Short- vs. Long-Term Effects of Reactive Incidental Focus on Form in Free Discussion EFL Classes

Document Type: Research Article


1 Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 English Language Department, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

3 English Department, Faculty of Basic Sciences, Imam Ali University, Tehran, Iran


This study investigated the effectiveness of reactive incidental focus on form (FonF) for each learner with regard to different linguistic categories in meaning-oriented EFL classes. To this end, 30 hr of meaningful interactions of upper-intermediate EFL learners were audio-recorded in 2 free discussion classes. Instances of reactive incidental focus-on-form episodes (FFEs), where teachers offer on-the-spot corrective feedback to their learners’ linguistic mistakes, were extracted from the data. Furthermore, individualized tailor-made posttests were designed out of self-reported novel FFEs per learner. Results of learner-customized immediate and delayed posttests indicated that this type of instruction led to a substantial improvement in learning the focused language points. Achievement rates were found to be high in both test administrations. This efficacy was, however, more noticeable with regard to grammatical and phonological FFEs. Results reveal that reactive incidental FonF could enhance explicit knowledge of L2 learners both in the immediate context based on uptake rate and in the long run, as the findings from the immediate and delayed posttests demonstrated.


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