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On incidental learning of grammar

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  • Carlos Mayora
    Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY learning, he wasn t that
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 2, 2006
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      Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
      confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
      learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
      incidental GRAMMAR learning.
      Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
      might find interesting.
      Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled to
      acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
      ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
      processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
      for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
      processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
      acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing of
      our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
      Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our processing
      ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources left
      for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
      for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
      attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
      Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
      extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the most
      direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
      when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
      permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free to
      start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
      learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
      input.
      This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
      processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
      processed:
      1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
      2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
      not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
      3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
      learners posses.
      Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
      contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary development)
      rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
      processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
      the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of form.
      These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
      instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
      learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
      tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
      raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
      This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
      contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
      discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
      ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
      the activity. It is also important to consider the context in which
      the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
      exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours a
      week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
      there other objectives in the syllabus?
      I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
      comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
      vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
      intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
      A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
      underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
      peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
      doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
      learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
      studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This might
      be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
      direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
    • educaonline2
      Thanks Carlos for contributing from a different angle to our on- going discussion on grammar and ER. To add one other bit, the following passage should help to
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 3, 2006
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        Thanks Carlos for contributing from a different angle to our on-
        going discussion on grammar and ER. To add one other bit, the
        following passage should help to think about the atmosphere in which
        writers attempt to situate explicit grammar teaching these days,
        making it clear that this ain't the 80's no more. If interested keep
        reading...
        Best wishes,
        Juan

        ------------------
        Collins and Lee*** writes:

        "Despite some commentators' opposition to explicit grammar teaching
        in the 70and 80s (e.g. Krashen, 1985), grammar instruction has come
        back into prominence. Those who are in favour of grammar teaching
        (e.g. White, 1987; Ur,1988; Tsui, 1991; Ellis, 2005) argue that some
        grammatical forms cannot be acquired merely on the basis of
        comprehensible input and that formal instruction is necessary for
        learners to acquire those forms. They make a distinction between the
        learning of the first language in natural contexts where the amount
        of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
        formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
        second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
        motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
        essential to acquiring the language. The issue now therefore is not
        whether grammar should be taught or not, but how to teach grammar."
        Collins and Lee (2005:37)

        ***Collins,P. and J.Lee (2005) English grammar in current Honk Kong
        textbooks: A critical appraisal. Tesl Reporter 38 (2), pp. 37-49.





        --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "Carlos Mayora"
        <fmayora@...> wrote:
        >
        > Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
        > confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
        > learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
        > incidental GRAMMAR learning.
        > Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
        > might find interesting.
        > Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled
        to
        > acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
        > ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
        > processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
        > for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
        > processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
        > acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing
        of
        > our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
        > Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our
        processing
        > ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources
        left
        > for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
        > for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
        > attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
        > Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
        > extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the
        most
        > direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
        > when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
        > permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free
        to
        > start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
        > learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
        > input.
        > This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
        > processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
        > processed:
        > 1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
        > 2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
        > not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
        > 3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
        > learners posses.
        > Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
        > contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary
        development)
        > rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
        > processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
        > the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of
        form.
        > These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
        > instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
        > learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
        > tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
        > raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
        > This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
        > contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
        > discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
        > ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
        > the activity. It is also important to consider the context in
        which
        > the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
        > exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours
        a
        > week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
        > there other objectives in the syllabus?
        > I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
        > comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
        > vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
        > intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
        > A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
        > underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
        > peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
        > doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
        > learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
        > studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This
        might
        > be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
        > direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
        >
      • Scott Miles
        A few comments on the Collins and Lee excerpt: Yes, many scholars argue that formal instruction is needed for students to learn grammar. But have they proved
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 5, 2006
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          A few comments on the Collins and Lee excerpt:

          Yes, many scholars argue that formal instruction is needed for students to learn grammar. But have they proved that formal instruction is more effective? Could someone point out some any studies that show students receiving explicit instruction in grammar outpeform a comparison group that just gets large quantities of enjoyable and varied comprehensible input at their level? I have seen studies that show groups doing extensive reading equal or outpeform comparison groups who get a lot of explicit instruction. I think we need to see more studies which have explicit grammar instruction go up head to head with an input only group before we can be confident about what explicit instruction can and can not do for students.

