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Title: Noticing tasks in a university EFL presentation course in Japan : their effects on oral output
Author: Mennim, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2681 1303
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis investigates the potential benefits for language development of the inclusion of focus on form tasks in a university EFL oral academic presentation course in Japan. Previous work on focus on form activities suggests that they can help learners to notice divergences between their output and the target language, and to reconsider their hypotheses about the target language, and that this process might lead to subsequent modifications, in a target-like direction, in their output. While the majority of previous research involves focus on form that is controlled by the teacher, this study examines how the students noticed and reflected on form without the teacher's direct assistance. In addition, sociocultural theory looks at ways in which cognitive development arises from social interaction. This study adopted this approach in identifying ways in which the students made language gains. The students were asked to note down any new language they had noticed, and, working from transcripts of their recorded presentations, to collaborate in groups in scrutinising their own oral output and correcting any mistakes they found in it. Recordings of their deliberation were also included in the noticing data. Meanwhile, recordings of the students' oral output, as represented by a series of class presentations, were made in order to see whether there was any development in the use of the forms that the students attended to during the noticing tasks. An analysis of the data revealed that the students noticed more language forms as they became more practised in the noticing tasks. In general, the students focused their attention on a wide variety of forms, although there was a degree of variation at the individual level, and there was evidence that group tasks resulted in more noticing than tasks completed alone. The seven-month tracking of the students' oral output revealed improvements in a number of lexical and syntactic forms the students had focused on. As regards sociocultural theory, the thesis also shows how elements of dialogic interaction, present in the students' collaboration, helped enhance their knowledge of English. These include contributions from a more capable peer (although expert roles switched even within a single discussion), collective scaffolding, and the achievement of intersubjectivity. The study suggests that students are able to notice language form and make language gains through form-focused elements in task-based instruction. In particular, group work within such a framework might benefit language learning, both in terms of the amount of noticing it promotes, and of the effects of collaboration, from which the learners can gain new insights into the second language
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available