Task-induced Content-familiarity, Task-driven Attention to Form, and Learner Uptake of Recasts: A Preliminary Inquiry

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Andrea Révész


Recent SLA research has found that recasts on morphosyntactic features are more effective in form-focused classrooms than in meaning-based classrooms. Based on this understanding, it is hypothesized that there is a positive correlation between the effectiveness of recasts on morphosyntactic features and the amount of attention learners pay to form. This paper reports on a preliminary study that tests this hypothesis through administering a sequence of communicative tasks, designed to promote different degrees of attention to form and meaning. The tasks differed as to (a) the extent of learners’ familiarity with task content and (b) the intrinsic capacity of the task to draw attention to form. The study observed both learners’ uptake and perception of recasts through the tasks. The data collected consisted of transcripts of the participants’ task-based interactions and stimulated recall sessions. The results show that both the amount of uptake after recasts and the accurate perception of recasts are positively correlated with the amount of attention learners devote to form during task-based interaction. The preliminary study, therefore, suggests that learners’ familiarity with task content along with the intrinsic capacity of a task to promote attention to form can increase the effectiveness of form-focused recasts.

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