Teaching methodology: Current teaching models

A current teaching model, Focus on Form (FonF), proceeds from the insight that attention (or noticing) is a necessary general precondition and an essential prerequisite of all (language) learning. It is a fundamentally psychological concept, but has emerged as a vital cognitive construct and a major issue in second language teaching only recently.

Language is used to focus listeners' attention, and what is attended to is learned; so attention controls the acquisition of language itself; and it is crucial to recognize that psychological factors such as those involved in the allocation and inhibition of attention are constraints imposed by the architecture of cognitive processes that have first to be understood before they can be systematically reckoned with in the language classroom. Attention to input, e.g., controls the products of learning, the increasingly productive frames, schemata, and constructions that reflect and in turn enable the development of fluent, and complex, language use.

The article by Federica Barbieri and Suzanne E.B. Eckhardt "Applying corpus-based findings to form-focused instruction: The case of reported speech" (Language Teaching Research 11:3, 319-346) presents a case study on reported speech and shows how corpus-based findings on this phenomenon can be combined with select principles of focus-on-form for the design of a corpus-based form-focused treatment of reported speech. The paper illustrates "how information on the use of specific linguistic structures based on empirical, corpus-based findings can be used to design principled L2 materials and tasks for classroom instruction that are aligned with and grounded in current theories and principles of SLA" (2007:320).

If you have a look at Appendix B, pp. 343-346, you will find a corpus-based form-focused sample on the topic of reported speech, appropriate for (higher) intermediate to advanced language learners in EFL contexts. It comprises two units (including student activities), each focusing on a different aspect of reported speech: the first unit introduces the traditional instances and the grammatical patterns of indirect reported speech (say, tell etc. that) in indirect use along with their appropriate tense forms; the second unit focuses on the grammatical and socio-pragmatic aspects of direct reported speech and offers samples from everyday language, illustrating the pervasive use of the so called new quotatives (be) like and go common in colloquial conversations with friends such as: he's like ' hello ', and I'm like ' what's wrong with you ', he's like ' I don’t feel well '. I'm all ' just come over for dinner and stuff ' and he goes ' no '.