Bibliografía - Language Teaching Research


This article lies within the field of applied cognitive linguistics (ACL) and presents empirical work that addresses overlooked effects of assessment typology in second language (L2) learning. It examines whether pairing a cognitive instructional approach with matching assessment design results in greater learning outcomes over the more pervasive notional-functional approaches. The last two decades have witnessed a proliferation of empirical research measuring the effectiveness of ACL-based teaching approaches, yet studies have only been partly fruitful in eliciting data that truly favors ACL. We argue that this is largely due to assessment design, which typically measures performance via correct vs. incorrect tasks. To overcome this caveat, two studies addressing the complex Spanish psych-verb construction (e.g. gustar ‘to like’) were conducted following a pretest/posttest/delayed-posttest design for three empirical conditions (control, cognitive, and traditional): a pilot study (n = 59) and a larger replication (n = 160). Data collection entailed ACL-based assessment for interpretation and production tasks. Results showed that after instruction, the cognitive group significantly outperformed the traditional counterpart in both tasks. These findings lend support to the effectiveness of pairing cognitive instruction and cognitive assessment for difficult grammatical constructions.

Corrective feedback on second language (L2) writing has remained one of the most heavily studied areas in applied linguistics, yet clear guidance for practitioners about how to provide it most effectively remains limited. Previous studies have meta-analysed written corrective feedback (WCF) research revealing conflicting findings in how WCF affects development in L2 writers’ accuracy over time. This study provides a needed update in light of a recent increase in (quasi)experimental WCF studies. It features several methodological advances by introducing a Bayesian approach to conducting a meta-analysis, which provides a more valid picture of the generalizable effects. The analysis allows distinction – for the first time at a meta-analytic level – between short-, medium-, and long-term effects of WCF. Results aggregate data from an initial 52 primary studies that utilized control groups revealing robust evidence of the durability of moderate effectiveness of WCF over time and deeper insight into the relative effectiveness of various types of WCF (e.g. direct, indirect, metalinguistic – all yielding similar effect sizes) across research contexts, writing task types, target error types, and instructional characteristics. We conclude with recommendations to help continue methodological advances in this domain.

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.

Julio Torres (2023)

Task-based research has investigated the learning opportunities (e.g. language related episodes) that emerge during heritage and second language learner interactions during writing tasks. However, to date, it is unknown how these peer interactions involving heritage language learners contribute to written texts. Further, given the rise of social technologies in educational settings, a need exists to examine how interactions in digital platforms affect the production of written texts. To address these issues, 13 heritage-second language learner and 16 heritage–heritage learner pairs enrolled in advanced Spanish content courses completed two distinct versions of writing tasks. Participants were instructed that they were hired as business consultants for clothing and cellphone companies in Spain. While each participant wrote her or his own version, the pairs had to interact to compose formal business letters in Spanish to the CEO of each company justifying the hiring (Task A) or laying off (Task B) of employees. The main results first revealed that heritage–heritage pairs produced more syntactically complex business letters, as evidenced by a greater ratio of syntactic subordination along with a minor trend of greater morphosyntactic accuracy. Second, synchronous computer-mediated communication interactions led to a higher production of syntactic coordination, especially for the heritage-second language pairs. Findings are discussed in light of the interplay between learner factors and task environment.

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.

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In today’s globalized world, teaching intercultural competence in educational contexts is of great importance. The potential of foreign language literary texts has been emphasized repeatedly. The present study investigates the value of a content and language integrated learning (CLIL) approach to the teaching of literature in foreign language classrooms for the simultaneous development of intercultural competence and foreign language reading proficiency. An intervention based on integrated intercultural literary pedagogy (IILP) was developed. This longitudinal quasi-experimental study examined the effects of the IILP treatment in a sample of 274 Dutch secondary school students (from seven schools) who were learning Spanish as a foreign language using a switch replication design with two conditions. Three Spanish novels were read in both conditions in two consecutive school years. For the experimental condition, students performed dialogical tasks based on IILP pedagogical principles; for the control condition, the tasks consisted of comprehensive reading questions. Multilevel analysis of the data revealed that the students in the experimental condition significantly improved their intercultural competence when compared with the students in the control condition. For reading proficiency, main effects were found in both conditions. The results demonstrate that a CLIL approach adds considerably to intercultural development; a broad inclusion of literary texts in foreign language teaching environments is therefore recommended.

Few mobile-assisted vocabulary learning approaches fully correspond to the authenticity principle of the situated learning theory (SLT). A novel practice of changing the smartphone system language to second language (L2), which intends to better implement SLT in a real smartphone context, is the focus of this study. To explore the potential of using this under-researched approach to facilitate L2 vocabulary learning, a mixed-method design was adopted to investigate its impact on vocabulary acquisition, global language learning motivation, and vocabulary learning motivation. Participants’ pre- and post-test scores on the vocabulary knowledge test and motivation questionnaires were compared between the experimental and control groups. Interviews were also conducted to understand learners’ perceptions of this novel approach. Both quantitative and qualitative results indicated that the approach of changing smartphone system language to L2 was effective in increasing learners’ vocabulary knowledge gains and improving their global and vocabulary learning motivation. These findings contribute to the literature on L2 vocabulary learning and provide significant pedagogical implications.

