ERIC Number: EJ1117194
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
One Size Fits All? Learning Conditions and Working Memory Capacity in "Ab Initio" Language Development
Sanz, Cristina; Lin, Hui-Ju; Lado, Beatriz; Stafford, Catherine A.; Bowden, Harriet W.
Applied Linguistics, v37 n5 p669-692 Oct 2016
The article summarizes results from two experimental studies (N = 23, N = 21) investigating the extent to which working memory capacity (WMC) intervenes in "ab initio" language development under two pedagogical conditions [± grammar lesson + input-based practice + explicit feedback]. The linguistic target is the use of morphosyntax to assign semantic functions in Latin. Results suggest that with the more traditional pedagogical approach [+ grammar lesson], WMC does not predict learner outcomes. In contrast, in an approach that immediately immerses learners in meaning-focused practice with the same explicit feedback, WMC predicts gains on interpreting aural and written input. Thus, it appears that pre-practice grammar explanation "levels the field" for learners of varying WMC, while WMC may play more of a role when metalinguistic information is limited to reactive feedback. These results extend previous research (Robinson 2002, 2005b; Erlam 2005; Goo 2012; Li 2013; Sagarra and Abbuhl 2013a, 2013b; Tagarelli "et al." 2014), and further call attention to the importance of interactions between pedagogical tools and individual differences in explaining language development.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Language Proficiency, Morphology (Languages), Syntax, Semantics, Latin, Predictor Variables, Metalinguistics, Feedback (Response), Teaching Methods, Second Language Instruction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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