THE EFFECTS OF INTEGRATED FFI AND ISOLATED FFI ON THE ACQUISITION OF THE ENGLISH PAST TENSE
This paper presents the results of a classroom-based study which I conducted for my PhD thesis. It is an experimental study on the comparative benefits of Isolated and Integrated FFI in primary EFL education. Greek 5th year primary learners aged 10-11 were exposed to Integrated FFI (n= 75) on the English Past Tense and their learning gains were compared to the gains of their peers who were exposed to Isolated FFI (n = 73), as these were first defined by Spada and Lightbown (2008). Integrated FFI was operationalised as the provision of comprehension and production structure-based communicative tasks; that is, tasks that were especially crafted to provide meaningful contexts for the practice of the English Past tense and its progressive aspect. In completing those tasks, learners focused on comprehension and the expression of meaning while they produced the target structures and received corrective feedback on their errors. Isolated FFI was operationalised as the explicit presentation and meta-linguistic explanations of the rules that govern the formation and use of the same target structures, coupled with grammatical consciousness-raising tasks, structural grammar exercises and controlled oral and written production activities. I taught the groups myself as a teacher researcher throughout the intervention, which lasted for 12 hours. The two groups were tested four times; each test was given after completing six hours of treatment and two months after the end of the intervention. The tests included grammaticality judgments, multiple-choice tests, tense formation tests, an open cloze, a question formation task, picture description, sentence matching and text completion tests. I will present the results of the statistical analyses from the comparisons of these groups. One suggestion is that, planned Integrated FFI targeting specific structures in context, if applied consistently for some time, produces equivalent learning gains to Isolated FFI even for elementary-level EFL learners whose opportunities for productive use of the language are generally limited within the classroom context.
International Burch University