Come support Kiyotaka Suga as he defends his MA-TESOL Thesis entitled: “The Effects of Output-Based Focus on Form on Japanese EFL Learners’ Implicit Knowledge Development through a Text-Reconstruction Story-Retelling Task”
This quasi-experimental study investigated whether output-based focus on form, termed Story-Retelling (SR), makes a unique contribution to the development of Japanese EFL learners’ implicit knowledge of English relativization. Thirty-three Japanese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) university students are were assigned to one of the three instructional groups: the SR group, the explicit grammar explanation (EGE) group, and the comparison group. They went through three 60-minute instructional treatments and three testing sessions: pretest, immediate, and delayed posttests. Responding to a measuring issue of previous effect-of-instruction studies, two different tests were administered: an Oral Elicited Imitation (OEI) test for measuring implicit knowledge (Ellis, 2005; Erlam, 2006) and an Untimed Fill-in-the-Blank (FITB) test for measuring explicit knowledge. Differential effects of the instructional treatments depending on the degree of typological markedness and processing difficulty of the three RC types were also explored. Contrary to the original expectations, results of the OEI test revealed that the SR group failed to show unique effects of output practice on the learners’ implicit knowledge development, compared to the test-performances demonstrated by both EGE group and comparison group. A careful re-examination of the research designs and cognitive processes that involve in the OEI test pointed out some important methodological directions for future studies regarding the use of the OEI test. On the other hand, results of the FITB test showed a clear advantage for the EGE group at both immediate and delayed posttests. Based on the major findings and the unexpected results reported in this study, further research is necessary to more precisely examine the impact of the SR task on L2 learners’ implicit knowledge development with a more rigorous research design.