Focus on Form in the Foreign Language Classroom: Students' and Teachers' Views on Error Correction and the Role of Grammar


  • Renate A. Schulz

    1. University of Arizona
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      Renate A. Schulz (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is Professor of German Studies and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


ABSTRACT  While the professional literature abounds with treatises for and against the values of explicit grammar instruction and error correction in foreign or second language classrooms, few researchers have investigated student and teacher beliefs regarding the benefit of these pedagogical procedures. This paper reports on an exploratory study, conducted at the University of Arizona, which examines and compares foreign language student and teacher beliefs regarding the benefit of a focus on form in language learning. A total of 824 students and 92 teachers of the commonly taught as well as the less commonly taught languages were included in the study. Results reveal that the students surveyed are relatively favorably disposed toward a focus on form, regardless of language. However, some surprising discrepancies surfaced in teacher beliefs and in a comparison of student and teacher beliefs. The author recommends that in order to establish pedagogical credibility and increase their students' commitment to and involvement in learning, teachers make an effort to explore students' beliefs about language learning and to establish a fit between their own and their students' expectations.