          In my personal view, I think some explicit instruction is helpful, though the majority of one's study should be spent getting good input. I suspect that explicit grammar teaching has a more limited role than many of the scholars mentioned by Collins and Lee would like to admit. I see this every day with my Korean students who know grammar rules better than most English teachers, but cannot use them in spontaneous speech to save their lives. As Krashen has pointed out many times in the past, most studies which supposedly show the superiority of explicit grammar instruction do not test spontaneous productive knowledge.

          One more comment on the excerpt:

          "They make a distinction between the
          learning of the first language in natural contexts  where the amount
          of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
          formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
          second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
          motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
          essential to acquiring the language."

          I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen. All the organized grammar teaching in the world is not going to change that. If you disagree, I can show you millions of Asians who have gone through 10+ years of explicit English instruction that cannot hold a simple conversation.

          To me, the main question is not  how to teach grammar. The main question is how to find an ideal balance of explicit instruction and comprehensible input. From the research that I am familiar with, the number one problem for EFL learners is not a need for better explicit grammar instruction, but the opportunities for more engaging input at their level.




           
               



          educaonline2 <educaonline2@...> wrote:

          Thanks Carlos for contributing from a different angle to our on-
          going discussion on grammar and ER. To add one other bit, the
          following passage should help to think about the atmosphere in which
          writers attempt to situate explicit grammar teaching these days,
          making it clear that this ain't the 80's no more. If interested keep
          reading...
          Best wishes,
          Juan

          ------------------
          Collins and Lee*** writes:

          "Despite some commentators' opposition to explicit grammar teaching
          in the 70and 80s (e.g. Krashen, 1985), grammar instruction has come
          back into prominence. Those who are in favour of grammar teaching
          (e.g. White, 1987; Ur,1988; Tsui, 1991; Ellis, 2005) argue that some
          grammatical forms cannot be acquired merely on the basis of
          comprehensible input and that formal instruction is necessary for
          learners to acquire those forms. They make a distinction between the
          learning of the first language in natural contexts  where the amount
          of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
          formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
          second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
          motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
          essential to acquiring the language. The issue now therefore is not
          whether grammar should be taught or not, but how to teach grammar."
          Collins and Lee (2005:37)

          ***Collins,P. and J.Lee (2005) English grammar in current Honk Kong
          textbooks: A critical appraisal. Tesl Reporter 38 (2), pp. 37-49.





          --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "Carlos Mayora"
          <fmayora@...> wrote:
          >
          > Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
          > confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
          > learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
          > incidental GRAMMAR learning.
          > Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
          > might find interesting.
          > Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled
          to
          > acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
          > ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
          > processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
          > for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
          > processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
          > acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing
          of
          > our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
          > Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our
          processing
          > ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources
          left
          > for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
          > for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
          > attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
          > Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
          > extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the
          most
          > direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
          > when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
          > permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free
          to
          > start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
          > learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
          > input.
          > This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
          > processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
          > processed:
          > 1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
          > 2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
          > not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
          > 3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
          > learners posses.
          > Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
          > contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary
          development)
          > rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
          > processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
          > the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of
          form.
          > These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
          > instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
          > learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
          > tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
          > raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
          > This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
          > contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
          > discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
          > ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
          > the activity. It is also important to consider the context in
          which
          > the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
          > exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours
          a
          > week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
          > there other objectives in the syllabus?
          > I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
          > comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
          > vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
          > intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
          > A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
          > underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
          > peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
          > doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
          > learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
          > studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This
          might
          > be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
          > direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
          >






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        • juanarturo Pino
          Hi, there Thanks for responding. At one point you state: I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 5, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi, there
             
            Thanks for responding. At one point you state:
             
            "I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen."
             
            If only life were that easy: Motivation appears to be only just one of what has been  described as a "conspiracy" of important factors conducive to success in EFL.
             
            Best,
            Juan   

            Scott Miles <scottmiles67@...> wrote:
            A few comments on the Collins and Lee excerpt:

            Yes, many scholars argue that formal instruction is needed for students to learn grammar. But have they proved that formal instruction is more effective? Could someone point out some any studies that show students receiving explicit instruction in grammar outpeform a comparison group that just gets large quantities of enjoyable and varied comprehensible input at their level? I have seen studies that show groups doing extensive reading equal or outpeform comparison groups who get a lot of explicit instruction. I think we need to see more studies which have explicit grammar instruction go up head to head with an input only group before we can be confident about what explicit instruction can and can not do for students.

