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The Role of Attention in Second Language Development

by McGinnis, Amanda Marie

Abstract (Summary)
This pilot study investigated the role of attention in language learning. I began by examining the most current research into how attention functions in the brain; then I discussed how attention as a cognitive mechanism is believed to fit into models of data processing and language learning. Once the nature and role of attention in language development was understood, it became possible to discover the practical implications for language teachers and learners. The most recent means to a grammar pedagogy is ?the Focus on Form approach: a language teaching option which takes into account the research on the role of attention in language development that suggests that L2 forms must be noticed in order to be learned. Focus on Form attempts to optimally exploit the learners attentional resources in order to promote noticing. The current study tested the effects of such instruction by comparing the short-term benefits of two Focus on Form techniques in enhancing noticing: Grammar Consciousness-Raising and Textual Enhancement. Finally, a review comparing the Focus on Form approach to a selection of alternative teaching methodologies demonstrated that Focus on Form is by far the most progressive approach available to todays language teachers, because other methods do not capitalize on what is known about the role of attention in second-language grammar development.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Tully Thibeau; Donna Mendelson; Rhea Ashmore

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:linguistics

ISBN:

Date of Publication:07/23/2007

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