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Variability in Learner Errors as a Reflection of the CLT Paradigm Shift

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Joanna Pfingsthorn

In the last three decades the field of language teaching and learning has undergone a paradigm shift towards Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), which has put an emphasis on meaningful interaction and implied an abrupt departure from an extensive study of learner errors. Although learners in CLT classes are expected to be competent, yet not perfectly accurate communicators, the impact of the CLT paradigm on learner errors has not been investigated thoroughly. This study examines the extent to which the CLT paradigm shift has left its mark on learner errors. Written production is analyzed and compared with learner data recorded in the early stages of the shift to CLT. The data reveal that while morphosyntactic errors have not undergone drastic changes, discourse organization and lexical skills have improved.

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Fremdsprachendidaktik inhalts- und lernerorientiert Herausgegeben von Gabriele Blell und Rita Kupetz Mitbegründet von Karlheinz Hellwig 23 Jo an na p Fi ng st ho rn · Va ri ab il it y in l ea rn er e rr or s as a r eF le ct io n oF t he c lt p ar ad ig m s hi Ft 23 Joanna pFingsthorn Variability in learner errors as a reFlection oF the clt paradigm shiFt In the last three decades the field of language teaching and learning has un- dergone a paradigm shift towards Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), which has put an emphasis on meaningful interaction and implied an abrupt departure from an extensive study of learner errors. Although learners in CLT classes are expected to be competent, yet not perfectly accurate communica- tors, the impact of the CLT paradigm on learner errors has not been investigated thoroughly. This study examines the extent to which the CLT paradigm shift has left its mark on learner errors. Written production is analyzed and compared with learner data recorded in the early stages of the shift to CLT. The data reveal that while morphosyntactic errors have not undergone drastic changes, discourse organization and lexical skills have improved. Joanna Pfingsthorn is a lecturer and research associate at the Institute of Eng- lish and American Studies at the University of Oldenburg. Currently she serves as a substitute professor at the department of English Speaking Cultures at the University of Bremen. www.peterlang.de ISBN 978-3-631-63804-0...

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