Conference on Teaching English to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students at Secondary and Tertiary Levels in the Czech Republic
Charles University, August 22-27, 2004
In this lecture the presenter reviews the role of input in language acquisition and discusses the “Focus-on-Form” teaching methodology known as "input enhancement.” He illustrates his use of a coding system for focusing deaf students’ attention on their production of specific English language formations. This implicit corrective feedback serves to enhance the English input available to the deaf students. The presenter advocates the use of visual input enhancement with deaf students, especially in view of their reliance on visual processing.
A Simplified Model of First Language Acquisition
Input to L1 Learner (Child)
Innate Capacity for Language
(Stages of Acquisition)
A Model of Second Language Acquisition
Based on Gass (1997), Input Interaction and the Second Language Learner (ch. 1)
Input - the linguistic data (sentences) directed at the learner
Noticed input (apperception) - recognition that there is something to be learned; a priming device that prepares the input for further analysis
Comprehended input - levels of the learner’s understanding of the input along a continuum (from semantics to structural analysis)
Intake - selective processing and assimilation of linguistic material (matched against prior knowledge); generalizations occur
Integration - hypothesis confirmation or rejection ~ hypothesis modification for further confirmation ~ non-use of the input
Output - overt manifestation of the acquisition process; produced output can serve as feedback to the intake component for hypothesis modification
The English language input available to deaf and hard-of-hearing learners (especially severely and profoundly deaf learners) is degraded and severely limited.
Deaf learners of English, Czech, or any spoken language rely on vision, to varying extents and sometimes exclusively, for compensatory linguistic input.
“Input Enhancement” and other “Focus-on-Form” L2 teaching methodologies can use visual processing to enhance the spoken language input available to the language learner.
These methodologies serve to focus the learner’s conscious or unconscious attention on the input within communicative learning environments (focus on FORM, not focus on FORMS in isolation!).
Can input enhancement and similar L2 teaching methodologies make English language input more “noticeable” to deaf and hard-of-hearing learners?
If so, will the more noticed input facilitate input comprehension, input processing and hypothesis formation, integration of linguistic knowledge, and more target-like output by deaf and hard-of-hearing learners?
In seeking to help deaf and hard-of-hearing students improve their English literacy skills, we MUST experiment with new teaching methodologies.
Focus on Form in Second/Foreign Language Teaching
From Doughty and Williams (1998)
Input flood - Flooding learners with specific forms of the target language in order to draw learners’ attention to the input
Input enhancement - making input more noticeable by “flagging” target items to draw learners’ attention to them (using bold type, italics, underlining, color, presentation of rules, etc.)
Negotiation - structure-focused interaction and requests for clarification designed to call attention to a specific target language form; students correct each other
Recast - guiding or directing learners to notice discrepancies between their emerging grammars (“interlanguage”) and the target language; reformulation with correction
Output enhancement - requesting clarification from a learner that leads the learner to produce a specific grammatical feature
Focus on Form, continued (from Doughty and Williams, 1998)
Interaction enhancement - interactive problem-solving tasks using scenarios to create contexts that guide learners to use the target language in realistic discourse
Dictogloss - a procedure that encourages learners to reflect on their own output: the teacher reads a short text to students, who write down familiar words and phrases; then students work together to reconstruct the text from their shared resources; students’ versions are compared and analyzed
Consciousness-raising tasks - making the learners aware of new target language items or rules by highlighting them in the input (but not necessarily encouraging their production right away); example: fill in the blanks
Input processing - helping learners to develop recognition and understanding of a grammatical form through clear examples and explanations without requiring learners to produce the form
Garden path - leading learners to make overgeneralization errors and then pointing out the overgeneralization as soon as the error is made (providing corrective feedback)
Possible English Input Enhancement for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students in a Czech-Speaking Environment
English Third Person Personal Pronouns
He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Waingunga are angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our children must run when the grass is set alight.
Od narozeni je na jednu nohu chromy. Proto taky zabiji jenom dobytek. Vesnicane od Vaingangy se na neho zlobi a ted’ nam prijde rozzlobit jeste nase vesnicany. Siroko daleko budou po nem v dzungli slidit, a my abychom i s detmi utikali pred zapalenou travou.