            In my personal view, I think some explicit instruction is helpful, though the majority of one's study should be spent getting good input. I suspect that explicit grammar teaching has a more limited role than many of the scholars mentioned by Collins and Lee would like to admit. I see this every day with my Korean students who know grammar rules better than most English teachers, but cannot use them in spontaneous speech to save their lives. As Krashen has pointed out many times in the past, most studies which supposedly show the superiority of explicit grammar instruction do not test spontaneous productive knowledge.

            One more comment on the excerpt:

            "They make a distinction between the
            learning of the first language in natural contexts  where the amount
            of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
            formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
            second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
            motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
            essential to acquiring the language."

            I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen. All the organized grammar teaching in the world is not going to change that. If you disagree, I can show you millions of Asians who have gone through 10+ years of explicit English instruction that cannot hold a simple conversation.

            To me, the main question is not  how to teach grammar. The main question is how to find an ideal balance of explicit instruction and comprehensible input. From the research that I am familiar with, the number one problem for EFL learners is not a need for better explicit grammar instruction, but the opportunities for more engaging input at their level.




             
                 



            educaonline2 <educaonline2@...> wrote:

            Thanks Carlos for contributing from a different angle to our on-
            going discussion on grammar and ER. To add one other bit, the
            following passage should help to think about the atmosphere in which
            writers attempt to situate explicit grammar teaching these days,
            making it clear that this ain't the 80's no more. If interested keep
            reading...
            Best wishes,
            Juan

            ------------------
            Collins and Lee*** writes:

            "Despite some commentators' opposition to explicit grammar teaching
            in the 70and 80s (e.g. Krashen, 1985), grammar instruction has come
            back into prominence. Those who are in favour of grammar teaching
            (e.g. White, 1987; Ur,1988; Tsui, 1991; Ellis, 2005) argue that some
            grammatical forms cannot be acquired merely on the basis of
            comprehensible input and that formal instruction is necessary for
            learners to acquire those forms. They make a distinction between the
            learning of the first language in natural contexts  where the amount
            of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
            formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
            second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
            motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
            essential to acquiring the language. The issue now therefore is not
            whether grammar should be taught or not, but how to teach grammar."
            Collins and Lee (2005:37)

            ***Collins,P. and J.Lee (2005) English grammar in current Honk Kong
            textbooks: A critical appraisal. Tesl Reporter 38 (2), pp. 37-49.





            --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "Carlos Mayora"
            <fmayora@...> wrote:
            >
            > Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
            > confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
            > learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
            > incidental GRAMMAR learning.
            > Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
            > might find interesting.
            > Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled
            to
            > acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
            > ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
            > processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
            > for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
            > processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
            > acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing
            of
            > our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
            > Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our
            processing
            > ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources
            left
            > for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
            > for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
            > attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
            > Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
            > extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the
            most
            > direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
            > when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
            > permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free
            to
            > start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
            > learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
            > input.
            > This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
            > processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
            > processed:
            > 1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
            > 2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
            > not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
            > 3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
            > learners posses.
            > Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
            > contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary
            development)
            > rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
            > processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
            > the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of
            form.
            > These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
            > instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
            > learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
            > tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
            > raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
            > This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
            > contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
            > discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
            > ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
            > the activity. It is also important to consider the context in
            which
            > the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
            > exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours
            a
            > week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
            > there other objectives in the syllabus?
            > I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
            > comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
            > vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
            > intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
            > A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
            > underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
            > peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
            > doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
            > learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
            > studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This
            might
            > be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
            > direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
            >






            __________________________________________________
            Do You Yahoo!?
            Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
            http://mail.yahoo.com

            __________________________________________________
            Do You Yahoo!?
            Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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          • navinder kaur
            Is there any connection between Self-efficacy belief (from student & teacher s perspective) and ER? Does the internal motivation/ability in relating to
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 5, 2006
            • 0 Attachment
               
              Is there any connection between Self-efficacy belief (from student & teacher's perspective) and ER? Does the internal motivation/ability in relating to comprehensible input play a major influence on students interest to do ER - especially so on reluctant readers?  On teacher's part: ER being more pleasure than exam oriented, will the teacher believe she can affect student's performance?
               
              Appreciate comments.
               
              Navinder. 

