Studies in Second Language Acquisition

Research Article

Focus-on-Form and Corrective Feedback in Communicative Language Teaching

Effects on Second Language Learning

Patsy M. Lightbowna1 and Nina Spadaa2

a1 Concordia University

a2 McGill University


The developing oral English of approximately 100 second language learners (four intact classes) was examined in this study. The learners were native speakers of French (aged 10–12 years) who had received a 5-month intensive ESL course in either grade 5 or grade 6 in elementary schools in Quebec. A large corpus of classroom observation data was also analyzed.

Substantial between-class differences were found in the accuracy with which students used such English structures as progressive -ing and adjective–noun order in noun phrases. There was some evidence that these differences (which were not correlated with performance on listening comprehension tests) were due to differences in teachers' form-focused instruction. These findings are discussed in terms of current competing views of the role of form-focused instruction in second language learning.

(Received September 05 1989)