Individual Difference Variables as Mediating Influences on Success or Failure in Form-Focused Instruction

Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Even though there is a growing body of research on the effectiveness of form-focused instruction (FFI), defined as both the introduction of target language (TL) features, be they grammatical, lexical, phonological or pragmatic in nature, the practice of these forms or the provision of corrective feedback on errors in their use (cf. Nassaji & Fotos, 2011; Spada, 2011; Loewen, 2012; Pawlak, 2014), studies of this kind have in the main focused on determining the effects of different instructional techniques, paying only scant attention to the impact of mediating variables. One key set of such variables are individual differences (IDs) among learners, both cognitive (e.g., aptitude), affective (e.g., motivation) and social (e.g., beliefs), the impact of which can hardly be underestimated as in some situations individual learner profiles may in fact determine the success or failure of the techniques and procedures employed by teachers. Given the fact that research exploring the effects of such factors is still in its infancy, it is important to take stock of what has been achieved in this domain and consider future directions of empirical investigations of this kind. This is precisely the aim of the paper which provides an overview of the available research on the interfaces between IDs and FFI, particularly with respect to grammar, offers a critical look at their scope and methodology, and seeks to identify the challenges that research on FFI has to face in this respect.


Individual differences Form-focused instruction Corrective feedback 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State University of Applied SciencesKoninPoland
  2. 2.Adam Mickiewicz UniversityKaliszPoland

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