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Teacher and learner perceptions of adult foreign language learners' engagement with consciousness raising tasks in four languages
journal contributionposted on 01.07.2020, 10:27 by Agneta Svalberg, Jim Askham
At some UK universities, non-credit bearing courses for the general public are offered in a wide range of languages, often taught by hourly paid staff. Ensuring similar, high quality learning experiences and learning outcomes across languages can be a challenge. This study inquired into the viability and value of a consciousness-raising approach, i.e. whether teachers would be able and likely to implement it, and whether students would engage with such tasks and find them useful. The study included students and teachers engaged in the learning/teaching of Arabic, French, Italian, and Spanish. Following some input about Language Awareness pedagogic principles, and with some mentoring by the researchers, the teachers designed their own consciousness raising grammar tasks with accompanying communicative output opportunities and implemented them in their classes. To respond to our research questions, this paper draws on semi-structured interviews with teachers and students. The tasks, which combined a form and meaning focus, presented rich affordances for learner engagement with language and were enjoyed by the majority of students. The teachers struggled to correctly estimate task difficulty and time needed but felt that the approach had contributed to improving their teaching and that they were likely to use it in the future.