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Teaching Methodology

  • Date Submitted: 12/12/2011 04:14 PM
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Language Learning

ISSN 0023-8333

Teacher- and Learner-Led Discourse in Task-Based Grammar Instruction: Providing Procedural Assistance for Morphosyntactic Development
Paul D. Toth
Temple University

For many years, task-based second-language (L2) grammar instruction has been considered the ideal means for achieving a focus on linguistic form within meaningful, purposeful communication (Ellis, 2003; Long & Crookes, 1993; Nunan, 1989; Samuda & Bygate, 2008). Within this framework, small-group, learner-led discourse (LLD) is often believed to facilitate L2 development better than whole-class, teacher-led discourse (TLD), given the greater discursive autonomy for learners and presumed greater opportunities for negotiated interaction (Lee, 2000; Long & Porter, 1985; Pica, 1987; van Lier, 1996). Indeed, many have criticized TLD, given evidence of disfluent exchanges during which teacher turns impede rather than support learner participation (e.g., Brooks, 1993; Donato & Brooks, 2004; Hall, 1995, 2004; Leemann-Guthrie, 1984). Still, some have argued that TLD may greatly benefit learners if teacher assistance, negotiation, and feedback are well managed (Adair-Hauck & Donato, 1994; Ant´ n, 1999; McCormick o & Donato, 2000) and that witnesses to such exchanges may benefit as much as active participants (Ohta, 2001). However, only a few studies have directly compared TLD with LLD, and these have yielded conflicting results (Fotos, 1993, 1994; Pica & Doughty,

I am greatly indebted to the Spanish students at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Akron who participated in this study, as well as the instructors who graciously volunteered much time and effort to implement the treatment conditions, including Joyce Rowan, Fernando Feliu, Jessie Carduner, and Tim Aiken. A number of individuals also gave helpful advice, comments, and feedback on the design of this study since its inception as a dissertation project, as well as in its current format as a journal...


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