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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

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Volume 55, Issue 2


Learning to improve grammar instruction through comprehensive analysis of past research

Andrew Schenck
Published Online: 2016-02-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2015-0038


Holistic study of grammar instruction is needed not only to establish the effectiveness of pedagogical techniques, but to determine when, and in what way, they should be utilized. Within a meta-analysis of 33 experimental studies, external stimuli impacting the language learner (scope of instruction, input or output enhancement, frequency of treatment, and EFL/ESL context) were concomitantly considered alongside cognitive factors (grammatical complexity and language proficiency). Results of linear regression revealed that the selected causal factors collectively explain more than 40 % of variability in the effectiveness of pedagogical techniques for English grammar production. Study further suggests that grammar emphasis with a limited scope may be more effective; input enhancement may be more effective with grammatical features that are less essential for communication (redundant, systematic, and less salient features such as past -ed); output enhancement may be more effective with grammatical features that have many salient lexical forms (e. g., past irregular); and learners in EFL contexts can benefit more from grammar instruction.

Keywords: grammar instruction; language proficiency; EFL; input; output; ESL


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-02-16

Published in Print: 2017-06-27

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, Volume 55, Issue 2, Pages 165–195, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2015-0038.

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