The Effect of Implicit and Explicit Grammar Instruction on Students’ Grammatical Accuracy
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The aims of the current study were to investigate (1) whether implicit grammar instruction can be as effective in obtaining grammatical accuracy as explicit grammar instruction; (2) the effect of explicit grammar instruction after implicit grammar instruction; and (3) the relationship between educational level and the effectiveness of explicit/implicit grammar instruction. To this purpose, 420 Dutch learners of English were taught grammar either implicitly or explicitly during the first two years of their secondary education. The intervention group (N=220) was taught grammar implicitly for almost two years, after which it received explicit grammar instruction for seven weeks. This group was given a grammar test consisting of gap-filling questions both before and after the explicit instruction. The control group (N=200) was given the same gap-filling grammar test after two years of explicit grammar instruction. The results revealed that the control group outperformed the intervention group in the first test, but that after seven weeks of explicit instruction the intervention group had reached the same level of grammatical accuracy as the control group. Educational level was found to be related to grammatical accuracy, and both the highest and the lowest educational level were shown to benefit more from explicit instruction than the intermediate level.