Exploring FFI for use in the ELT context of Chinese high schools
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In the last decade, the practice of English Language Teaching (ELT) in China’s classrooms has been greatly influenced by western-oriented innovations in Second Language Teaching (SLT) pedagogy. SLT methods focusing on meaning and communicative tasks have been introduced and have become superfluous throughout the country, outdating the traditional grammar-centred instruction. However, the decision to employ these new methods was taken with little reference to needs of real-life classrooms, and consequently a context-practical method is still urgently needed for practical implementation. In this paper, I explore current research into form-focused instruction (FFI) at the levels of approach, method, and procedure, with a view to its use at the particular context of Chinese high schools. The focus is on one of the greatest challenges facing SLT pedagogy – how to maintain grammar competence while developing communication proficiency. I meet this challenge by adopting a FonFs type of instruction and its requisite method to design English courses critically according to various contextual constraints. I have also designed a five-stage procedure for the implementation of this contextual method for use in the classroom, which is illustrated by a design sample. The method and procedure presented here can be used to stimulate SLT research in China’s context, and the design sample can strengthen classroom instruction as well as text design.