Improving students’ communicative competence through focus on form instructions and assessment
Traditional grammar teaching consists of focus on forms where L2 learners conduct grammar practice without necessarily understanding the meaning of the sentences. On the contrary, focus on form is a different approach to grammar teaching where students can focus on the meaning before focusing on form. This presentation reports the results of nineteen months of action research with 2nd and 3rd year junior high school students conducted in a small private language school. The students’ proficiency and attitude toward language learning varied widely. Nevertheless, focus on form instruction gradually helped them engage in all activities, express opinions, listen to others, reply to questions, and give feedback to their classmates. As an assessment, performance tests (writing and speaking) gave students positive washback to improve their communicative competence. Overall, communicative competence dramatically increased through use of student-centered, integrated-skills lessons. Interactive peer-editing and timed-conversation activities enhanced their motivation. The presenter will display data collected from surveys, video-recordings, writing samples, self-evaluations, and formative assessments.
Yoko Takano has taught English to students from age 3 to 66 in private language schools for 19 years. She obtained her MATESOL degree at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies and Hawaii Pacific University MA TESOL certificate.