               




              From: juanarturo Pino <educaonline2@...>
              Reply-To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
              To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] Re: On incidental learning of grammar
              Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 07:00:02 -0700 (PDT)

              Hi, there
               
              Thanks for responding. At one point you state:
               
              "I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen."
               
              If only life were that easy: Motivation appears to be only just one of what has been  described as a "conspiracy" of important factors conducive to success in EFL.
               
              Best,
              Juan   



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            • Warren Ediger
              Navinder, I m in the middle of class right now and have only a couple of minutes, but I suggest you look at study 2 in the article by Lee in the Summer 2005
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 5, 2006
              • 0 Attachment
                Navinder,
                 
                I'm in the middle of class right now and have only a couple of minutes, but I suggest you look at study 2 in the article by Lee in the Summer 2005 issue of the IJFLT (free subscription) at http://www.ijflt.com/ re the benefits of explaining purpose of ER to students.
                 
                Also, look at the two articles on "home-run" experiences re development of self-motivation for reading at www.sdkrashen.com
                 
                Warren

                navinder kaur <navinder@...> wrote:
                 
                Is there any connection between Self-efficacy belief (from student & teacher's perspective) and ER? Does the internal motivation/ability in relating to comprehensible input play a major influence on students interest to do ER - especially so on reluctant readers?  On teacher's part: ER being more pleasure than exam oriented, will the teacher believe she can affect student's performance?
                 
                Appreciate comments.
                 
                Navinder. 

                 



                From: juanarturo Pino <educaonline2@...>
                Reply-To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
                To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] Re: On incidental learning of grammar
                Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 07:00:02 -0700 (PDT)

                Hi, there
                 
                Thanks for responding. At one point you state:
                 
                "I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen."
                 
                If only life were that easy: Motivation appears to be only just one of what has been  described as a "conspiracy" of important factors conducive to success in EFL.
                 
                Best,
                Juan   



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              • Pat Barrett
                After so many years on flteach, I find it really deja vu to see this explicit grammar instruction versus communicative teaching raging away on this List. I am
                Message 7 of 9 , Jun 5, 2006
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                  After so many years on flteach, I find it really deja vu to see this explicit grammar instruction versus communicative teaching raging away on this List. I am a fl teacher (Spanish, Russian & Latin) and I think most members of this List are English teachers, but the principals are certainly the same.
                  I liked Miles' post (reproduced below) although the motivation issue is, as Juan says, only part of it. I am going to start posting some essays and I'll include this List in my notifications of such because the level of knowledge and experiece here seem quite high. BTW, Stephen Krashen once participated on flteach, quite vigorously, and it is great to see a major figure in the field willing to jump into the middle of a free-for-all like these Lists.
                  I am beset with a Slavicist who insists that communicative teaching will not get learners to the ILR 3 level, necessary for processing government documents for analysis (Cold War hangover), what he calls 'reading between the lines'.
                  Perhaps Dr. Krashen will disagree with this, but it seems to me that when you are talking about being able to read material or listen to conversations in a language that are far beyond everyday language, special instruction, explicit teaching, enormous focus are required, even in one's native language.
                  It's obvious that "motivated" people can and do learn fl by immersing themselves in the population and activities of that language community, but it's also quite possible to live in such a community and not learn all that. To me, this is what 'fossilization' is about: the simple lack of interest in going further in L2, and not some barrier created by the brain's inability to shake some inaccurately learned form or pattern. This is where motivation comes in.
                  It also comes in in the classroom and I think it is extremely important that a number of posters have specified that it is the limitations of the classroom setting that we are dealing with. However, just because the classroom setting doesn't offer all the CI needed doesn't mean that explicit grammar instruction works. That's just not logical. We need proof, as Scott says, that it works, and where is that proof?
                  I totally agree that studies show that students receiving lots of CI learn L2 as well as or better than grammar-instructed students and also do well on grammar tests. Where is the evidence for the other notion ie. that explicit grammar instruction will result in proficiency? Everything I've seen is flawed, so be careful about pointing me to some old study everyone has read. Every article except one in Doughty and Williams' Focus on Form states forcefully that they are not talking about a return to decontexualized explicit grammar instruction.
                  OK - long enough.
                  PBarrett@...  Pat Barrett
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 1:43 AM
                  Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] Re: On incidental learning of grammar

                  A few comments on the Collins and Lee excerpt:

                  Yes, many scholars argue that formal instruction is needed for students to learn grammar. But have they proved that formal instruction is more effective? Could someone point out some any studies that show students receiving explicit instruction in grammar outpeform a comparison group that just gets large quantities of enjoyable and varied comprehensible input at their level? I have seen studies that show groups doing extensive reading equal or outpeform comparison groups who get a lot of explicit instruction. I think we need to see more studies which have explicit grammar instruction go up head to head with an input only group before we can be confident about what explicit instruction can and can not do for students.

