Interlanguage-stretching activities
within a task-based empirical
pedagogy
Tom Means, [email protected]
Marlboro College, Vermont, USA
Larry Selinker, [email protected]
New York University, NYC
Researchproductionassociates.com
Definition of Interlanguage (IL)stretching in this study
• IL-stretching of Accuracy
• IL-stretching of Delivery (Fluency)
Definition of Empirical Pedagogy
• Following Han and Selinker (1999)
• Input-Heavy TBI (Means, 2006)
• Underpinned by Cognitive Approach
(Skehan, 1998)
Input-heavy TBI
(of Italian as a FL in U.S.A)
(Needs Analysis)
• Pre-task
– Input floods
– Task-relevant production activities
• During-task
– Time pressure
– Recording
• Post-task
- Self-transcript
- Grammar activities
Input-Heavy TBI as
Empirical Pedagogy
•
Research base
•
Institutional implementation
– Large US university (3rd year)
– Small US university (2nd year)
•
TBI as a vehicle for:
– Copious input, interaction, output, feedback
The Study
• Central Hypothesis of the study:
TBI will better promote accuracy and
fluency than TI of Italian as a FL.
The Study
• Ecologically valid
– Representative
– Intended audience: researchers, teachers,
administrators, students
• Fine-grained
• 9-week method comparison study
involving TBI and TI of Italian as a FL
The Study:
Who/When/Where
•
Participants
•
Research Setting(s)
•
Subject recruitment and selection
•
Treatment calendar
The Study:
Treatment of TBI Group
• Research-based
– Primacy of input
– Psycholinguistic merits of output
• Three-phase cycle
• Types of tasks
The Study:
Treatment of TI Group
• Empirical base
• 4-phase cycle
How were the independent
variables manipulated consistently?
• Methodologies of language instruction
– Task-based Instruction (TBI)
• Unit of analysis = 3 task cycles
– Traditional Instruction (TI)
• Unit of analysis = 3 textbook chapters
Dependent variables
• Accuracy
– Grammatical gender agreement in the noun phrase
• Determiner-noun agreement
– un fratello; *uno fratello
– Il mese; *i mese
• Noun-adjective agreement
– piatto giallo; *giallo piatto
– Il mese scorso; *la mesa scorsa
• Fluency
– Oral fluency (spoken syllables per minute)
– Written fluency (written words per minute)
Measurements
• Battery of 4 tests
– Controlled-production tests
• Test 1: Create Complete Sentences
• Test 2: Narrative Rewriting
– Spontaneous-production tests
• Test 3: Narrative Retelling
• Test 4: Family Tree
• Data collection
Results of statistical analyses
Accuracy Results
– In controlled tests
• Marginal advantage for TBI group
– In spontaneous tests
• Marginal advantage for TBI group
Accuracy results
Test 4: Mean Scores of D-N GG
Agreement Accuracy in Family Tree Test
100
80
60
40
20
0
Pretest
Posttest
TBI
Delayed PT
TI
No statistical significant differences.
Fluency Results
Oral Fluency
• Significant advantage for TBI group
Written Fluency
• Significant advantage for TBI group (at
posttest only)
Oral fluency gains
Test 4: Family Tree Mean Scores for Oral Fluency
120.0
100.0
80.0
60.0
40.0
20.0
0.0
Pretest
Posttest
TBI
Delayed PT
TI
Statistically significant difference for TBI at both times; none for TI.
Written fluency gains
100
90
80
70
60
TBI
TI
50
40
30
20
10
0
Pretest
Posttest
Delayed
Statistical significance for TBI group at both points. For TI, only at delayed
Examples from the data
• Analysis of accuracy from Test #1
• TI subject # 5080
Pretest
la forma
Posttest
la forma
Delayed Posttest
*forma
• TBI subject #3262
Pretest
*il spettacolo
Posttest
*il spettacolo
Delayed Posttest
lo spettacolo
Examples from the data
• Analysis of oral fluency from Test #3
• TBI subject # 6211
– Pretest performance: 58 syllables p/m
– Delayed posttest performance: 107
• TI subject # 5080
– Pretest performance: 80 syllables p/m
– Delayed posttest performance: 82
Discussion
• Central Hypothesis of the study:
TBI will better promote accuracy and
fluency than TI of Italian as a FL.
• Was the central Hypothesis retained?
– Fluency mode
– Accuracy mode
Why was IL better delivered by
Input-Heavy TBI?
• Teacher is decentralized
• Collaborative, structured input
• Meets head-on the challenge of producing
spontaneous oral language
Why was IL better promoted with
Input-Heavy TBI?
(at a marginal level)
• Language as vehicle and object
• Engagement of rule-based mode
• Problems with the language feature in
question, grammatical gender (Swain,
2005)
Implications
• For language instruction in foreign
language settings
– a “usable” pedagogy that is empirical
• For research in Second Language
Acquisition
Conclusions
• Input-Heavy TBI as an Empirical Pedagogy
– Empirical method comparison study
• Analyzing fluency and accuracy improvement (IL-stretching)
– Contributes some evidence of TBI’s effectiveness
– Creation of replicable TBI model, “Input-Heavy” that
is flexible and adaptable
– Initiation of a TBI line of study that is fundamentally
an educationally-relevant endeavor
Bibliography
• Han, Z and Selinker, L. 1999. ‘Error Resistance: Towards an
Empirical Pedagogy.’ Language Teaching Research, 3.3, 248-275.
• Means, T. 2006. A Comparative Study of Task-based and Traditional
Instruction of Intermediate Italian: Findings on Accuracy and
Fluency. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Rutgers University, New
Jersey
• Skehan, P. 1998. A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning.
Oxford: OUP
• Swain, M. 2005. ‘The Output Hypothesis: Theory and Research.’ in
E. Hinkel (ed.), Handbook of Research in Second Language
Teaching and Learning. Mahway, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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The Acquisition of Grammatical Gender in Italian through a