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Volume 18 Number 4, Winter 2021, Pages 1071-1525   

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Explicit Instruction of English Articles: An Appraisal of Consciousness-Raising Instruction and Processing Instruction Frameworks

    Mohammad Hassanzadeh & Faezeh Shahbazi

The instructed acquisition of the English articles (EAs) has proved to be an ordeal for L2 learners, irrespective of their L1 background. Research suggests that as EAs are non-salient, misusing them may not spark a tangible breakdown in communication. The current study attempted to investigate the short- and long-term effects of explicit instruction on the retention of EAs. Participants were university-level Farsi-speaking EFL learners from three intact groups, namely “processing instruction” (PI) as a deductive intervention, “consciousness-raising instruction” (CRI) as an explicit-inductive intervention, and a “control” group. The PI group received explicit training on the target rules and processing challenges represented by the EAs, coupled with structured input activities. In the second group, through a so-called PACE model as a subcategory of CRI, the focus was on co-constructing the rules. The treatments were followed by three posttests at different intervals. The within-groups analysis of results revealed that CRI had a rather short-term effect on the learners' productive ability, whereas PI had a late-emerging impact on their receptive performance. Nevertheless, the analysis of between-groups differences indicated that neither of the experimental conditions outdid the control group during any of the posttest phases. The implications for pedagogy and future research are discussed.

Keywords: consciousness-raising instruction, English articles, explicit instruction, processing instruction, The PACE model