                  In my personal view, I think some explicit instruction is helpful, though the majority of one's study should be spent getting good input. I suspect that explicit grammar teaching has a more limited role than many of the scholars mentioned by Collins and Lee would like to admit. I see this every day with my Korean students who know grammar rules better than most English teachers, but cannot use them in spontaneous speech to save their lives. As Krashen has pointed out many times in the past, most studies which supposedly show the superiority of explicit grammar instruction do not test spontaneous productive knowledge.

                  One more comment on the excerpt:

                  "They make a distinction between the
                  learning of the first language in natural contexts  where the amount
                  of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
                  formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
                  second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
                  motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
                  essential to acquiring the language."

                  I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen. All the organized grammar teaching in the world is not going to change that. If you disagree, I can show you millions of Asians who have gone through 10+ years of explicit English instruction that cannot hold a simple conversation.

                  To me, the main question is not  how to teach grammar. The main question is how to find an ideal balance of explicit instruction and comprehensible input. From the research that I am familiar with, the number one problem for EFL learners is not a need for better explicit grammar instruction, but the opportunities for more engaging input at their level. 




                   
                       



                • scottmiles67
                  ... motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time, language learning is just not going to happen. ... one of what has been described as
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jun 11, 2006
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                    In response to my earlier posting:

                    > "I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have
                    motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time,
                    language learning is just not going to happen."

                    Juan wrote:
                    > If only life were that easy: Motivation appears to be only just
                    one of what has been described as a "conspiracy" of important factors
                    conducive to success in EFL.


                    Didn't mean to imply that motivation is the only factor in learning a
                    language, just a crucial one.

                    The idea that explicit instruction is the answer for unmotivated
                    students doesn't make much sense to me. When faced with unmotivated
                    students, as I often am, the first step is to try to change their
                    attitudes toward language learning and help them find motivation. In
                    my experience, explicit instruction on, for example, the present
                    perfect grammar form has yet to do much in this regard.

                    However, introducing students to extensive reading and listening has
                    worked for some students.

                    Perhaps I'm reading the Collins and Lee excerpt wrong, but their
                    reasoning seems a bit lacking.




