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Abstracts

Wynne Wong
The Ohio State University

Title: Investigating the Effects of Structured Input and Discourse Level Tasks

Processing Instruction (PI) has instilled a rigorous research agenda in instructed second
language acquisition (SLA) since the first published study in 1993 by VanPatten and Cadierno.
As underscored by VanPatten (2004) and Wong (2004) among others, the benefits of SI are
believed to be due to the fact that these activities are created with L2 learners processing
strategies in mind, and that they push learners to notice and process grammatical forms in
input efficiently. However, as noted by Benati and Lee (2010) in their volume Processing
Instruction and Discourse, this type of input enhancement has generally focused sentence-level
input. This paper presents two studies that focus on structured input (SI) and discourse level
tasks. The first study investigates SI activities at the discourse level via a series of reading
activities and comprehension questions that require learners to pay attention to the target
form, the French causative, in order to respond to questions about what they read. These
activities are compared to reading activities with comprehension questions that do not require
attention to target form in order to respond correctly. The second study examines the relative
effects of input-based and input plus output-based instruction via three discourse level learning
conditions: (1) an input-oriented task in the form of a structured input reading activity, (2) an
input-oriented reading activity without structured input activities, and (3) an input plus output-
oriented task in the form of a text reconstruction activity, on the learning of the French
causative structure.

James Lee
University of New South Wales, Australia

Title: The Practice of PI in VanPatten and Cadierno (1993) and Cadierno (1995).

These two seminal articles in the history of processing instruction research examine two
different processing problems. VanPatten & Cadierno (1993) explores learners' tendency to
misassign the first noun or pronoun they encounter in a sentence as the agent when its role is
that of patient (First Noun Principle). Cadierno (1995) explores explore learners' preference for
processing lexical items before or instead of grammatical items when both refer to the same
semantic information (Lexical Preference Principle). The purpose of this presentation is to
analyze the instructional materials VanPatten and Cadierno developed to address these
processing problems. At the heart of the materials is structured input, that is, input that is
specifically manipulated so that learners connect the form in the input with its meaning. The
presentation will also analyze how the materials adhere to the Guidelines for Developing
Structured Input Activities (VanPatten 1996).

Bill VanPatten
Michigan State University

Title: Individual Differences and Processing Instruction

For some time, a number of scholars have argued for the centrality of individual differences in
adult SLA (e.g., Dornyei, 2005; Robinson, 2002; Skehan, 2012). Regardless of context (e.g.,
instructed/non-instructed, type of instruction), the argument is that such things as aptitude and
working memory correlate significantly with outcomes or are major factors affecting L2
development and attainment. In this paper, I will present evidence from several studies using
processing instruction as the framework in which neither aptitude nor working memory emerge
as significant factors. In contrasting this research with previous studies, I will argue that the
apparent non-role of these particular individual differences lies in the nature of processing
instruction, what it purports to effect, and how it ties into a larger picture of acquisition. In
doing this, I will relate the discussion to some of the original claims made in VanPatten and
Cadierno (1993).

Justin P. White
Florida Atlantic University

Title: Primary and Secondary Effects of Processing Instruction

Since VanPatten and Cadiernos (1993) study, research has shown effectiveness for PI and SI
with what are considered primary effects and, as of late, researchers are beginning to
investigate the secondary effects of PI (i.e., Benati & Lee, 2008; Leeser & DeMil, in press; White
& DeMil, in press, White, in press). In celebration of the vicennial anniversary of VanPatten and
Cadierno (1993), the present talk will discuss where my research has gone based on the findings
and implications of this seminal study. I will focus on my research that has looked at both
primary and secondary effects of processing instruction with special attention paid to the
isolation of variables such as Form Related Explicit Information, the effects of token frequency
in SI, and methods of assessment. I will also discuss several avenues for future research
including treatment material development and measurement of primary and secondary effects.

Alessandro Benati
University of Greenwich, UK

Title: The effects of re-exposure to instruction and the use of discourse-level interpretation
tasks on processing instruction and the Japanese passive

Since VanPatten and Cadiernos (1993) original study, empirical research within this theoretical
and empirical framework has demonstrated the positive effects of processing instruction on
sentence and discourse-level interpretation and production tasks (Benati and Lee, 2010). In this
paper results from an experimental study investigating immediate and re-exposure effects of
processing instruction on the acquisition of Japanese passive forms will be presented. The
effects of processing instruction were measured by several tasks including two discourse-level
interpretation tasks. The main findings from this study indicate that L2 learners receiving re-
exposure to the processing instruction treatment between the immediate and the delayed
post-tests make further improvement in their performance. Their improvement appeared to be
different according to the different measurements used in the study.

Cristina Sanz, PhD
Georgetown University

Title: Beyond L2:Processing Instruction principles and research on L3 development

The Latin Project (TLP), named after the language used in the experiment, is a long-term
laboratory study that currently holds data from over 500 participants. This includes
monolingual controls and bilinguals at different proficiency levels in a combination of
languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and Japanese. By combining
bilingualism with the study of pedagogical conditions, The Latin Project (TLP) represents a new
application of Processing Instruction to the study of multilingualism.

The presentation will summarize the patterns that continue to emerge showing more explicit
treatments leveling the field for all learners, with gains in groups exposed to more grammar
severely affected by memory decay, such that significant advantages for them disappear 2-3
weeks after the treatment. However, groups who are provided with input-based practice
without grammar do retain significant gains, suggesting that practice manipulated input with
simple right/wrong feedback is enough to sustain long term gains. This is especially true for
older learners (65+) and for bilinguals. In relation to prior language experience, our results
provide converging data from Georgetown and Taiwan showing that higher proficiency in the
L2 enhances further learning of languages, with bilingual advantages linked to the complexity of
tasks performed; i.e., for easy tasks, prior language experience does not help.

A more recent development in TLP has been the study of cross-linguistic influence (CLI). I will
present results of an ongoing study suggesting that transfer comes from both the L1 and the L2
in the initial stages of L3 development. Specifically, in the absence of exposure to the L3,
bilinguals take their L1 as point of departure. However, as they interact with manipulated input
in the L3, examination of their cue reliance demonstrates that participants show faster rate of
cue shift with their most reliable L2 cues, lending support for L2 transfer.