Measuring effectiveness in Focus on Form versus Focus on Meaning
So far empirical studies have shown that explicit Focus-on-Form (FonF) methods are more effective than implicit Focus-on-Meaning (FonM) methods (Norris & Ortega, 2000). However, many studies fail to address the notion of ‘effectiveness’ and the tests used usually favor the explicitly taught FonF groups in that some explicitly taught ‘rule’ is targeted. This paper argues that the effectiveness of FonF versus FonM methods will depend on how effectiveness is defined and operationalized and when it is measured. We compared the oral fluency of two groups of high school students after two years of instruction. One group was taught French with a FonF method, and the other with a FonM method called AIM (Maxwell, 2004). The free speech data of the two groups were scored for general proficiency (Study 1) and analyzed for grammatical accuracy (Study 2). The study shows that after two years of instruction the FonM scored higher than the FonF on oral proficiency and the same on grammatical accuracy.
Published online: 14 December 2012
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