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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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4. Development of stimulus material for the main study


The following sections are devoted to the portrayal of the stimulus material developed for the treatment and the control group of the main study. As for the control group, this stimulus material owes to the PPP approach to teaching and learning EFL, whereas socio-cultural learning tasks (SCLTs) function as stimulus material for the treatment group. SCLTs have been developed for both constructs to be measured before and after training, namely Reported Speech and Past Tenses. The development of the SCLTs presented here was based on insights obtained from an extensive pilot study in the course of which various elements from TBLT/L, TSLT/L and socio-cultural theory were tested in authentic classroom situations.65 Some major insights derived from the pilot study are outlined in section 4.1.

Further, the researcher’s task definition elaborated throughout the previous chapter served as a blueprint for the construction of Reported Speech and Past Tenses SCLTs and is therefore reproduced here (as it is the final version of the researcher’s task definitions as portrayed in sections 3.2.2, 3.2.6, 3.3.4 and 3.6.3, any emphases are omitted):

“A socio-cultural foreign language learning task is a teacher-designed classroom activity, the performance of which can be predicted to a considerable extent and which invites learners to use the target language in receptive and productive ways. The design of socio-cultural learning tasks owes to fundamental principles of socio-cultural learning theory: Their ultimate goal is the gradual formation of grammatical concepts on each individual student’s mental level via...

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