Effectiveness of Integrating Content and Language Instruction in an EFL Context

Shirin Abadikhah, Zohreh Ahangar


Integrating content and language instruction has recently become popular in many countries. This approach has gained momentum following the inadequacies observed in comprehension-based classrooms, indicating that the learners were unable to develop native-like proficiency and control over L2 production (Swain, 2001). The present study is an attempt to examine how integrating content and language instruction may affect the accuracy of L2 production in an EFL context. Two groups of learners (n= 36; experimental and control) attended twenty sessions in a semester. In order to examine the participants’ progress over the term, an achievement test targeting content and linguistic knowledge was administered to both groups during the pretest and posttest sessions. For integration of language into content, the experimental group worked in pairs to complete four focus-on-form tasks (dictogloss) developed on the basis of the content presented to them during the previous sessions. To examine the amount of noticing and progress in the accuracy, their conversations were tape-recorded and transcribed. While performing each task, the learners were asked to write their reconstructed texts in their handouts. The results obtained from the pretest and posttest indicated that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group in their final scores. It was also revealed that the amount of noticing increased in the experimental group from the first to the fourth task. Furthermore, there was a rising trend in the accuracy of production. The findings lend support to the efficiency of integrating content and language instruction in the Iranian EFL context.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/GEMA-2015-1501-03



: content-based; output; focus-on-form; dictogloss; accuracy

Full Text:



Abadikhah, S. (2011). Investigating Language-related Episodes during Mechanical and Meaningful Output Activities. International Journal of English Linguistics. 1(2), 281-294.

Abadikhah, S. (2012). The Effect of Mechanical and Meaningful Production of Output on Learning English Relative Clauses. System. 40, 129-143.

Ahmed Shah, M. (2003). Language Learning in Content-based English as a Second Language (ESL) Malaysian Classrooms. Journal of Language and Learning. 1, 73-97.

Ahmed Shah, M. & Othman, N. (2006). Students’ Output in Communicative Language Teaching Classrooms. 3L: Language Linguistics Literature®, Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies. 12, 45-64.

Brinton, D. M., Snow, M. A. & Wesche, M. B. (1989). Content-based Second Language Instruction. New York: Newbury House.

Brinton, B., Fujiki, M. & Powell, J. M. (1997). The Ability of Children with Language Impairment to Manipulate topic in a structured task. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. 28, 3-11.

Brown, H, D (2007). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Longman.

Chapple, L. & Curtis, A. (2000). Content-Based Instruction in

Hong Kong: Student Responses to Film. System. 28(3), 419-

Day, E. M. & Shapson, S. M. (1991). Integrating Formal and Functional Approaches to Language Teaching in French Immersion: An Experimental Study. Language Learning. 41, 25-58.

Doughty, C. & Varela, E. (1998). Communicative Focus on Form. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition (pp. 114-138). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Doughty, C. & Williams, J. (1998). Pedagogical choices in focus on form. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.). Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp. 197-261). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. & Barkhuizen, G. (2005). Analyzing Learner Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H. & Loewen, S. (2002). Doing Focus-on-form. System. 30, 419-432.

Fortune, A. & Thorp, P. (2001). Knotted and Entangled: New Light on the Identification, Classification And Value Of Language Related Episodes In Collaborative Output Tasks. Language Awareness. 10(2&3), 143-160.

Gupta, V. & Gupta, A. (2010). New Science in Everyday Life. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Haley M. H. & Rentz, P (2002). Applying SLA Research and Theory to Practice: What Can a Teacher Do? TESL-EJ. 5(4), 1-9.

Harley, B. (1992). Aspects of the Oral Proficiency of Early Immersion, Late Immersion and Extended French Students at Grade 10. In R. Courchline, J. Glidden, J. StJohn & C. Therien (Eds.). Comprehension-based second language teaching. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.

Harley, B. & Swain, M. (1984). The Interlanguage of Immersion Students and Its Implications for Second Language Teaching. In Davies, A., Criper, C. & Howatt, A. (Eds.). Interlanguage (pp. 291-311). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Iwashita, N. (2001). The Effect of Learner Proficiency on Interactional Moves and Modified Output in Nonnative –Nonnative Interaction in Japanese as a Foreign Language. System. 29, 267-287.

Kasper, L.F. (1994). Improved Reading Performance for ESL Students through Academic Course Pairing. Journal of Reading. 37. 376-384.

Kasper, L. F. (1997). The Impact of Content-Based Instructional Programs on the Academic Progress of ESL Students. English for Specific Purpose. 16. 309-320.

Kennedy, T. (1998). FLES: An Elementary School Spanish Program and Its Effects on Cognitive and Attitudinal Development. PhD. Dissertation. Moscow, ID: University of Idaho.

