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2 - The Role of Practice within Second Language Acquisition

from Part I - Theoretical Perspectives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2018

Christian Jones
University of Liverpool
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This chapter explores theoretical cognitive research that explains the effects of practice within second language acquisition (SLA). It begins by defining the term then traces its history and moves on to examine skill acquisition theories of language learning that promote the role of practice for developing L2 knowledge. It then reviews VanPatten’s input processing theory which emphasizes the use of input-based practice as a means for acquiring L2 grammatical features. The following section then looks at how these theories have informed modern pedagogy in terms of output-based and input-based instruction. The chapter then reviews empirical studies that have compared the effectiveness of both types of practice in terms of productive and receptive L2 knowledge. Finally, implications for teaching and areas for future research are discussed. Overall, this chapter demonstrates that research to date has produced differing views regarding the effects of practice within SLA, and as such, a single unifying view does not exist, just as there is no single unified theory of SLA. Despite this, it is helpful for teachers and researchers to be aware of some of the research evidence in order to inform their own teaching and research.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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