Bibliografía - Language Teaching Research

At the turn of the new millennium, in an article published in Language Teaching Research in 2000, Dörnyei and Kormos proposed that ‘active learner engagement is a key concern’ for all instructed language learning. Since then, language engagement research has increased exponentially. In this article, we present a systematic review of 20 years of language engagement research. To ensure robust coverage, we searched 21 major journals on second language acquisition (SLA) and applied linguistics and identified 112 reports satisfying our inclusion criteria. The results of our analysis of these reports highlighted the adoption of heterogeneous methods and conceptual frameworks in the language engagement literature, as well as indicating a need to refine the definitions and operationalizations of engagement in both quantitative and qualitative research. Based on these findings, we attempted to clarify some lingering ambiguity around fundamental definitions, and to more clearly delineate the scope and target of language engagement research. We also discuss future avenues to further advance understanding of the nature, mechanisms, and outcomes resulting from engagement in language learning.

Higher education has seen an increase in enrollment in online (OL) language courses. This study (n = 176) examined why students chose to enroll in OL Spanish courses and if foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) in OL classes affects overall oral proficiency. Sex differences and FLCA in online Spanish classes were also examined. Quantitative methods included an online survey and a third-party proficiency exam, Versant for Spanish Test. Findings suggest that students do not register for OL Spanish courses to avoid speaking; however, a majority of OL Spanish students appear to suffer from FLCA. These students reported being anxious about a variety of scenarios in their OL language courses including the tests, large class size, lack of understanding or remembering the course material, and making speaking mistakes. Analyses of oral proficiency coupled with the responses to the survey showed that OL FLCA negatively correlated with oral proficiency. Notably, there was no significant difference between male and female students in self-reported FLCA.

The current study investigates how foreign language enjoyment (FLE), foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) and attitude/motivation (AM) of 360 learners of English, German, French and Spanish in a Kuwaiti university was shaped over the course of one semester by three teacher behaviours: frequency of using the foreign language (FL) in class, predictability and frequency of joking. Linear mixed modelling revealed a positive relationship between the three teacher behaviours and FLE as well as AM, but no significant relationship emerged with FLCA. Multiple comparison analyses showed that levels of FLE dropped significantly among students whose teacher joked very infrequently and infrequently. It thus seems that the absence of teacher jokes had a delayed cumulative effect on FLE. No interaction effects were found with time for FLCA and for AM. We conclude that teacher behaviours affect both AM and FLE, and that frequency of joking actually shapes FLE over time.

The goal of this work was to explore the training, classroom practices, and beliefs related to pronunciation of instructors of languages other than English. While several investigations of this type have been conducted in English as a second/foreign language contexts, very little is known about the beliefs and practices of teachers of languages other than English. It is unknown whether recent shifts to focusing on intelligibility, as advocated by some pronunciation scholars, are borne out in foreign language classrooms. To fill this gap, instructors of Spanish (n = 127), French (n = 89), and German (n = 80) teaching basic language courses (i.e. the first four semesters) at 28 large (e.g. more than 15,000 students), public universities in the United States completed an online survey reporting on their training, classroom practices, and beliefs. Similar to ESL/EFL contexts, the results indicated that instructors believe it is important to incorporate pronunciation in class and that it is possible to improve pronunciation. However, the findings also indicated that instructors have goals which simultaneously prioritize intelligibility and accent reduction. Implications include the need for research on which pronunciation features influence intelligibility in languages other than English and for materials designed to target these features.

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is an empirically investigated pedagogy that has garnered attention from language programs across the globe. TBLT provides an alternative to traditional grammar translation or present-practice-produce pedagogies by emphasizing interaction during authentic tasks. Despite several previous meta-analyses investigating the effect of individual tasks or short-term task-based treatments on second language (L2) development, no studies to date have synthesized the effects of long-term implementation of TBLT in authentic language classrooms. The present study uses meta-analytic techniques to investigate the effectiveness of TBLT programs on L2 learning. Findings based on a sample of 52 studies revealed an overall positive and strong effect (d = 0.93) for TBLT implementation on a variety of learning outcomes. The study further examined a range of programmatic and methodological features that moderated these main-effects (program region, institution type, needs analysis, and cycles of implementation). Additionally, synthesizing across both quantitative and qualitative data, results also showed positive stakeholder perceptions towards TBLT programs. The study concludes with implications for the domain of TBLT implementation, language program evaluation, and future research in this domain.

