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Teacher- and learner-led discourse as tools for L2 grammatical development in task-based Spanish instruction


Teacher- and learner-led discourse as tools for L2 ... Learner-Led Discourse. Weaknesses: Learners often produce minimal utterances ... Led Discourse ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teacher- and learner-led discourse as tools for L2 grammatical development in task-based Spanish instruction

Teacher- and learner-led discourse as tools for
L2 grammatical development in task-based Spanish
  • Paul D. Toth
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • ptoth_at_wisc.edu
  • 2007 TLBT Conference, University of Hawaii

Instruction L2 grammatical development
  • Provision of comprehensible L2 input via
  • Modifications to instructional speech or
  • Opportunities for learner negotiation
  • Attention directed to L2 form-meaning
    relationships via
  • Salience in instructional speech or materials
  • Explicit, metalinguistic information about the L2
  • Feedback on learner performance
  • Opportunities for L2 output (Swain, 1985, 1995,
  • Learners pushed to encode meaning in
  • Test hypotheses about L2 form-meaning
  • Notice gaps in L2 grammar
  • Conceptualize L2 grammar through metatalk

Task-Based Instruction
  • Requires learners to use language, with
    emphasis on meaning, to attain an objective
    (Bygate, Skehan, Swain, 2001, p. 11)
  • Focused tasks target the purposeful use of
    specific L2 structures to express meaning (Ellis,
    2003, p. 16)
  • Descriptions adjective agreement
  • Narration past tense and aspect marking
  • Requests of others subjunctive mood
  • Explaining procedures impersonal passive
  • Narrating spontaneous events inchoative verbs

Learner-Led Discourse
  • Strengths
  • More like real world communication (Nunan, 1987)
  • Participatory structure more suitable for
    negotiation, especially during information gap
    tasks (Pica, 1987 Pica et al., 1993)
  • More discourse turns per learner more
    opportunities for negotiation (Lee, 2000 Long
    Porter, 1985)
  • Greater linguistic autonomy and self-regulation
    (van Lier, 1996)
  • Learners assist each other during task
    performance (Donato, 1994 Swain, 1998, 2000
    Swain Lapkin, 1995)

Learner-Led Discourse
  • Weaknesses
  • Learners often produce minimal utterances
    (Seedhouse, 1999)
  • Learners are poor L2 models for each other
    (Prabhu, 1987)
  • Learners prefer to focus on lexical rather than
    morphosyntactic L2 issues when negotiating
    (Buckwalter, 2001 Morris, 2002 Williams, 1999)
  • Suggested Remedies
  • Make target forms useful or essential to task
    performance (Loschky Bley-Vroman, 1993 Fotos,
  • Precede tasks with pre-task warm-up to orient
    learners to necessary language follow tasks with
    post-task activity to lend accountability to
    learner performance (Skehan, 1996, 1998)

Teacher-Led Discourse
  • Strengths
  • Teacher input and support provides expert
    scaffolding for task performance (Adair-Hauck
    Donato, 1994 Antón, 1999 McCormick Donato,
  • Teacher feedback has been shown to benefit
    non-turn-taking listeners as well as active
    discourse participants (Ohta, 2000, 2001).
  • Weaknesses
  • Far fewer speaking turns per learner (Lee, 2000)
  • IRF sequences (Initiate, Response, Feedback)
    often limit learner utterances and prevent
    development of broader interactional competence
    (Brooks, 1993 Hall, 1995, 2004 Leemann-Guthrie,
    1984 Mehan, 1979 Nunan, 1990)

Teacher-Led Discourse
  • Suggested Remedies
  • Design whole-class activities as collaborative
    communication tasks, rather than mechanical
    grammar drills (DeKeyser, 1998 Wong VanPatten,
  • Teachers should build their turns upon topical
    content of learner utterances, as follow up
    moves (Johnson, 1995 Toth, 2004 Wells, 1998)
  • Solicit multiple learner responses to teacher
    questions before moving onto another question

Motivation for comparing TLD LLD
  • Importance of interlocutors and interaction in L2
  • Little previous research
  • Pica (1987), Doughty Pica (1986) More
    negotiation for LLD in information exchange
    tasks similar amounts of negotiation in more
    open-ended collaborative discussion
  • Fotos (1993, 1994) TLD and LLD classes perform
    nearly equally, with TLD group noticing one of
    target structures more frequently
  • Calls for further research
  • Pica (1994) Benefits of negotiated interaction
    in learner dyads need to be supported by
    quantitative assessments of learning outcomes
  • DeKeyser (2003), Doughty (2003), Pica (2005)
    Quantitative studies of learning outcomes through
    LLD negotiation need to be conducted in
    ecologically-valid classroom contexts, rather
    than only in laboratory settings.