                    >
                    > Best,
                    > Juan
                    >
                    > Scott Miles <scottmiles67@...> wrote:
                    > A few comments on the Collins and Lee excerpt:
                    >
                    > Yes, many scholars argue that formal instruction is needed for
                    students to learn grammar. But have they proved that formal
                    instruction is more effective? Could someone point out some any
                    studies that show students receiving explicit instruction in grammar
                    outpeform a comparison group that just gets large quantities of
                    enjoyable and varied comprehensible input at their level? I have seen
                    studies that show groups doing extensive reading equal or outpeform
                    comparison groups who get a lot of explicit instruction. I think we
                    need to see more studies which have explicit grammar instruction go up
                    head to head with an input only group before we can be confident about
                    what explicit instruction can and can not do for students.
                    >
                    > In my personal view, I think some explicit instruction is helpful,
                    though the majority of one's study should be spent getting good input.
                    I suspect that explicit grammar teaching has a more limited role than
                    many of the scholars mentioned by Collins and Lee would like to admit.
                    I see this every day with my Korean students who know grammar rules
                    better than most English teachers, but cannot use them in spontaneous
                    speech to save their lives. As Krashen has pointed out many times in
                    the past, most studies which supposedly show the superiority of
                    explicit grammar instruction do not test spontaneous productive
                    knowledge.
                    >
                    > One more comment on the excerpt:
                    >
                    > "They make a distinction between the
                    > learning of the first language in natural contexts where the amount
                    > of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
                    > formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
                    > second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
                    > motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
                    > essential to acquiring the language."
                    >
                    > I hate to be a party pooper, but if a person does not have
                    motivation to learn a language and is unwilling to put in the time,
                    language learning is just not going to happen. All the organized
                    grammar teaching in the world is not going to change that. If you
                    disagree, I can show you millions of Asians who have gone through 10+
                    years of explicit English instruction that cannot hold a simple
                    conversation.
                    >
                    > To me, the main question is not how to teach grammar. The main
                    question is how to find an ideal balance of explicit instruction and
                    comprehensible input. From the research that I am familiar with, the
                    number one problem for EFL learners is not a need for better explicit
                    grammar instruction, but the opportunities for more engaging input at
                    their level.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > educaonline2 <educaonline2@...> wrote:
                    > Thanks Carlos for contributing from a different angle to our on-
                    > going discussion on grammar and ER. To add one other bit, the
                    > following passage should help to think about the atmosphere in which
                    > writers attempt to situate explicit grammar teaching these days,
                    > making it clear that this ain't the 80's no more. If interested keep
                    > reading...
                    > Best wishes,
                    > Juan
                    >
                    > ------------------
                    > Collins and Lee*** writes:
                    >
                    > "Despite some commentators' opposition to explicit grammar teaching
                    > in the 70and 80s (e.g. Krashen, 1985), grammar instruction has come
                    > back into prominence. Those who are in favour of grammar teaching
                    > (e.g. White, 1987; Ur,1988; Tsui, 1991; Ellis, 2005) argue that some
                    > grammatical forms cannot be acquired merely on the basis of
                    > comprehensible input and that formal instruction is necessary for
                    > learners to acquire those forms. They make a distinction between the
                    > learning of the first language in natural contexts where the amount
                    > of time and exposure is so great that that there is no necessity for
                    > formal grammar instruction and for the learning of a language in a
                    > second/foreign learning environment where the time available and
                    > motivation are much less, and organized grammar teaching is
                    > essential to acquiring the language. The issue now therefore is not
                    > whether grammar should be taught or not, but how to teach grammar."
                    > Collins and Lee (2005:37)
                    >
                    > ***Collins,P. and J.Lee (2005) English grammar in current Honk Kong
                    > textbooks: A critical appraisal. Tesl Reporter 38 (2), pp. 37-49.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "Carlos Mayora"
                    > <fmayora@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
                    > > confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
                    > > learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
                    > > incidental GRAMMAR learning.
                    > > Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
                    > > might find interesting.
                    > > Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled
                    > to
                    > > acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
                    > > ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
                    > > processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
                    > > for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
                    > > processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
                    > > acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing
                    > of
                    > > our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
                    > > Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our
                    > processing
                    > > ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources
                    > left
                    > > for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
                    > > for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
                    > > attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
                    > > Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
                    > > extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the
                    > most
                    > > direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
                    > > when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
                    > > permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free
                    > to
                    > > start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
                    > > learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
                    > > input.
                    > > This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
                    > > processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
                    > > processed:
                    > > 1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
                    > > 2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
                    > > not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
                    > > 3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
                    > > learners posses.
                    > > Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
                    > > contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary
                    > development)
                    > > rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
                    > > processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
                    > > the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of
                    > form.
                    > > These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
                    > > instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
                    > > learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
                    > > tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
                    > > raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
                    > > This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
                    > > contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
                    > > discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
                    > > ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
                    > > the activity. It is also important to consider the context in
                    > which
                    > > the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
                    > > exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours
                    > a
                    > > week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
                    > > there other objectives in the syllabus?
                    > > I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
                    > > comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
                    > > vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
                    > > intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
                    > > A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
                    > > underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
                    > > peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
                    > > doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
                    > > learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
                    > > studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This
                    > might
                    > > be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
                    > > direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • educaonline2
                    Hi Carlos and everyone, Thanks for your response Carlos. I can live with your theoretical explanation and like you and Rory I feel we need to move along
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jul 29, 2006
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                      Hi Carlos and everyone,

                      Thanks for your response Carlos. I can live with your theoretical
                      explanation and like you and Rory I feel " we need to move along
                      from the incidental vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true
                      understanding of the intermingling nature of these two apparent
                      extremes". (Not sure if the above-mentioned intermingling is
                      apparent or overt).
                      Recently I asked EReaders to make a list of words and grammar
                      structures which they have learned incidentally while reading
                      silently on a especially designed worksheet. I again got plenty of
                      words to wok with but only 5 out of 30 students noticed and wrote
                      down the three passive sentences which I had included in the text
                      for this activity. Enterviewed after I read the students' papers, 3
                      out those who had written the 3 passives either knew well or kind of
                      the passive construction plus that they all suspected that those
                      were the things I was looking for. All 5 students had scored high a
                      a previous C-test. I admit that I've got to refine the methodology
                      on the one hand (I call it "cut and paste") and let students do
                      their classroom ER with no interference, on the other. I'd be
                      grateful to read methodology suggestions on this. Obviously, I can't
                      use these data to say much incodental learning but it again somehow
                      adds to my suspicion that ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY but not
                      (or perhaps I should say, not much)grammar incidental learning.
                      Best wishes,
                      Juan