Kowal, M. & Swain, M. (1994). Using Collaborative Language Production Tasks to Promote Students’ Language Awareness. Language Awareness. 3(2), 73-93.

Krashen, S. (1985). The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications. London: Longman.

Leeser, M. J. (2004). Learner Proficiency and Focus on Form during Collaborative Dialogue. Language Teaching Research. 8, 55-81.

Long, M. (1991). Focus on Form: A Design Feature in Language Teaching Methodology. In K. de Bot, D. Coste, R. Ginsberg, & C. Kramsch (Eds.). Foreign Language Research in Cross-cultural Perspectives (pp. 39-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Long, M. & Robinson, P. (1998). Focus On Form: Theory, Research and Practice. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition (pp. 114-138). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mohd Sharif, A. (2013). Limited Proficiency English Teachers’ Language Use in Science Classrooms. GEMA Online® Journal of Studies. 13(2), 65-80.

Muranoi, H (2000). Focus on Form through Interaction Enhancement: Integrating Formal Instruction into a Communicative Task in EFL Classrooms. Language Learning. 50(4), 617-673.

Nabei, T. (1996). Dictogloss: Is it an effective language learning task? Working papers in Educational Linguistics. 12, 59-74.

Nassaji, H. & Fotos, S. (2007). Form-focused Instruction and Teacher Education: Studies in Honour of Rod Ellis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pica, T. (2007). Time, Teachers, and Tasks in Focus on Form Instruction. In H. Nassaji & S. Fotos (Eds.). Form-focused Instruction and Teacher Education: Studies in Honour of Rod Ellis (pp. 161-175). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Prabhu, N.S. (1987). Second Language Pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reinders, H. (2009). Learner Uptake and Acquisition Three Grammar-Oriented Production Activities. Language Teaching Research. 13, 201-222.

Richards, J. C. (2005). Interchange Introduction (Intro). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rodgers, D. M. (2006). Developing Content and Form: Encouraging Evidence from Italian Content-based Instruction. The Modern Language Journal. 90, 373-386.

Schmidt, R. (1990). The Role of Consciousness in Second Language Learning. Applied Linguistics. 11, 129-158.

Schmidt, R. (2001). Attention. In P. Robinson (Ed.). Cognition and second Language Instruction (pp. 3-32). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Short, D. (1991). Content-based English Language Teaching: A Focus on Teacher Training. Cross Currents. 18(2), 167-173.

Snow, M. A. & Brinton, D. M. (1988). Content-based Language Instruction: Investigating The Effectiveness of the Adjunct Model. TESOL Quarterly. 22, 553-574.

Song, B. (2006). Content-based ESL Instruction: Long-term Effects and Outcomes. English for Specific Purposes. 25, 420-437.

Spada, N. (1997). Form-focused Instruction and Second Language Acquisition: A Review of Classroom and Laboratory Research. Language Teaching. 30, 73-87.

Spada, N. (2011). Beyond Form-focused Instruction: Reflections on past, Present And Future Research. Language Teaching. 44, 225-236.

Spada, N. & Lightbown, P. M. (1989). Intensive ESL Programs in Quebec Primary Schools. TESL Canada Journal. 7(1), 11-32.

Swain, M. (1985). Communicative Competence: Some Roles of Comprehensible Input and Comprehensible Output in Its Development. In S., Gass & C. Madden (Eds.). Input in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Swain, M. (1998). Focus on Form through Conscious Reflection. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds.), Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition (pp. 64-81). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Swain, M. (2001). Integrating Language and Content Teaching Through Collaborative Tasks. Canadian Modern Language Review. 58, 44-63.

VanPatten, B. (2004a). Input and Output in Establishing Form-Meaning Connections. In B. VanPatten, J. Williams, S. Rott & M. Overstreet (Eds.). Form-Meaning Connections in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 29-48). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

VanPatten, B. (2004b). Input processing in SLA. In B. VanPatten (Ed.). Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary (pp. 5-31). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates.

VanPatten, B., Williams, J. & Rott, S. (2004). Form-meaning Connections in Second Language Acquisition. In B. VanPatten, J. Williams, S. Rott & M. Overstreet (Eds.). Form-meaning Connections in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 1-26). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Wajnryb, R. (1990). Grammar Dictation. Oxford: Oxford

University Press.

Williams, J. (1999). Learner-generated Attention to Form. Language Learning. 49, 583-625.

Williams, J. & Evans, J. (1998). What Kind of Focus and on Which Forms? In C. Doughty & J. Williams, (Eds.). Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition (pp. 139-155). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Xanthou, M. (2011). The Impact of CLIL on L2 vocabulary Development and Content Knowledge. English Teaching: Practice and Critique. 10(4), 116-126.


  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2131

ISSN : 1675-8021