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Pedagogical Effectiveness and Feasibility of Focus on Form vs. Focus in a Reading Class:

by Gholam-Reza Abbasian, leila pooshaneh | 24 May 2016
Resource Description: Many empirical investigations have demonstrated that explicit Focus on Form (FOF) methods are more effective than implicit Focus on Meaning (FOM) methods (Norris & Ortega, 2000), because in FOF instruction learners’ attention is drawn to linguistic form while FOM instruction requires learners' attention to communicate (Ellis, 2001). However, this piece of research focused on both the effectiveness and feasibility study of FOF vs. FOM in reading class. In this quasi- experimental study, 20 adult EFL learners of pre-intermediate level were divided into two experimental groups which received two different types of instruction. During a ten-session treatment, the first group was provided with FOF instruction (Dictoglass task), while the second group was provided with FOM instruction (Discussion task). The results revealed a significant difference between two experimental groups. The FOF group scored significantly higher than the FOM group. Regarding the students and teachers’ perspectives towards feasibility of FOF in reading class, the students believed that FOF was feasible in reading classes, while  the teachers were not unanimous in this regard, but towards feasibility of FOM both groups held positive attitudes. Generally, the data revealed that both FOF and FOM have feasibility in reading classes. In terms of feasibility, both methods are equally well- functioning, but as to developing reading skill FOF proved a bit more effective than FOM.
Key words:  Focus on Form (FOF), Focus on Meaning (FOM), Feasibility of FOF and FOM
Audience: Adult, University
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Teaching Tip:


To meet the purpose of this study there were two separate groups; EFL learners and teachers. The participants were20 female Pre-Intermediate EFL learners, aged 18- 27 from Kimiya Private Institute in Iran. Their text book was Select Readings (Linda Lee, Erick Gundersen; 2011). The teachers were 50 male and female teachers holding BA or MA degrees in English. They all had some experiences of teaching reading and were familiar with the notions like FOF and FOM. So, the following instruments were used for the purpose of this study: • A version of The Key English Test (KET) as a general proficiency test was used for controlling the learners in terms of their language proficiency level prior to the experiment. The test includes grammar and structure, writing, reading, speaking, and vocabulary in 35 multiple choice items. • A teacher-made Diagnostic Reading Comprehension Test based on the syllabus. It went under all steps of test construction so that can be valid and reliable in structure. The test includes vocabulary, language focus, true or false, and comprehension sections as a pre- test from (Select Readings by Linda Lee, Erick Gundersen; 2011). • A questionnaire (see appendix E) developed based on the criteria of feasibility of FOM and FOF reported in the respective literature which includes21 likertscale items for each groups. • A teacher-made Achievement Reading Comprehension Test similar to the Diagnostic Test based on the syllabus. It went under all steps of test construction so that it could be used as post-test.   


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TESOL Interest Section: English as a Foreign Language