Edited by Andrea E. Tyler, Lourdes Ortega, Mariko Uno and Hae In Park
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 49] 2018
► pp. 165–185
Chapter 8. Using metacognitive strategies to induce phase shifts
A complex systems approach to L2 listening instruction
In this chapter, we critically self-evaluate a previously published study through the lens of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) theory. In this way we propose a Complex Adaptive Systems approach to second language (L2) language development in order to examine the effectiveness of explicit listening instruction and metacognition. We do this by conceiving of problems in listening comprehension as attractors in the state space of L2 language development and interpreting explicit instruction as a way of inducing a phase shift. The original study used a traditional pretest-posttest design to evaluate the effectiveness of a teaching method using metacognitive listening strategies and audiovisual media. We present the original design and results, discuss why this method is insufficient for considering language from a usage-inspired complexity perspective, and offer some suggestions for how it may be re-conceptualized via CAS theory. We argue that a complex systems perspective allows for more freedom in interpreting results by taking into account the nonlinear nature of language development and its inherent variability.
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