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Title: Implicit and explicit instruction : what type of knowledge is promoted? : an empirical study investigating the effects of processing instruction, metalinguistic rule instruction and textual enhancement
Author: Moreno Vega, Jose
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 5263
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2018
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Research has shown that input is essential to second language (L2) learning, but input alone may not always be enough for learning to occur. Specifically, adult learners need a pedagogical intervention such as form-focused instruction in order to gain proficiency in the L2. Form-focused instruction varies in its levels of explicitness as it comprises implicit types of training such as input enhancement and more explicit interventions like processing instruction. The effectiveness of implicit and explicit form-focused instruction has not been conclusive. Namely, there is contradicting evidence about whether both implicit and explicit form-focused instruction promote implicit or explicit knowledge respectively or whether each promotes both types of knowledge. There is also no certainty about the types of target forms that are more likely to be learned through implicit or explicit instruction. The present study addresses these shortcomings by reporting the main findings of a lab experiment conducted over a six-week period with university students learning English in Mexico. A pool of 124 learners of English as a foreign language participated. The linguistic target chosen for this study was the use of three prepositions: in, on and by which co-occur in the context of forms of transportation. Measures of implicit and explicit knowledge were used before and after giving all participants three training sessions to assess their progress. A delayed posttest was used to measure if any of the treatments had any long-term effects. Participants were randomly assigned to four different training conditions which varied in their degrees of explicitness. All participants except for those assigned to the control condition received exposure to textual enhancement. The textual enhancement condition did not involve any explicit type of instruction. The metalinguistic instruction condition comprised an explanation of three target rules in addition to textual enhancement. The processing instruction condition consisted of an explanation of the target rules plus the completion of structured input activities prior to exposure to textual enhancement. The current study investigates the type of knowledge that both implicit and explicit form-focused instruction promote. It also provides evidence of the delayed effects of each training condition. In addition to using the pre-posttest offline measures, this study also analyses participants' output produced during the training sessions. The results reveal that processing instruction, the most explicit treatment, fostered the most learning whereas textual enhancement, the implicit treatment, was less effective. Namely, textual enhancement led to explicit knowledge of the three target prepositions, and it facilitated the acquisition of implicit knowledge of the preposition by, but it did not promote implicit knowledge of the prepositions in and on. On the other hand, both explicit treatments (metalinguistic instruction and processing instruction) promoted implicit and explicit knowledge of the three target prepositions. In addition, there was less knowledge decay across time due to the explicit treatments. The findings are discussed in terms of the theoretical and pedagogical implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral