The Effects of Input-based and Output-based Techniques on Learners’ Performance of English Inversions

Document Type : research article


1 Associate professor of Applied Linguistics, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD in TEFL, Islamic Azad University, Kahnooj Branch, Kerman, Iran


The present study explored the comparative effectiveness of three focus-on-form instructional techniques on Iranian learners’ ability to interpret, produce, and reconstruct English inversion structures. To do this, 122 participants were assigned to Processing Instruction, Text editing, Textual enhancement, and Control groups and received instructions. Results of repeated measures ANOVA showed the superiority of Processing Instruction and the possibility of transfer of training through this input-based technique to output tasks. The effectiveness of Textual Enhancement instructional technique in triggering changes in learners’ performance suggested that implicit instruction is not adequate for inducing the necessary cognitive processes needed for learning. The findings also indicated that output-based Text Editing technique could be effective in improving learners’ performance of the target structure and retaining the effects of instruction on delayed posttests. Based on the results of the study, teachers are encouraged to provide learners with opportunities to process both form and meaning through Processing Instruction.


Alanen, R. (1995). Input enhancement and rule presentation in second language acquisition. In R. Schmidt (Ed.), Attention and Awareness in Foreign Language Learning (pp. 259-302). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Baleghizade, S., & Saharkhiz, A. (2014). The impact of processing instruction on the recognition and production of English derivational affixes among EFL learners. Sage Open, 4(4), 1-11.  
Benati, A. (2001). A comparative study of the effects of processing instruction and output-based instruction on the acquisition of the Italian future tense. Language Teaching Research, 5, 95-127.
Benati, A. (2005). The effects of PI, TI, and MOI in the acquisition of English simple past tense. Language Teaching Research, 9, 67-113.  
Benati, A. (2010). Exploring the effects of processing instruction on discourse-level interpretation tasks with English past tense. In A. Benati, & J. Lee (eds.), Processing instruction and discourse (pp. 178-197). New York: Continuum.
Buck, M. (2006). The effects of processing instruction on the acquisition of English progressive aspect. Estudios de Lingüística Aplicada, 24(43), 77-95.
Coe, N., Fowler, W. S. (1976). Nelson English Language Tests. London: Butler and Tanner Ltd.
DeKeyser, R. M., & Sokalski, K. J. (1996). The differential role of comprehension and production practices. Language Learning, 46, 613-642.
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. Cambridge: CUP.
Ellis, R. (1995). Interpretation Tasks for Grammar Teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 87-105.
Ellis, R. (1997). SLA research and second language teaching: Oxford University Press.
Farley, A. & Aslan, E. (2012). The relative effects of processing instruction and meaning-based output instruction on L2 acquisition of the English subjunctive. ELT Research Journal, 1(2), 120-141.
Farley, A. (2001). Processing instruction and meaning-based output instruction: A comparative study. Studies in Applied Linguistics, 5, 57-93.
Farley, A. (2004). Processing instruction and the Spanish subjunctive: Is explicit information needed? In  B. VanPatten (ed.) Processing instruction: Theory, research, and commentary (pp. 227-239). NJ: Erlbaum.
Fowler,W. S., & Coe, N. (1976). English language tests.London: Butler& Tanner LTD.
Fulcher, G. and Davidson, F. (2007). Language Testing and Assessment. New York: Routledge.                                                                                                                                   
Gass, S. M. (2003). Input and interaction, in C. J. Doughty and M. H. Long (eds.), The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (pp. 224-55). Malden: Blakwell Publishing.
Ghasemi Torkabad, M., & Fazilatfar, A. M. (2014). Textual Enhancement and Input Processing Effects on the intake of Present and Past Simple Tenses. Procedia- Social and Behavioral sciences, 98, 562-571.
Izumi, S. (2002). Output, input enhancement and he noticing hypothesis: an experimental study on ESL relativization. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 541-77.
Jafarigohar, M., & Jalali, M. (2014). The Effects of Processing Instruction, Consciousness-Raising Tasks, and Textual Input Enhancement on Intake and Acquisition of the English Causative Structures. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17(1), 93-118.
Jourdenais, R., Ota, M., Stauffer, S., Boyson, B., & Doughty, C. (1995). Does textual enhancement promote noticing? A think aloud protocol analysis. In R. Schmidt (Ed.), Attention and Awareness in Foreign Language Learning (pp. 259-302). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Keating, G. D., & Farley, A. P. (2008). Processing instruction, meaning-based output instruction, and meaning-based drills: Impacts on classroom L2 acquisition of Spanish object pronoun. Hispania, 91, 631-650.
