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Vol. 8 No. 1 (2005)

Effectiveness of Focus-on-Forms Instruction: Different Outcomes on Constrained- and Free-Production Tasks?

  • Giselle Corbeil
October 15, 2012


The purpose of this study is to investigate how focus-on-forms instruction in second language teaching affects attention to forms in two different types of task: constrained and free production. These two different types of task were administered to 87 university students enrolled in a first-year French as a second language course before and after instruction on qualifying adjective agreement. Comparisons were made between learning-gain differences from pre- to post-tests for both tasks. Significant differences between pre- and post-test scores were found for both tasks. Although the difference between the two tasks was not significant, the learning-gain difference was somewhat higher for the constrained-production task than for the free-production task. When the total number of adjectives used in the compositions was broken down into colour adjectives and non-colour adjectives, no significant learning gains were observed between the two categories, although the learning gains for the non-colour adjectives was twice as high as for the colour adjectives. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.