The effects of implicit and explicit instructions on acquisition of two English grammatical structures
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Citation:Reinders, H. (2008) The effects of implicit and explicit instructions on acquisition of two English grammatical structures. Korean Journal of Applied Linguistics, 24(1), 1-18. NOTE: This is research undertaken for RELC, Singapore before the author being affiliated to the Unitec Institute of Technology.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2484
The use of tasks is often seen as a means for preparing learners for real-life communication, a way of providing learners with opportunities to practise meaningful communication and to acquire implicit knowledge. “It is clear to me that if learners are to develop the competence they need to use a language easily and effectively in the kinds of situations they meet outside the classroom they need to experience how language is used as a tool for communicating inside it” (R. Ellis, 2003, p. ix; emphasis in original). There are, of course, many different definitions of tasks. Bygate, Skehan, & Swain list several of these (2001, p. 9), some of which specifically characterise tasks as involving a focus on meaning; “a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing, or interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form:” (Nunan, 1989), and “tasks are always activities where the target language is used by the learner for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome (Willis, 1996; see also Skehan, 1998). Other definitions are more general and focus on the structured aspect of tasks: “any structured language learning endeavour which has a particular objective, appropriate content, a specified working procedure, and a range of outcomes for those who undertake the task” (Breen, 1987; see also Carroll, 1993). It is interesting to note that Breen does not focus on tasks as taking place in a classroom; the definition leaves open the possibility that tasks can take place outside the classroom, and perhaps even without teacher guidance. Other definitions do emphasise the classroom setting (cf. Nunan, 1989). Long’s (1981) definition is even more open-ended: “a task is a piece of work undertaken for oneself or for others, freely or for some reward” and does not even have to involve the use of language.