Teaching Word Formation Rules and Vocabulary Knowledge Expansion: Proactive Versus Reactive Focus on Form

Mojgan Rashtchi, Fatemeh Pirali


Focus on form (FonF) instruction has been the source of much debate in the domain of SLA and different studies have addressed its impact on different language skills and sub skills.  The present study employed proactive and reactive FonF instructions to teach word formation rules to enhance the learners’ vocabulary knowledge. In order to obtain comprehensive results, we adopted a mixed methods design and performed the study in three phases with six different groups of learners. Two groups of the pre-intermediate learners in each phase were selected and assigned to reactive and proactive FonF instructions. The participants took a word formation multiple-choice pretest, received the treatment for 16 weekly sessions, and participated in a posttest. Moreover, we used a checklist to keep a record of the participants’ attitudes, behaviors, and grammatical errors during the treatment that we believed could improve the quality of our treatment in the following phases.  Another checklist helped us examine the consistency of the teachers’ classroom activities with the modes of instruction. The teacher’s responses to the checklists helped us to gather the qualitative data that could improve the subsequent phases. The means of the groups in each phase were compared via an independent samples t-test before and after the instruction. The results indicated that in the first and second phases there were significant differences between the word formation knowledge of the learners in the proactive and reactive FonF groups while in the third phase no statistically significant difference was observed with regard to the groups’ word formation knowledge.


FonF, reactive and proactive FonF instructions, word formation rules, vocabulary knowledge

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