A research article titled ‘Investigating distribution of practice effects for the learning of foreign language verb morphology in the young learner classroom’  by Dr. Rowena Kasprowicz (Lecturer in Second Language Education, University of Reading), Prof. Emma Marsden (Department of Education, University of York) and Dr. Nick Sephton (Digital Creativity Labs, University of York) has been selected as a winner of Best of MLJ for 2019, identifying it as one of the best articles published in The Modern Language Journal during 2019.

The article has been recognised by the Editorial Board Article Award committee as being of the highest quality, with the broadest potential impact on the field of second language learning and teaching.

Details of the article can be found below:

Kasprowicz, R.E., Marsden, E. & Sephton, N. (2019). Investigating distribution of practice effects for the learning of foreign language verb morphology in the young learner classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 103(3), 580-606. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12586

Prior research emphasises the importance of providing regular, repeated opportunities to practise grammar in a foreign language. Numerous studies have considered what types of practice are most useful for learning; however, evidence is limited and conflicting on whether the amount and frequency of practice sessions has any impact on learning. Within a classroom context, where teachers must make decisions about where to allocate the limited teaching time available, this question is particularly important.

Therefore, this publication, co-authored with Professor Emma Marsden (Department of Education, University of York) and Dr Nick Sephton (Digital Creativity Labs, University of York), presents a classroom-based study investigating whether the spacing (7-days vs. 3/4 days) between practice sessions influences learning of verb endings in French by young learners (aged 8 to 11). Over three weeks, the students used the ‘Gaming Grammar‘ language learning game, either once a week for 60 minutes or twice a week for 30 minutes. The results suggested that the spacing of the practice sessions did not influence learning; rather other factors, such as learners’ ability to break down and analyse language, and how successfully they engaged with the practice activities themselves, were stronger predictors of learning success.


For more information on Dr. Kasprowicz’s research, visit her staff profile page here. You can also follow her on Twitter here.