The benefits of corrective feedback (CF) for second language (L2) learning are empirically attested, and multiple factors mediating CF effectiveness have been investigated. However, the timing of oral CF has received less attention given most research examines corrections provided immediately after an error. Delayed CF also warrants investigation; it occurs naturally in L2 classrooms and may be an appealing alternative in online learning contexts. Existing CF timing research shows either no significant differences between immediate and delayed CF, or advantages for immediate CF. To elucidate mixed findings, more CF timing studies are needed, especially those considering the effects of factors such as CF type, linguistic target and communication mode. Regarding communication mode, the effect of CF timing on errors made during text-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC), for instance, has received less attention. Examining text-based SCMC is important given its empirically attested benefits for L2 learning, and in some cases its advantage over face-to-face interaction for fostering CF effectiveness. Investigating the role of CF timing on errors made in text-based SCMC will contribute to efforts to maximize CF effectiveness in online learning environments, which are becoming increasingly common. In this study, 30 third-year learners of Spanish as a foreign language completed a one-way information-gap task with an interlocutor using Skype text-chat. On vocabulary errors, learners received either immediate or delayed error repetition plus recast, or no CF. Results revealed both CF groups significantly outperformed the comparison group on an oral picture description task, with no significant differences between immediate and delayed CF. Results may be due to the salience of the CF modality, type, and target.

Research on pre-task planning to date has mainly focused on task performance. However, the effects of planning are contingent on what learners actually do during planning time. One important factor that may determine the quality and usefulness of planning is whether it is done in the first language (L1) or the second language (L2). This research addresses this issue by investigating the relative benefits of collaborative planning in the L1 and L2 in terms of ideas generated and transferred to an oral problem-solving task. Seventy-two Japanese university EFL learners were randomly assigned to one of two planning conditions: L1P (L1 planning, Japanese) and L2P (L2 planning, English). Dyads in each group were given 10 minutes to plan the content of a problem-solving task in the respective languages before individually performing the timed 2.5-minute oral task. Data took the form of transcribed planning discussions and transcribed task performances. All data were coded for idea units and sorted into categories of problem–solution discourse structure (situation, problem, response, evaluation). A qualitative comparison of L1 and L2 planners’ generation of idea units during planning, transfer and performance was conducted to supplement the quantitative analysis. Findings indicate the L1P condition has significant advantages over the L2P condition in terms of idea conceptualization, but this advantage had a limited impact on subsequent L2 task performance. Pedagogical implications are discussed in terms of possibilities for productively incorporating L1 planning during task implementation in foreign language contexts where learners share a common first language.

This classroom-based action research (CBAR) corroborated our belief in the valuable role rubrics play in a tertiary L2 writing context where English is the medium of instruction. The three-stage CBAR involved ongoing discussions between us, two writing teacher-researchers, as we adapted our teaching and assessment strategies to explore the potential of rubrics as formative tools. This study confirmed the proactive role rubrics could play in teaching writing and promoting successful partnerships between teachers and students during the assessment process. The multifaceted function of rubrics as driver of change in practitioners’ approaches to teaching and assessing writing as well as a tool that enables students to take ownership of the different stages of their writing was a major finding of our study.

This study investigated whether second language (L2) classroom instruction that incorporates a principled approach into the use of the first language (L1) by students and instructors has an effect on beginning learners’ development of L2 speaking and writing proficiency, compared to L2-only instruction, over the course of one semester. Participants were 54 students of Spanish enrolled in six sections of a university-level Elementary Spanish course. The six intact classes, exposed to the same task-based curriculum, were randomly assigned to two experimental groups (–L1 and +L1). For the –L1 group, instruction and interaction were conducted exclusively in the L2, whereas instruction and interaction in the +L1 group included specific uses of the L1. A pretest–posttest design was used to measure change in speaking and writing proficiency. Effects were assessed using the STAMP 4 test, a standardized measure of proficiency. Results indicated that courses under both conditions promoted improvements in speaking and writing. However, students in the +L1 condition improved significantly more than those in the control –L1 group, both in speaking and writing. This points to a potentially more important role for the L1 in the development of an L2. Pedagogical implications are discussed, and directions for further research are offered.