Spanish se
Se used to derive intransitive syntax from a
transitive verb (Dobrobie-Sorin, 1998 Montrul,
2004 Raposo Uriagereka, 1996)
a. Ellos prepararon la comida. AGENT
PATIENT They prepared the food.
  • ? Ellos se prepararon.
  • They prepared themselves / each other.

b. Ellos prepararon la comida. AGENT
PATIENT They prepared the food.
  • ? Se preparó la comida.
  • The food was prepared / One prepared

anticausative se
c. Ellos cocinaron la comida. AGENT
PATIENT They cooked the food.
? Se cocinó la comida.
PATIENT The food Ø cooked / was
cooked / One cooked food.
Research Questions
  • Question 1 Will LLD provide an advantage in
    grammaticality judgments for Spanish
    anticausative se when compared to TLD?
  • Question 2 Will LLD provide an advantage over
    TLD in performance with anticausative se on
    sentence-level picture descriptions?
  • Question 3 Will excerpts of classroom
    interactions reveal differences in the way
    learners in each group attend to the
    form-meaning relationships associated with
    anticausative se and use the target form for

Method Participants
  • 6 intact classes of 2nd semester beginning L2
    Spanish in two large, public American
    universities with identical Spanish curriculums.
    Each group comprised of two classes.
  • Teacher-Led Discourse (TLD) n 28
  • Learner-Led Discourse (LLD) n 25
  • Control Group (C) n 25
  • Native Speaker comparison group n 30

Method Instruction
Sequence of lesson topics for treatment groups
anticausative se
Method Instruction
  • Standard 50-minute daily lesson
  • Whole-class warm-up activity, reminiscent of
    previous days tasks (5 mins.)
  • Explicit grammar explanation for current days
    topic (5 mins.)
  • LLD 2 passes through pre-task, task, post-task
    sequence, with most tasks designed as two-way
    information gaps (40 mins.)
  • TLD 4-6 tasks mirroring those of the LLD group,
    implemented as whole-class, collaborative
    interaction. (40 mins.)

Method Instruction
  • Spotting differences activity
  • LLD implemented as a two-way information gap in
    small groups
  • TLD implemented as whole-class collaborative

Method Assessment
  • Experimental Design
  • Pre-test,
  • Immediate posttest
  • Delayed posttest (24 days after instruction)
  • Two test versions, piloted on two native
    speakers, and randomly assigned to learners. Then
    rotated over the three test administrations
  • Grammaticality judgment (GJ) task
  • Picture description task
  • Lesson on se of unplanned occurrences recorded
    and transcribed in each group

Method GJ Task
Sample items from the grammaticality judgment task
Method Picture Description Task
Sample item from the picture description task
Results Picture Description Task
increase 0.02
increase 0.31
increase 0.46
Results Picture Description Task
  • NS mean 0.48

Results GJ Task
increase 0.09
increase 0.36
increase 1.07
Results GJ Task
  • NS mean 2.24

Results Transcripts
1. LLD Information gap activity
Results Transcripts
2. LLD information gap activity
Results Transcripts
3. TLD whole-class collaborative discourse
Results Transcripts
3. TLD whole-class collaborative discourse
Results Transcripts
4. TLD whole-class collaborative discourse
Results Transcripts
5. TLD whole-class collaborative discourse
Results Transcripts
5. TLD whole-class collaborative discourse
Results Transcripts
6. LLD information gap activity
Results Transcripts
7. LLD Information gap activity
Results Transcripts
7. LLD Information gap activity (cont.)
Results Transcripts
7. LLD Information gap activity (cont.)
  • Under the best circumstances, learners attention
    to target forms may be limited in LLD
  • Developmental needs that focus attention other
    areas of L2 morphosyntax
  • Widely-observed tendency to focus on lexis rather
    than morphosyntax, and to prioritize getting
    meaning across over formal accuracy
  • Preference for self-correction rather than
    other-correction (Buckwalter, 2001 Seedhouse,
  • Participatory roles that, while increasing
    turn-taking, do not authorize individuals to
    assist in procedures for making output

  • In TLD, attention to target forms may be more
  • Provision of accurate input models and cues for
    using target form
  • Feedback centers on target form
  • Cumulative benefit of feedback to others, if
    relevance is maintained across discourse turns
  • Participatory roles allow teacher-expert to
    directly assist learners in formulating
  • Following Ohta (2001), potential for
    collaborative listeners to indirectly realize
    output benefits if they are cognitively engaged.

  • Teachers as providers of procedural assistance in
    output processing
  • Assistance with linguistic task of utterance
    formulation and morphosyntactic assembly, rather
    than conceptual or analytical scaffolding
    (Wood, Bruner, Ross, 1976).
  • Proactive, simultaneous assistance to learner
    rather than reactive and subsequent feedback, as
    in clarification requests, confirmation checks,
    or recasts. (Long, 1981, 1996).
  • Assistance utilizing L2 morphosyntax that is more
    complex than the learners extant interlanguage,
  • Useable metalinguistic information that can guide
    learners toward incorporating new forms into
    their L2 speech.

  • Hypothesized benefits of procedural assistance
  • Some current models of language processing hold
    that hierarchical morphosyntactic relationships
    are computed on-line, during comprehension or
    production (Harrington, 2001 Juffs, 2004
    Pritchett, 1992)
  • Parsing, or processing, L2 form-meaning
    relationships may be key to a transition theory
    that explains how the L2 linguistic properties
    become incorporated into interlanguage grammars.
    (Carroll, 2001 Gregg, 2001 Pienemann, 1999)
  • Procedural assistance may allow learners to
    implement, or proceduralize, the declarative L2
    metalinguistic knowledge they have, increasing
    the complexity of L2 utterances that they can
  • If learners are able to assemble more complex
    utterances with the assistance of an expert, this
    may facilitate incorporation of these structures
    into the implicit L2 grammatical system.

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