Volume 20 Number 3

Applying Form-focused Approaches to L2 Vocabulary Instruction Through Podcasts
Fahimeh Marefat, Allameh Tabataba’i University
Mohammad Hassanzadeh, Vali-e-Asr University

Since its inception, form-focused instruction (FFI) has been associated with grammar, with only a handful of studies examining its potential for vocabulary development (e.g., Laufer, 2006). Meanwhile, there has been an unresolved dispute between the two approaches of Focus on Form (FonF) and Focus on Forms (FonFs) in terms of their degree of efficiency. This classroom-based study sought to identify the most efficient FFI-driven approach in tapping learners’ lexical as well as comprehension gains by drawing largely on the protocols provided in Ellis (2008) and Laufer (2005). Eighty-eight Iranian students in four intact classes at Allameh Tabataba’i University (two FonF, one FonFs and one meaning-focused) were presented with a series of teacher-designed mini-lessons. Their medium of exposure was video podcasts (newscasts). Students’ gains were measured by active immediate and delayed vocabulary and comprehension tests. A series of between-groups multivariate analyses of variance revealed that both FonF groups outperformed the FonFs in terms of all three variables. This indicates that the tendency to analyze words in isolation, despite intensive rehearsals typical of FonFs, failed to outweigh the FonF conditions in which contextual associations are prioritized. The findings of the study could provide useful avenues for FFI-driven vocabulary learning and instruction.

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