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Classroom studies have shown that learning new vocabulary from reading can be enhanced if the reading task is followed by a word-focused activity, such as a fill-in-the-blank activity. However, little is known about: (1) whether a post-reading word-focused activity can also positively affect vocabulary uptake in out-of-classroom contexts when there is no instructor support, (2) whether vocabulary gains differ based on proficiency levels, and (3) whether awareness of an upcoming post-reading word-focused activity influences learning gains. The present study addresses these issues by having native (high-proficient) or nonnative (L2 high-intermediate) English speakers read a narrative containing 16 recurring non-word target items. Within each proficiency group, one subgroup of participants was instructed that they would be given the word-focused activity after they finished reading, another subgroup was not. Participants then engaged in a word-focused activity that involved either the non-word target items or real words from the narrative. Finally, all participants were given a vocabulary test. We found that, compared to the real-word activity, the target-item activity led to significantly greater vocabulary gains, especially for the L2 high-intermediate learners, regardless of whether or not participants were forewarned of an upcoming word-focused activity.

Although extensive research exists on the personal, social, and academic outcomes of community-engaged programs (CEPs), limited research exists on vocabulary learning and students’ perceptions of their own vocabulary learning through participation in a CEP. Likewise, limited research exists on vocabulary learning in mixed-proficiency groups of Spanish second language (L2) learners. This study contributes to the current literature by exploring the vocabulary learning of 57 mixed-proficiency L2-Spanish college students who participated in a health-focused after-school program with Spanish–English bilingual children in a Midwestern city in the US. The higher proficiency students were enrolled in a language-focused class, whereas the lower-level students were enrolled in a Spanish for health professional’s class. Student reflective narratives revealed positive perceptions of vocabulary learning during the CEP, as vocabulary learning was seen to be fundamental to connecting with children in the Latino community. Productive vocabulary tests revealed significantly higher gains on vocabulary items that had been explicitly taught in class, but gains varied according to learners’ proficiency levels. Lower-level students showed both higher gains and a higher perception of vocabulary gains than more advanced students. Students’ reflective narratives suggest that the focus on health content in the lower-level class may have contributed both to vocabulary gains and to students’ awareness of learning. Recommendations for effective vocabulary instruction for mixed-proficiency students in a CEP are presented.

Given the immense potential of cognitive linguistics for second language teaching and the need to produce more robust empirical evidence of its effectiveness for a range of learners in real classrooms, the current study set out to investigate the effectiveness of a novel cognitive linguistics-inspired approach for teaching Spanish prepositions and aspect to novice learners (n = 30). Animated videos, which were created collaboratively with students to ensure their comprehensibility, presented Principled Polysemy Networks for the prepositions por and para and the concept of boundedness for aspect (preterite and imperfect). After presentation, practice, and feedback cycles, learners made significant gains on controlled production tasks and performed as well as more advanced learners recruited in prior studies, suggesting that the cognitive linguistics approach was effective for these novices. The study found no statistically significant correlations between learning outcomes and individual difference measures of executive function, working memory, motivation, or learning style, which was cautiously interpreted as suggesting that the applied cognitive linguistics approach benefited all learners, not just a subset with particular abilities.

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.

Despite substantial advances in the field of instructed second language acquisition (SLA) with regard to our understanding of second language (L2) pronunciation development and pedagogy, many language instructors continue to report a lack of confidence in incorporating pronunciation instruction (PI) into their classes. This survey study examined 100 Spanish instructors’ perceptions of the usefulness of various types of knowledge, skills, and approaches to PI, as well as their confidence in those domains, and the extent to which their previous training in teaching methods was related to their ratings of usefulness and confidence. After running principal components analyses to identify factors in the survey data, we fit mixed-effects models to each factor, then delved more deeply into some descriptive trends to offer recommendations for professional development opportunities. The latter results suggested that Spanish teachers might have greater appreciation for, as well as confidence in, focusing on segmentals over suprasegmentals, practice activities over assessment, perception assessment over production assessment, and implicit over explicit feedback. Consistent with previous research, some of the highest confidence levels were expressed regarding controlled techniques, alongside relatively low confidence in familiarity with research. Concerning metalinguistic tools, respondents seemed to value diagrams and descriptions over terminology and transcription, but they viewed these tools as less useful than perception, production, and communication practice. While greater training was often associated with higher perceptions of usefulness and confidence, there were cases where respondents with the least training showed the highest confidence. These results suggest some key priorities for teacher training.

This mixed-methods study investigates the use of synchronous video computer-mediated communication (SVCMC) in a U.S. university’s Spanish-as-a-foreign-language curriculum. Using the SVCMC platform TalkAbroad, the university’s Spanish program required second-year students to participate in five, 30-minute, SVCMC conversations with Spanish first language (L1) speakers. Students then reflected on their SVCMC conversations by replaying the recorded audio from those sessions and transcribing passages of their conversations. Using an interactionist perspective, this research explores the utility of: (1) the SVCMC conversations, and (2) the subsequent listening/transcription activity by examining students’ reported noticing of linguistic items (e.g. L1 speaker vocabulary, grammar, etc.). Additionally, we report students’ general perceptions of engaging in SVCMC with TalkAbroad. Students’ noticing and perceptions were investigated using a combination of two questionnaires (N = 35) that were administered following (1) the SVCMC, and (2) the listening/transcription activity, along with semi-structured interviews (n = 10). Findings suggest both the SVCMC and listening/transcription activities are effective in promoting the noticing of vocabulary and content, but not grammar. Finally, students generally reported positive perceptions of engaging in SVCMC for the purposes of L2 learning. Related implications for pedagogy and curriculum design are discussed.

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.