Input is generally considered a crucial component of the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax (Gass & Mackey, 2006). Processing Instruction (PI) aims to advance acquisition by drawing learners’ attention to form-meaning connections in the input (e.g. VanPatten, 2002). PI has been shown to lead to better acquisition compared to traditional and output-based instruction (e.g. Wong, 2002).
The present study investigates whether PI can also enhance acquisition in learners of the Delft Method (Sciarone, Blom & Wesdijk, 2013). In this teaching approach, which centers on input, forms are practiced in rich contexts. 65 students enrolled in elementary Dutch courses at Delft University of Technology participated in the experiment. All participants performed pre- and posttests assessing knowledge of the target forms. The control group followed the regular curriculum, while the experimental group also performed two PI exercises for each of the three target forms: singular/plural, past simple vs present simple and the present vs past tense of the passive. Because previous studies have shown an effect of memory on processing (e.g. Morgan-Short et al., 2015), we also examined the learners’ declarative and procedural memory, by means of the LLAMA-B test (Meara, 2005) and a Serial Reaction Time test (SRT test; Nissen & Bullemer, 1987).
Preliminary results of part of the data showed that the experimental group made larger gains than the control group, but not for all forms. Furthermore, the relationship between scores on the language tests and those on the memory tests were different than one might expect based on previous studies.