Optimizing Language Instruction: Matters of Explicitness, Practice, and Cue Learning

Input exposure is essential for nonprimary language learning, but the importance of explicit instruction and corrective feedback continues to be debated. If instruction is required, how might it be optimized in terms of its nature and timing? In this study, 65 Spanish-English bilinguals were introduced to Latin through an interactive computer program designed to promote initial learning of thematic role assignment by drawing learners’ attention to efficient input processing strategies when new, informative morphosyntactic cues to thematic role assignment were set up in competition with more familiar but potentially misleading cues. Participants in 4 experimental groups completed input-based, task-essential practice with interpreting agent/patient roles in Latin sentences and received feedback throughout the practice session. Two of the groups additionally received prepractice explanation of how thematic roles are assigned in Latin via morphosyntactic cues. Groups also varied systematically in whether they received less or more explicit feedback during practice. Results suggest that practice and less explicit feedback were sufficient to trigger improvement in the ability to interpret Latin case morphology; however, more explicit, metalinguistic feedback was necessary to promote improvement in production. Prepractice explanation without metalinguistic feedback during practice did not significantly influence development of either interpretive or productive abilities.

from Language Learning


About Callier Library

Housed at the internationally renowned Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Callier Library a branch facility of the McDermott Library at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Posted on May 17, 2011, in Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: