The Roles of Structured Input Activities in Processing Instruction and the Kinds of Knowledge They Promote

Emma Josephine Marsden, Hsin-Ying Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to isolate the effects of the two input activities in Processing Instruction: Referential activities, which force learners to focus on a form and its meaning, and Affective activities, which contain exemplars of the target form and require learners to process sentence meaning. One hundred and twenty 12-year-old Taiwanese learners of L2 English were assigned to one of four groups: Referential + Affective, Referential only, Affective only, or Control. The treatments were computer based. Pre-, post- and delayed post-tests, including a timed grammaticality judgement, a written gapfill, an oral picture narration and a short semi-structured conversation, measured learning of the -ed past tense verb inflection. Findings suggested that Referential activities were responsible for the learning gains observed, that Affective activities did not provide additional benefits in terms of learning -ed, and that the gains observed displayed some broadly defined characteristics of explicit knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058–1098
Number of pages40
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • second language learning
  • English learning
  • grammar teaching
  • langauge teaching
  • Processing Instruction

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