Student production of topic-generated writing sample
Use of an English coding system to focus on student output (Berent, Brown, & Whitehead, 2002)
First revision - Focus on correction of formations A, B, C …
Second revision - Focus on correction of formations F, G, H …
Input Enhancement for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students
Learner-Generated Focus on Form
past ~ present
to + VERB
be + VERB-ing
Participle/Gerund (PPL, GER)
will, must, etc. + VERB
have + VERB-en
Auxiliary do (DO)
don’t, didn’t + VERB
Grammar for Academic Writing II
be + VERB-en
that + SUBJECT + VERB
Adverbial Clause of Time (ADVC/T)
when/after... + CLAUSE
Adverbial Clause of Reason (ADVC/R)
because + CLAUSE
Relative Clause (REL)
NOUN PHRASE who/that/which ...
Student’s Written Production Excerpts
We gotknow each other and hang out every weekend. I would never forget that he was hooked me upwith one his friend to go out date.
He was in the town and cameover to my house and told me that he moved back to Michigan and consideringto go NTID college this fall of 2003.
When I arrived, everyone __ already in their gown. All seniors mustnotice that I’m late because they keepingthrow a glares at me.
Teacher Coding of Student’s Verb Formations Successful (+), Unsuccessful (-)
We +TNSgot-INFknow each other and -TNShang out every weekend. I -MODwould never forget that he -TNSwas hooked me up with one his friend +INFto go out date.
He +TNSwas in the town and +TNScame over to my house and +TNStold me that he +TNSmoved back to Michigan and -PROGconsidering-INFto go NTID college this fall of 2003.
When I +TNSarrived, everyone -TNS[ __ ] already in their gown. All seniors +MODmust-PERFnotice that -TNS I’m late because they -TNSkeeping-GERthrow a glares at me.
Expected Student Revision with Correction of Unsuccessful Verb Formations
We gotto know each other and hung out every weekend. I will never forget that he X hooked me up with one his friend to go out date.
He was in the town and came over to my house and told me that he moved back to Michigan and wasconsideringX going NTID college this fall of 2003.
When I arrived, everyone was already in their gown. All seniors musthavenoticed that I was late because they keptthrowing a glares at me.
Overall Group Production of Target Formations in First Essay (Week 1) and in Last Essay (Week 10)
“Grammar for Academic Writing II”
19 NTID undergraduate students
1 hour of grammar instruction per week for 10 weeks
Group Changes in Production of Target Formations Between First Essay (Week 1) and Last Essay (Week 10)
Grammar for Academic Writing II (N = 19)
Percentage Change Per Student in Overall Successful Production of Target Formations Between First Essay and Last Essay
Students Showing Most and Least Improvement
Student “O” (+24%)
Improved accuracy on 6 formations
Accurately produced 3 new formations
Decreased accuracy on PROG
No production of PAS
Student “D” (-11%)
Decreased accuracy on TNS and INF
Accurately produced 3 new formations
Sustained accuracy on THAT
No production of 4 formations
Deaf and hard-of-hearing students’ slow progress in English language development is the result of:
Severely restricted access to spoken language input resulting from hearing loss
Difficulty noticing available English language input
Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners receive compensatory English language input through the visual channel.
Solution - Enhance the visual English language input available to students to the greatest extent possible:
Experiment with “Input Enhancement” and other “Focus-on-Form” L2 teaching methodologies.
Employ these methodologies in a communicatively rich English teaching/learning environment.
Compare methodologies and observe and record student progress to determine the efficacy of these teaching methodologies.
Berent, G. P., Brown, P. M., & Whitehead, B. H. (2002). A coding system for evaluating students' productive English. Technical Report, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology.
Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (1998). Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Doughty, C., & Williams, J. (1998). Pedagogical choices in focus on form. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp. 197-261). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gass, S. M. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Han, Z., & Selinker, L. (2004, April). Research into instruction and fossilization. Discussion presentation at the annual convention of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Long Beach, CA.
Kacenka. (1998). Katedra anglistiky a amerikanistiky filozoficka fakulta Masarykovy Univerzity, Brno, Czech Republic. Available: http://www.phil.muni.cz/~jirka/children/children1/knihy/jungletab.htm