in terms of the frequency of use of the particular structure in regular classroom input. Thus, opportunities for continued use may have contributed to the continued improvement in learners’ use of a particular form. Form-focused instruction may be more successful with some language features than with others.
45/50 Proposal 5. Get it right in the end Conclusions Form-focused instruction and corrective feedback provided within the communicative contexts are more effective in promoting L2 learning. The challenge is to find the balance between meaning-focused and form-focused activities. The right balance is likely to be different according to the characteristics of the learners, such as age, metalinguistic sophistication, motivation, goals, and the similarity of the TL to the L1. Explicit, guided form-focused instruction is needed when features in the TL differ from the L1 in subtle ways, particularly when the information about these differences is not available in the regularly occurring input.
46/50 Implications of Classroom Research for Teaching Rethink the five proposals Get it right from the beginning Grammar-translation & audiolingual methods Say what you mean and mean what you say Communicative language teaching (“what to say” vs. “how to say it”) Just listen… and read Comprehension-based programs Teach what is teachable Setting realistic expectations Get it right in the end Finding the balance between meaning-based and form-based instruction