The impact of textual enhancement on the acquisition of third person possessive pronouns by child EFL learners

International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

A key concern in L2 research and pedagogy is how learner attention can be directed to linguistic forms. Research has shown that textual enhancement (TE) facilitates the noticing of targeted L2 features, leading to cognitive processes beneficial for L2 learning. However, very few studies on TE have had children as participants. This longitudinal study investigated the extent to which TE in model texts could have an effect on the development of third person possessive pronouns (his/her) among young EFL learners. The participants, 30 dyads of 11- to 12-year-old Spanish children from three EFL classes, were randomly assigned to a control group (CG), a treatment group (TG) and a long-term treatment group (LTG). The groups were engaged in two four-stage collaborative writing cycles of 3 weeks each separated by four months. The CG, which self-corrected their own texts, was not exposed to TE, the TG was only exposed to it during the two cycles and the LTG benefitted from this technique during the two writing cycles and the period in-between. The findings revealed statistically significant differences between the LTG and the other two groups after a sustained exposure to TE, which seems to be a useful pedagogical tool to facilitate the children’s noticing of third person possessives.