PERFORMING A FOCUS ON FORM ACTIVITY THROUGH COOPERATIVE LEARNING: A CASE STUDY
Università di Torino (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:Focus on form is an approach to language teaching and learning which “consists of an occasional shift of attention to linguistic code features” (Long and Robinson, 1998: 23). Also in communicative language classrooms, where the focus of the lesson is on communicating meaning and on encouraging interaction, focus on form activities (like explicit grammar explanation or error correction) can encourage the learners’ linguistic improvement, as confirmed by most studies on the matter since the 1990s.
As in the language classroom it is quite difficult to motivate students and involve them in this type of tasks in an active way, as it is usually the teacher who leads this type of activities while the students listen, Cooperative Learning has been chosen as an alternative to traditional lessons for this type of task, in order to motivate students and encourage them learn from each other.
A case study has been conducted in a secondary school, in which parallel classes have experienced two different types of Focus on Form activities: one class followed a traditional error correction and grammar revision activity, while the other performed the same type of task but through a Cooperative Learning activity, during which students worked in small groups, helped each other and revised grammar structures actively.
The students in both classes were given a test before the Focus on Form activity, and three post tests one, four and eight weeks after it, all focusing on the same grammar structures under consideration in the Focus on Form activity.
Test scores in both classes will be compared, as well as the scores obtained by low proficiency students, in order to establish if a greater involvement in this type of activity could help this type of learners.
Keywords: focus on form, cooperative learning, error correction, grammar revision, case study.