                      --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "Carlos Mayora"
                      <fmayora@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Juan commented a couple of weeks ago that although he felt quite
                      > confident about claiming the ER fosters incidental VOCABULARY
                      > learning, he wasn't that confident about claiming the same about
                      > incidental GRAMMAR learning.
                      > Herein, I present a possible theoretical explanation some of you
                      > might find interesting.
                      > Skehan (1998, 2002) proposes that during childhood we are enabled
                      to
                      > acquire grammar incidentally from mere exposure. As we age, this
                      > ability is minimized or lost (critical period) and our language
                      > processing becomes meaning oriented, that is, we process language
                      > for meaning and much less attention is devoted to form in language
                      > processing. By this time, the grammar of our L1 has already been
                      > acquired so this shift for meaning does not affect the processing
                      of
                      > our L1. As we start learning an L2, we process it for meaning.
                      > Processing the new semantic code takes up almost all our
                      processing
                      > ability and attention. Thus there are no attentional resources
                      left
                      > for the processing of language form. This assumption is the basis
                      > for the focus-on-form trend in language teaching. Learner's
                      > attention needs to be deliberately addressed to form.
                      > Applying this to ER, it might be the case that as learners read
                      > extensively they process the language for meaning and thus the
                      most
                      > direct impact of the activity is in vocabulary development. Only
                      > when a sight and passive vocabulary has expanded enough so as to
                      > permit fast and easy meaning processing, enough attention is free
                      to
                      > start processing form. If this is so, then incidental grammatical
                      > learning might take place after long and expanded exposure to the
                      > input.
                      > This coincides with Van Patten (1996) principles of input
                      > processing. He argues that three principles apply when L2 input is
                      > processed:
                      > 1.input is processed for meaning before being processed for form
                      > 2. non-meaningful form is processed only when such processing does
                      > not imply (or imply very little) a cost on attentional resources.
                      > 3. syntactic interpretation is compensated by default strategies
                      > learners posses.
                      > Then again, if we see ER from this point of view, its main
                      > contribution will be to meaning processing (vocabulary
                      development)
                      > rather than to form which will be attended to only when meaning
                      > processing is executed at ease and at little attentional cost, in
                      > the meantime, strategies will compensate for the processing of
                      form.
                      > These authors (along with others) emphasize that the role of
                      > instruction is directing learners' attention to form and to raise
                      > learners' awareness. In ER, this might be the role of follow up
                      > tasks. But not traditional grammar-based activities, but awareness-
                      > raising and reflective tasks (Ellis, 2002).
                      > This message wasn't as extensive as RR's and other members' recent
                      > contributions. This isn't intended to be the final answer to the
                      > discussion. My view is that incidental learning of grammar through
                      > ER might be seen in the long run and not as an immediate result of
                      > the activity. It is also important to consider the context in
                      which
                      > the ER program is implemented: Is it a L2 reading program
                      > exclusively or is it part of a general EFL program? How many hours
                      a
                      > week can be devoted to ER? Is ER the only activity to do or are
                      > there other objectives in the syllabus?
                      > I'd also like to highlight my support and agreement with RR's
                      > comment as she said that we need to move along from the incidental
                      > vs. instructed dichotomy and embrace a true understanding of the
                      > intermingling nature of these two apparent extremes.
                      > A final comment on Juan's question: "Would Pedro's strategy to
                      > underline al verb tenses in a reading passage and them ask me, his
                      > peers and his many sources book qualify as incidental learning? It
                      > doesn't to me but I could be wrong here. " I think that if the
                      > learner is going to grammar books or asking teacher/peers and
                      > studying rules on his/her own then it is not incidental. This
                      might
                      > be seen as an extracurricular voluntary activity or as a cognitive
                      > direct strategy but not within the label of incidental learning.
                      >
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