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The Role of Formal Instruction

At the end of the discussion, one must be able to answer the following
1) Does form- focused instruction work?
2) What type of form-focused instruction works successfully/
Traditionally, language teaching uses methods of teaching:
1) Grammar Translation Method. The rules of grammar are explained in detail
followed by application.
2) Audio-lingual Method. This method emphasizes the use of dialogues, drills
as well as correct pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation
Types of Drills:
a) Repetition g) Expansion
b) Inflection h) Contraction
c) Replacement i) Transformation
d) Restatement j) Integration
e) Completion k) Rejoinder
f) Transposition l) Restoration
Types of Instruction:
1) Classroom/ Formal Instruction. Teresa Pica, an advocate of this language
instruction type conducted a study on the use of plural –s and the use of the
progressive -ing on three groups of learners (a tutored, untutored, and mixed
Conclusion: The effects of instruction depends on the subject being taught. If a
structure is formally simple and shows form-function relationship (frequently used), the
instruction proves success. If the target structure is lacks form-function relationship, the
instruction proves to be a failure.
2) Natural Instruction- This language instruction type is supported by CLT
(Communicative Language Teaching). Manfred Pienemann, an advocate of this
type of instruction conducted on the use of Inversion Rule to a group of 10-year
old German children.
Conclusion: The study led him to propose the Teachability Hypothesis which
states that instruction can only promote language acquisition if the interlanguage
is close to the structure to be taught is acquired in the natural setting.
Intake L2 Knowledge

Furthermore, this hypothesis claims that instruction does not subvert ( weaken)
the natural sequence of acquisition but helps to speed up learners passage
through it.

Types of Form-focused Instruction

a) Input-based Instruction and Production-based Instruction

A) (B)
Input-based production- based
Instruction instruction

Input Output

Bill VanPatten and Tereas Cadierno conducted a study on a specific target

structure. One group is exposed to Input-based instruction, the other on Production-
based Instruction.
Conclusion: The group that received Input-based Production did better than the other.
Input-based Instruction, proven by much evidence works better overall than production-
based instruction.
b) Consciousness Training. This attempts to make the learners aware
of the existence of specific linguistic features in the target language.
c) Input flooding. This is the method used to flood the learners of
information. This may help learners to start using some difficult forms
but may not be sufficient to destabilize interlanguage and prevent
d) Learner-instruction Matching. This type claims that it is important to
take individual differences into account when investigating the effects
of instruction.
e) Strategy training. This idea is attractive because it provides a away of
helping learners to become autonomous ( in effect enabling them to
take responsibility of their own learning).

Mary Vincentia P. Olilang