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Volume 5 Number 2, Summer 2008, Pages 1-170   

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Using Focus on Form Instruction in the Teaching and Learning of Grammar in a Malaysian Classroom

    Juliana Othman and Lilliati Ismail

This study examines the effects of using focus on form instruction on a group of L2 learners' accurate production of the past simple tense and the past perfect tense. This study also seeks to determine the characteristics of focus on form episodes (FFEs) that contributed to uptake. Using a quasi-experimental research design, data were elicited from two English as a second language (ESL) classes in a secondary school. One class was taught using focus on form instruction, while the other was taught using current standard practices. A pretest and a posttest were administered to determine the effects of focus on form instruction on the accurate production of the past simple tense and past perfect tense. In addition, the discourse during each FFE in the treatment group was audio-recorded, transcribed and coded to identify the characteristics of FFEs that influenced uptake. A quantitative analysis of the data, using a t-test for independent samples and chi-square tests indicate that the treatment group produced a significantly higher frequency of accurate past simple tense and past perfect tense than the control group. The results also suggest that characteristics such as linguistic focus, complexity, type of feedback, source and directness of FFEs influenced both the frequency of uptake and its successfulness. The findings from this study would have practical implications for second language teaching and learning.

Keywords: focus on form, grammar teaching, Malaysian context