Input Enhancement in Second Language Acquisition


Cognitive theorists have continually believed that without perceptions of everything, there are subsequently no emotions and, consequently, no behaviors. Therefore, the cognitive theory has been expounded to be generally focused on individuals’ thoughts to elucidate emotions and behaviors to evaluate the complete personality. Through cognitive theory, it is crystal clear that without thoughts, feelings can never be manifested, and in return, no action can be executed. In the teaching of grammar as Second Language Acquisition (SLA), researchers have drawn numerous concepts directly from the Cognitive Psychology and Psychological fields to experiment with the Memory and Attention cognitive processes as they continually relate to the input enhancement.

Input Enhancement

Most English article teaching instruments depend on cognitive approaches to enable the provision of instruction to learners, where educators tried to enhance the input in teaching by using either verbal or textual enhancement (Rashtchi & Etebari, 2018).). Input enhancement, as defined by its founder Mike Sharwood Smith (1981), is a concept alluded to in the Second Language Acquisition to be the basis harboring techniques used by researchers to develop salient selected elements of a language for learners such as parts of words that express tense, word order, accents, slang, articles, and idioms. Their main objective is to draw the learner’s attention to prospects of language that have of late been viewed to have had a little impact on the learner (Godfroid, Lin, & Ryu, 2017). Input enhancement was never conceived to show the instructor’s or researcher’s intentions. Still, it was majorly purported to act as a research tool as it can be generally perceived to be describing techniques instinctively or deliberately used in language tutoring and parents’ address to their children as a vivid way of how people change their oratory when addressing non-native orators who probably have got difficulties in communicating.

Sharwood Smith contrasts the internal enhancement of input with the external enhancement of input, with the former mostly relating to methods employed in the intentional instruction of a language and the latter using ordinary occurrences or conditions. The word ‘grammatical consciousness’ was meant to be replaced with the input enhancement since the older term did not qualify for increased learning in a standard or unintended context rather than an academic or intentionally instructional environment. According to Corder (1967), current analyses show that most researchers’ attention to the SLA has been objected majorly to the cognitive mechanisms that influence the learner’s input processing abilities. Therefore, they have examined the effect of external manipulation of inputs on the subsequent and intake learning in their studies on the effects of Second Language instructions.

Traditionally, the mental registration of the information during processing has been differentiated between linguistic input that the learner has yet to process and intake (Corder, 1967). The latest literature on SLA has demonstrated how emphasis mediates the selection process and resulting input memory. Several responses have been elicited by analyzing the role L2 educational tasks play in such input collection processes as consciousness-raising (Sharwood, 1981).

Fazlali and Shahini (2019) established that consciousness-raising instruction had a significant effect on increasing both lexical and grammatical collocation knowledge of Iranian EFL learners. The researchers further noted that the consciousness-raising group outperformed the input enhancement group and the control group (no treatment). According to Krashen (1982), consciousness has played a central role in SLA grammar history. There is a difference between primarily implicit acquisition and predominantly conscious experience, they have argued. Adult second language learners have access to the underlying processes that drive the acquisition of L1 in their conceptualization of consciousness, and conscious learning has a limited effect on the ability to induce the L2 language. Frota proposed that conscientious exposure to feedback is needed for learning to take place (as cited in Ayoun, 2011). According to Heinz (2017), input enhancement using Cloze-styled textual enhancements indicated improved performance in prepositions acquisitions with post-test scoring an increase of 5.7% from the pre-test. Additional analysis of the data revealed that students of lower aptitude on average saw a 9.6% increase in performance scores with Cloze-styled textual enhancement.

Noticing as an input enhancement is also considered one of the best techniques in grammar learning. According to Schmidt (1995), L2 can be acquired by actively noticing unique types in the input enhancement. Cho (2010) argues that noticing is a crucial mechanism in SLA, focusing without consciousness, and noticing. Cho (2010) asserted that it is possible to record sensed information in memory and disassociate it from consciousness. The second language learning method is seen by other researchers, including Truscott (1998), as dualistic: the development of Metalinguistic forms can be related to conscious notice, but skill in the second language isn’t really. According to Doughty and Williams (1998), cognitive psycholinguistic and psychological differences between perception and unconsciousness have recently appeared in the SLA literature. Consequently, we have developed a better view of the cognitive processes driving learner language production, both unconscious and conscious.

This discourse on the position of consciousness in the area has had a significant effect on a concurrent examination of the role of teaching in SLA. Researchers have sought to quantify, in particular, how external manipulations of feedback vis-à-vis guidance can impact learning. Sharwood Smith (1991) starts by looking at the neural mechanisms in second language acquisition with particular attention to the feedback to which the learner is introduced, which provides evidence regarding the target language structure and the influence of consciousness in the theorization of the possible impact of directed input on future learning. In specific, he wanted to investigate the different interfaces between multiple cognitive structures in the adult mind. His research considers three key areas that are very important for second language acquisition research, including the relative roles of cognitive processes and meta-linguistic analysis that are inaccessible to consciousness in language computation and storage and the interface between A and B in feedback processing in the L2 learner. On contrary, Fazlali and Shahini (2019) established that input enhancement had no significant effect on increasing the grammatical collocation knowledge of Iranian EFL learners. However, Fazlali and Shahili (2019) noted that input enhancement had a significant effect on the progress of lexical collocation knowledge. Notably, the consciousness-raising group outclassed the input enhancement and control group.

