An Exploratory Study of Focus on Form Instruction: How Advanced ESL
Writers Attend to Form During Group Work
Western Kentucky University, USA
Focus on form instruction has been posited as addressing
second language forms while simultaneously engaging students in authentic communication.
However, for purely practical reasons, teacher-initiated focus on form instruction
seems unable to be carried out in the majority of ESL/EFL classrooms. Theoretically,
then, student-initiated focus on form intruction seems to be a possible way in
which learners' form-based needs can be met in a communicative setting. However,
very little research has been done into discovering whether or not learners are
willing and/or able to attend to form without requesting help from their teachers.
The following study examined whether or not learners in an advanced ESL writing
class were able to focus on form independently of the teacher while engaging in
group writing activities. The results indicated that they were able to do so and
in a variety of ways, such as through negotiating problematic forms and asking
direct questions to other learners about language. Such findings suggest that
student-generated focus on form is a viable option for addressing L2 forms, especially
in classes in which teachers are unable to do so.