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The Forest for the Trees: Critically Rethinking Current Perspectives on Focus on Form and SLA Open Access


Other title
natural method, second-language pedagogy
form-focused instruction
communicative language teaching
focus on formS
focus on form
integrated form-focused instruction
focus on meaning
isolated form-focused instruction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Longard, Jeffrey S
Supervisor and department
Maheux-Pelletier, Genevieve (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Zapata, Gabriela (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
ElAtia, Samira (Campus Saint-Jean)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
Applied Linguistics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Following advancements in linguistics in the 1950s and 1960s, second language teaching and research became dominated by the notion that a second language could be learned as naturally as the first, without explicit grammar instruction. This natural or communicative approach, though improving fluency and comprehension, nevertheless resulted in certain lapses in accuracy. In response, Long (1991) proposed a “focus on form” to address formal issues without leaving the communicative framework. This study examines the development of the ideology and practice of focus on form and analyzes representative studies. Results suggest that although the terminology of focus on form has remained intact in order to preserve its ideology, the actual practice has often broadened to include explicit and extensive grammar teaching, or “focus on formS.” This thesis therefore calls for a more open system of second language research and pedagogy which articulates and employs effective methods regardless of their ideological constraints.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: longard master's thesis mlcs
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