To expound on the implications of input enhancement on the cognitive theory, this study will be based on the color-coding grammar teaching technique as an input enhancement to draw critical conclusions. Input enhancement has become one of the most researched areas due to its promising prospects in relation to EFL. Today, input enhancement may take different forms as visual, audial, textual, and kinesthetic tools that can be utilized (Pourhosein Gilakjani., 2011). For instance, such textual enhancements as underlining, boldfacing, italicization, and capitalization have been established to improve the learning process. Of interest to textual enhancement is the color-coding technique. Color-coding is considered to be one of the visual tools or as some might call it textual types of input enhancement which has proved to be effective in English article teaching

Color-Coding Technique

Color-coding is one of the techniques that has been very widespread in delivering input enhancement but has been limited to occasional use. Multiple studies show that color-coding could be an efficient way to boost grammar learning. Further, color-coding is also considered to have various effects on tutoring different such language aspects as grammar articles (Schneider et al., 2016). According to Schneider et al. (2016), the use of color-coding has been one of the approaches aimed at enhancing students’ results through the acquisition and understanding of language. The use of color to illustrate the target language units suggests the color-coding technique as one of the best cognitive methods. In vocabulary development and grammar training, this approach has proven to be explicitly useful where the emphasis on the form has been established to improve language and learning. Educators illustrate particular units that are readily noticed, such as parts of the word, a word, and a phrase.

Grammar training can be seen as a daunting process for many learners who, because of the difficulty of this component of a foreign language, seem to lose interest and dedication. Kian and Gorjian (2018) noted that attention drawing techniques such as color-coding can improve learning connectors. Therefore, such enhancement techniques as the use of colors may be effective in teaching grammar to the SLA learners. Color-coding has continually helped solve these challenges and improve the efficiency of grammar learning by making students more involved (Behzadian, 2016). Specific colors draw people’s interest and variations of tinges, which increase the probability of students seeing the forms studied.

Despite these conclusions appearing self-evident, some scholars claim that color-coding also has detrimental impacts on language when the emphasis on the form deviates from learners’ willingness to pay the required attention to the context. According to Cintrón-Valentín and Ellis (2016), learners’ prior linguistic experience derived from attention processes can shape their willingness toward cues in the input, despite helping form-focused instruction (FFI) in SLA learners, thus can subdue the long-term benefits, hindering the verb-tense morphology.

Specific colors can deflect people’s interests, and the human eye may misperceive some hues. Both this information can be evaluated to provide the basis for the creation of appropriate teaching methods. Pam and Karimi (2016) argue that if the instructor gives transparent and comprehensive guidance, the negative findings described above can also be avoided. Learners should keep concentrating, which can be accomplished by establishing the right environment. The current thesis investigates the use of color-coding in grammar instruction based on these observations and conclusions.

Grammar Learning Using Color-Coding

According to Godfroid, Lin, and Ryu (2017), color usage is the typical strategy used within the multisensory approach framework. Grammar is taught with the aid of colorful rods, blocks, and grids designed to attract student’s attention and enable them to understand and remember such details. As argued by Pam and Karimi (2016), color-coding has become a standard method in grammar instruction, as recent research provides a considerable amount of proof of this instrument’s efficacy. Teachers integrate color into various tasks, including but not limited to content, assessments, and reviews. According to Pam and Karimi (2016), color-coding as one of the input enhancement methods outperformed the control group, which lacked any input enhancement technique. Further, Pam and Karimi established that the application of such textual techniques as color-coding could enhance incidental idiom learning. In this regard, it is valid to argue that input enhancement has improved the academic performance of SLA learners.

Researchers identify any of the potential practices that learners are encouraged to perform while studying grammar. The emphasis is on the use of new grammatical and color structures in verbalized learning. Fazlali and Shahini (2019) indicated input enhancement is useful for failing students and students who are in the early stages of studying foreign languages. When exposed to the correct input, students showed better outcomes. The learners’ poor performance exposed to output suggests that improvement of input is a beneficial facilitator of grammar learning. The incompetency of the mixed output and inputs exercises may be embedded in the activities’ particularities, as the output tasks could be confused or too complicated for the individual.

According to Clark (2013), the color-coding method is commonly used in instructor reviews, aside from integrating color-coding into exercises and projects, which is considered an integral part of the teaching process. Clinton et al, (2016) concentrated on the correlation between the use of color in overt and tacit disciplinary guidance and English papers by students. Importantly, in teaching indefinite articles, colorful explicit input proved useful, although the positive link was lacking for the definitive use of the grammar articles (Clinton et al., 2019). As far as implicit feedback is concerned, students who struggle to use papers appropriately found the use of color in grammar learning to be beneficial. It can also be claimed that color-coding is exceptionally successful in explicit feedback and positively impacts students’ learning in embedded feedback (Masoudi, 2017). In the above case, color-coding makes it easy for students to note one of the learning assumptions.

The analysis of the literature on color-coding in grammar learning gives several useful insights into the matter as far as the present thesis is concerned. Any of the features of prior experiments will be integrated into the intervention. For example, the use of colors would be correlated with cognitive and emotional realms in this inquiry. The use of technologies would be restricted to offering guidance for some use of computer tools. In particular, because modern learners rely heavily on technology and their facilities, this aspect must be used when designing the intervention.


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