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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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3. Theoretical framework


3.1 PPP – a traditional teaching and learning method

3.1.1 Definition and theoretical rationale

“Presentation-practice-produce” (in short: PPP) refers to a teaching method8 which has been and still is widely used in foreign language classrooms worldwide (cf. Skehan 1998, p. 94 f. and Müller-Hartmann/Schocker-von Ditfurth 2011, p. 214). As its name implies, three successive stages of teaching language features are implemented by the teacher when applying this method. These steps are described by Frost (2003) as follows:

A PPP would proceed in the following manner: First, the teacher presents an item of language in a clear context to get across its meaning. This could be done in a variety of ways: through a text, a situation, a dialogue, etc. Students are then asked to complete a controlled practice stage, when they may have to repeat target items through choral or individual drilling, fill gaps or match half of sentences (….) Finally, they move on to the production stage, sometimes called the “free practice” stage (Richard Frost, 2003, as cited in Haß, 2006, p. 204).

The above exemplification of specific ways of presenting and practicing language items corresponds to the structure of a number of English text- or course books, such as the one which was used by the students who took part in the various tests and questionnaires of this dissertation.9 For example, students are offered highly constructed texts at the beginning of each unit within which the target structure of...

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