The Role of Classroom Input: Processing Instruction, Traditional Instruction, and Implicit Instruction in the Acquisition of the English Simple Past by Cantonese ESL Learners in Hong Kong

Mable Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of classroom input in achieving the English simple past to unite the insights of SLA theory and L2 pedagogy. As English tense is not realized overtly in Cantonese, it has been causing great difficulty to English as a Second Language (ESL) learners. This study involved Primary 2 students who were divided randomly into 3 groups being taught using 3 different forms of classroom intervention: Processing Instruction Group (PI), Traditional Instruction Group (TI), and Implicit Instruction Group (II). A pre-test and a post-test consisting of interpretation and production tasks were administered to examine if there is any significant difference in the performance after classroom intervention. Findings show that the PI group displayed significant improvement from pre-test to post-test in the interpretation task, and they also obtained the greatest gains. In the production task, both PI and TI groups obtained greatest gains. Pedagogical implications are discussed suggesting what teachers can do to help L2 learners map forms and meaning in acquiring English tense and other relevant grammar items in the initial stages of L2 acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Classroom intervention
  • English simple past
  • Implicit instruction
  • Processing instruction
  • Second language acquisition
  • Traditional instruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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