Kim, Y. (2008). The role of task-induced involvement and learner proficiency in L2 vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning, 58(2), 258-325.
Lee, J. & Benati, A. (2007). Delivering processing instruction in classroom and virtual contexts: Research and Practice. Equinox: London.
Lee, J., & VanPatten, B. (1995). Making communicative language teaching happen. New York: McGraw Hill.
Lee , S. K. (2007). Effects of textual enhancement and topic familiarity on Korean EFL students’ reading comprehension and learning of passive form. Language Learning, 57(1), 87-118.
Leow, R. (1997). The effects of input enhancement and text length on adult L2 readers’ comprehension and intake in second language acquisition. Applied Language Learning, 8, 151-182.
Leow, R. (2001). Do learners notice enhance forms while interacting with the L2? An online and offline study of the role of written input enhancement in L2 reading. Hispania, 84, 496-509.
McNulty, E. (2010). Exploring the effects of Processing Instruction on a discourse-level guided composition with the Spanish subjunctive and after the adverb cuando. In A. Benati & J. Lee (Eds.), Processing Instruction and discourse (pp. 97-147). London: Continuum.
Mehrani, M. B., Modarresi, G., & Loghmanian, H. (2018). The impact of form-focused with translation tasks, form-focused without translation tasks, and meaning-focused tasks on L2 vocabulary learning. Journal of Foreign Language Research, 8, 389-411.
Morgan-Short, K., & Bowden, H. W. (2006). Processing instruction and meaningful output based instruction: Effects on second language development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 31-65.
Nassaji, H., & Fotos, S. (2011). Teaching grammar in second language classrooms: Integrating form-focused instruction in communicative context. New York: Routledge.
Nassaji, H., & Tian, J. (2010). Collaborative and individual output tasks and their effects on learning English phrasal verbs. Language Teaching Research, 14(4), 397-419.
Overstreet, M. (1998). Text enhancement and content familiarity: The focus of learner attention. Spanish Applied Linguistics, 2, 229-258.
Qin, J. (2008). The effect of processing instruction and dictogloss tasks on acquisition of the English passive voice. Language Teaching Research, 12(1), 61-82.
Radwan, A. (2005). The effectiveness of explicit attention to form in language learning. System, 33(1), 69-87.
Robinson, P. (1997). Individual differences and the fundamental similarity of implicit and explicit adult. Second language learning, 47(1), 45-99.
MA: Newbury House.
Sanz, C. & Morgan-Short, K. (2004). Positive evidence vs. explicit rule presentation and explicit negative feedback: A computer-assisted study. Language Learning, 54, 35-78.
Schmidt, R. (1994). Implicit learning and the cognitive unconscious. In Ellis (Ed.), Implicit and explicit learning languages (pp. 1165-209). London: Academic Press.
Shahivand, Z. & Pazhakh, A. (2012). The effects of test facets on the construct validity of the tests in Iranian EFL students. Higher Education of Social Sciences, 2(1), 16-20.
Sharwood-Smith, M. (1993). Input enhancement in structured SLA: Theoretical bases. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 15, 165-79.
Shook, D. (1994). Fl/L2 reading, grammatical information, and the input-to-intake phenomenon. Applied Language Learning, 5, 57-93.
Simard, D. (2009). Differential effects of textual enhancement formats on intake. System, 37, 124-135.
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). MA: Newbury House.
Swain, M. (1995). Three functions of output in second language learning, in In G. Cook & B. Seidlhofer (eds.), Principles and Practice in Applied Linguistics (pp. 125-144). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
VanPatten, B. (2002). Processing instruction: An update. Language Learning, 52, 755-803.
VanPatten, B. (2004). Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary (ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
VanPatten, B., & Cadierno, T. (1993). Explicit instruction and input processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 15, 225-44.
VanPatten, B., & Sanz, C. (1995). From input to output: Processing instruction and communicative tasks. In F. Eckman, D. Highland, P. Lee, J. Mileham, & R. Rutkowski (Eds.), Second Language Acquisition: Theory and Pedagogy (pp. 169-185). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
VanPatten, B., & Uludag, O. (2011). Transfer of training and processing instruction: From input to output. System, 39, 44-53.
VanPatten, B., & Wong, W. (2004). Processing instruction and the French causative: A replication. In B.  VanPatten (Ed.), Processing Instruction: Theory, Research, and Commentary (pp. 9-117). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
VanPattn, B., Farmer, J. & Clardy, C. (2008). Processing Instruction and meaning-based output instruction: a response to Keating and Farley (2008). Hispania, 92(1), 116-126.
White, J. (1998). Getting learners’ attention: A typographical input enhancement study. In  Cathrine Doughty and Jessica Williams (ed.), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition. Cambridge and London: Cambridge University Press.
Zhan, H. (2015). Frequent Errors in Chinese EFL Learners’ Topic-Based Writings. English Language Teaching, 8(5), 72-81.