(Mis)Conceptions Regarding Teacher-Generated Preemptive Attention to Form

Document Type: Original Article


1 Urmia University

2 Iran Language Institute



Preemptive focus on form (FonF) is perhaps the most under-researched area in the field of incidental focus on form. However, between the two subsets of preemptive focus on form, teacher-initiated preemptive FonF seems to be the least favored one. To put this stance into a test, 18 sessions of an intermediate EFL class were observed, audio-recorded and analyzed for the instances of learner- and teacher-initiated focus on form episodes (FFEs), as well as the rate of uptake moves following them. To triangulate the observational data on uptake, an elicitation instrument, namely, a think-aloud incidental focus on form sheet was also devised to collect on-the-spot, written instances of learner and teacher generated FFES. The quantitative results derived both from the audio-data and the sheets demonstrated that teacher-initiated FFEs strongly came first regarding their frequency and the rate of follow-up uptake moves. An in-depth qualitative analysis of the uptake sheets also revealed that after certain teacher-initiated FFEs, some learners produced multiple uptake moves, while after some others no one or just a single learner produced uptake. The findings from uptake sheets indicate that specific teacher-initiated FFEs are highly effective in tapping the linguistic holes of all or majority of EFL learners in a given class. Based on the quantitative and qualitative results, the researchers call for a reconsideration of the role and effectiveness of teacher-generated attention to form as an important component of communicative classes.