Journal of English for Academic Purposes vol:20 pages:28-39
This paper reports on a classroom-based study that explored the effect of explicit, vocabulary-focused instruction on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students’ recognition, cued output and spontaneous use of academic formulaic sequences (FS). In addition, the study aimed to shed some light on which type of classroom activity might be most beneficial. Data were collected among second-year EFL business students (L1 = Dutch) in a classroom-based experiment during students’ regular English classes. A pre-test post-test within-subject design was adopted. Twenty-four pedagogically relevant FS were selected and offered in three types of activities: 1) recognition activities, 2) cued output activities, or 3) a combination of
recognition and cued output activities. Learning gains were measured in a recognition test, a cued output test, a writing test and students’ end-of-year assignment (= spontaneous productive use). The findings revealed that students made significant learning gains from pretest to posttest. In addition, analyses of students’ end-of-year assignments showed that students spontaneously used a considerable number of FS in their assignment. Finally, the results tentatively suggest that activities including cued output resulted in higher learning gains than recognition activities.