The importance of focus on form in communicative language teaching

Authors

  • Rod Ellis University of Auckland and Shanghai International Studies University

Keywords:

Form-focussed instruction, focus-on-forms, focus-on-form

Abstract

Long (1991) distinguished two approaches to language teaching, which he called ‘focus-on-forms’ and ‘focus-on-form’. In this article I discuss ‘focus-on-form’ from both a theoretical perspective by outlining the psycholinguistic rationale for this type of instruction and from a practical perspective by identifying the strategies that students and teachers can use when doing focus-on-form. I conclude by emphasizing the importance of including a focus-on-form in communicative language teaching in order to facilitate incidental language learning and thus reject the commonly held view that teachers should not ‘interfere’ when students are performing a communicative task. I also suggest that ‘focus-on-forms’ and ‘focus-onform’ should be seen as complementary rather than oppositional approaches to teaching.

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Published

2015-09-30

How to Cite

Ellis, R. (2015). The importance of focus on form in communicative language teaching. Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 1-12. Retrieved from https://ejal.info/index.php/ejal/article/view/102

Issue

Section

Articles