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The impact of socio-cultural learning tasks on students’ foreign grammatical language awareness

A study conducted in German post-DESI EFL classrooms


Heike Niesen

The book introduces an innovative way of teaching grammatical language awareness via socio-cultural learning tasks (SCLTs). It takes a close look at task-supported teaching/learning and socio-cultural learning theory and how they are combined to develop challenging and motivating learning tasks. It also presents ways to implement SCLTs in heterogeneous EFL classrooms and evaluates the learning potential of SCLTs against the backdrop of a more traditional teaching and learning approach (PPP). Besides the illumination of the very promising concept of SCLTs, the applied qualitative and quantitative research methods hope to be a valuable contribution to SLA research.
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2. Aims and objectives


So far the practical aim of this dissertation has been justified by the portrayal of official DESI study results (cf. chapter 1). In an attempt to find out whether DESI findings concerning “grammatical language awareness of English” also hold true in the specific context of this dissertation, two data collection tools were designed, a teacher and a student questionnaire.4 One of the major goals of these questionnaires was to find out to what extent teachers and students confirm or refute DESI findings.

In addition to the questionnaires, the “grammatical language awareness” part of the official DESI study5 was conducted in the two 9th grade EFL classes which had answered the questionnaires and took part in the pilot study (cf. chapter 4) as well.

The following sections focus on the triplet of teacher and student questionnaires, as well as the implementation of parts of the DESI test, thereby putting the findings made by the official DESI test in the scope of this dissertation.

2.1 DESI within the scope of this dissertation

Before teachers’ and students’ perspectives on the results of the official DESI test are portrayed, some background information on the sample groups is provided in the next section.

2.1.1 Sample groups

As for the students, the sample consisted of two 9th grade learner groups (9b and 9c) with a total of fifty-five students (9b: 13 female and 14 male; 9c: 17 female and 11 male) who...

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