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Linking Formal Instruction with Second Language Processing
Linking Formal Instruction with Second Language Processing:
A Meta-analysis of Processing Instruction Research (1993-2016)
Michael J. Leeser, Florida State University (USA)
Almost 25 years ago, VanPatten and Cadierno (1993) argued that most language instruction was product oriented and did not take into account the underlying processes involved in second language acquisition. Since the publication of that seminal paper, nearly 80 published studies have appeared investigating the effects of processing instruction (PI), which is a type of instructional intervention that seeks to alter or to improve second language learners’ non-optimal input processing strategies so that learners are more likely to make correct form-meaning connections during comprehension. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of PI, discuss the ways in which PI differs from other types of form-focused instruction, and present the findings of a research synthesis and meta-analysis of the almost 80 quantitative PI studies that have been conducted between 1993 and 2016. In addition to evaluating the overall effectiveness of PI, the meta-analysis considers the ways in which processing problems associated with morpho-syntactic structures (and other variables) may mediate the effectiveness of PI. Finally, I explore avenues of future research for relating formal instruction to processing issues in second language acquisition.