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Title: The effects of integrated versus isolated form-focused instruction on the written performance of English-as-an-Additional-Language secondary school students
Author: Gwiazda, Irena E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 8059
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
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Over the past forty years, second-language teaching methodologies have evolved from heavily grammar-based syllabuses to fully communicative models that largely neglect the role of instruction in form. Nowadays, many methodologies attempt to merge these two extremes into more inclusive approaches that combine instruction in form and communicative foci. This study concentrates on two recently defined approaches of form-focused instruction (FFI): integrated and isolated. Educational research has only recently started to pay attention to this dichotomy. By addressing this issue, the current study aims to establish which of these two approaches more successfully promotes the learning of English past tenses by secondary school English-as-an-Additional-Language (EAL) students. This quasi-experimental study adopts the explanatory sequential mixed-method design. The participants in the study were ninety-one mainstream secondary school EAL students, divided into three groups: a control group, which participated only in mainstream content-based lessons with no focus on form, and two experimental groups, which participated in ten FFI lessons in addition to the mainstream content-based lessons. Members of one of the experimental groups received integrated FFI, in which instruction in form was delivered during communicatively oriented lessons, and the students in the other experimental group received isolated FFI, in which instruction in form was delivered outside of the communicatively oriented lessons. Data collection methods included two questionnaires, interviews, field notes, observations and three periodic tests consisting of form formation, form recognition and metalinguistic tasks. The research findings demonstrate that the experimental groups outperformed the control group, and the intervention gains were maintained over time. Importantly, the results indicate a considerable disparity in the level of effectiveness of each FFI, suggesting that isolated FFI provides overall better performance outcomes than integrated FFI in the EAL context. This advantage is particularly significant in the case of the form formation tasks. The findings point to the intervention's resulting in greater awareness of the language among the participants and their increased ability to notice the targeted forms — the skills facilitated by both FFI approaches. The research outcomes offer some implications for EAL methodology, clearly indicating that application of the two instruction types, particularly isolated FFI, affords good educational value.
Supervisor: Yiakoumetti, Androula ; Spiro, Jane ; Rayner, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral