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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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Introductory remarks


The need to learn foreign languages is omnipresent in most present-day societies. Multilingualism paves today’s students the way to act as successful and responsible participants in societies tomorrow. It enables them to meet challenges posed by globalisation and continuous changes in the world of work. It allows them to live in and shape peaceful multicultural societies. In this context, the English language has a somewhat exceptional position: For those people who do not grow up with it as a mother tongue, it has become lingua franca, a tool to ensure communication throughout the entire world. This being the case, research which aims at illuminating the interplay of teaching and learning English as a foreign language cannot be valued highly enough. The same is true for the development of teaching and learning methods which help teachers cope with growing demands of heterogeneous classrooms, and students to master foreign languages in an efficient and durable manner. The dissertation at hand is nested precisely in this framework. For the author, the desire to contribute to the theoretical – and practical – development of promising ways of teaching and learning was the driving force to conduct the studies presented.

At this point, let me express my gratitude to the people who accompanied my work. I am indebted to Prof. Dr. Ehrhart for her decision to supervise my dissertation, and for her excellent (and on-going) support. She always gave me the feeling that my research matters. I would like to thank Prof. Dr....

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