A Comparison between Experienced and Novice Teachers in Using Incidental Focus on Form Techniques in EFL Classrooms

Yassamin Pouriran, Jayakaran Mukundan


This paper reports the findings of an empirical study that explored whether EFL teachers’ use of incidental focus-on-form techniques was influenced by their level of experience. Also, it investigated the distribution of incidental focus on form types at intermediate level and they were coded based on Lyster and Ranta (1997) and Panova and Lyster (2002) models. Incidental focus on form occurs spontaneously, without prior intention during meaning-focused activities and targets a variety of linguistic items. Here specific forms are not intentionally focused on, but are attended to spontaneously by teachers and other learners within meaning-driven contexts. Six teachers (three experienced and three novice) participated in this study. The data was drawn from transcripts of oral corrective feedback moves of six intact classes which were audio and video-recorded totaling 9 hours. A descriptive design which employed qualitative and quantitative data collection procedure was adopted. The results revealed that experienced teachers used incidental focus on form techniques more frequently than novice teachers. This study supports the notion that integrative activities which can integrate a focus on form into L2 communicative activities can contribute to learning a foreign language in terms of both accuracy and fluency.



Corrective feedback- Incidental focus on form- Teacher experience

Full Text:



Askew, S. & Lodge, C. (2000). Gifts, ping-pong and loops-linking feedback and learning. In Askew, S. (Ed.). Feedback for Learning (pp.1-17). London: Routledge.

Borg, S. (1998). Data-based teacher development. ELT Journal, 52(4), 273-281.

Brown, H. D. (2004). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. Pearson Longman.

Ellis, R. (2001). Investigating form-focused instruction. Language Learning, 51, Supplement 1, 1-46.

Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H., & Loewen, S. (2001a). Preemptive focus on form in the ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly 35(3), 407–432. doi:10.2307/3588029, http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3588029

Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H., & Loewen, S. (2001b). “Learner uptake in communicative ESL lessons.” Language Learning, 51(2), 281-318. doi:10.1111/1467-9922.00156, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9922.00156

Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H. & Loewen, S. (2002). Doing focus-on-form. System, 30, 419-432. doi:10.1016/S0346-251X(02)00047-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(02)00047-7

Ellis, R. (2009). Corrective feedback and teacher development. L2 Journal, Volume 1, 3-18.

Han, Z. (2002). A study of the impact of recasts on tense consistency in L2 output. TESOL Quarterly 36, 543-572.

Johnson, K. (1992). Learning to teach: instructional actions and decisions of preservice ESL teachers. TESOL Quarterly 26: 507-34.

Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon.

Krashen, S. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. New York: Longman.

Leeman, J. (2003). Recasts and second language development: beyond negative evidence. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 25: 37-63.

Loewen, S. (2003). Variation in the frequency and characteristics of incidental focus on form. Language Teaching Research, 7, 315-345. doi:10.1191/1362168803lr129oa, http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1362168803lr129oa

Long, M. H. (1991). Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching methodology. In K. De Bot, R. Ginsberg & C. Kramsch (Eds.), Foreign Language Research in Cross-cultural Perspective. (pp.39-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. Handbook of Second Language Acquisition, ed. W. Ritchie & T. Bhatia, 413-468. New York: Academic Press.

Long, M. & Robinson, P. (1998). Focus on form: Theory, research and practice. Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition, ed. C. Doughty & J. Williams, 15-41. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Long, M. (2000). Focus on form in task-based language teaching. In Lambert, R. and Shohamy, E., editors, Language policy and pedagogy, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 179-92.

Lyster, R., & Ranta, L. (1997). Corrective feedback and learner uptake: Negotiation of form in communicative classrooms. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, 37–66.

Mackey, A. (1999). Input, interaction and second language development: an empirical study of question formation in ESL. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 21: 557-87.

Mackey, A. & Philp, J. (1998). Conversational interaction and second language development: recasts, responses, and red herrings? The Modern Language Journal 82: 338-56.

Mackey, A., Oliver, R., & Leeman, J. (2003). Interactional input and the incorporation of feedback: An exploration of NS-NNS and NNS-NNS adult and child dyads. Language Learning, 53, 35-66. doi:10.1111/1467-9922.00210, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9922.00210

Mackey, A., Polio, C. & McDonough, K. (2004). The relationship between experience, education and teachers’ Use of incidental focus-on-form techniques. Language Teaching Research, 8, 301-327.

Norris, J. and Ortega, L. (2000). Effectiveness of L2 instruction: a research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis. Language Learning 50: 417-528.

Numrich, C. (1996). On becoming a language teacher: insights from diary studies. TESOL Quarterly 30: 131-53.

Oliver, R. ( 2000). Age differences in negotiation and feedback in classroom and pair work. Language Learning, 50, 119-151. doi:10.1111/0023-8333.00113, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0023-8333.00113

Panova, I., & Lyster, R. (2002). Patterns of feedback and uptake in an adult ESL classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 36, 573–595.

Pica, T., & Long, M. (1986). The linguistic and conversational performance of experienced and inexperienced teachers. In R. Day (Eds.), Talking to learn, (pp. 85-98). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Pica, T. (1994). Review article: Research on negotiation: what does it reveal about second-language learning conditions, processes, and outcomes? Language Learning 44: 493-527.

Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11, 129–158.

Schmidt, R. (2001): Attention. In Robinson, P., editor, Cognition and second language instruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 3-32.

Sheen, Y. H. (2004). Corrective feedback and learner uptake in communicative classrooms across instructional settings. Language Teaching Research, 8, 263-300. doi:10.1191/1362168804lr146oa, http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/1362168804lr146oa

Swain, M. (1998). Focus on form through conscious reflection. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), (Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. (pp.64-81). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zhao, Y. (2005). Incidental focus on form in T-L interaction and L-L interaction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.6p.288


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.