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Archived Content from Conference Held in October 2008 

Roy Lyster
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Counterbalancing Form-Focused and Content-Based Instruction in Immersion Pedagogy

This plenary session aims to provide a fresh perspective on integrating language and content in ways that engage learners with language across the entire curriculum. The underlying premise is that there is still room for improvement in immersion and other content-based second language programs as they incorporate relevant research findings about effective instructional practices and continue to respond to the needs of changing student populations. To address the challenges inherent in teaching languages through content, this talk explores a counterbalanced approach that integrates both content-based and form-focused instruction as complementary ways of developing a learner’s interlanguage system. Incorporating both form-focused and content-based instruction, instructional counterbalance brings together a wide range of opportunities for learners, on the one hand, to process language through noticing, awareness, and production activities, and, on the other, to negotiate language through content by means of interactional strategies that involve teacher scaffolding and feedback.

Plenary PowerPoint
Plenary Handout

Roy Lyster is Professor of Second Language Education in the Department of Integrated Studies Education at McGill University in Canada. He has a PhD in Applied Linguistics as well as a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Toronto, and an MA from the Université de Paris VII. His research focuses primarily on immersion and content-based classrooms, including both observational and experimental studies of teacher-student interaction, form-focused instruction, and corrective feedback. He is president of the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics and author of Learning and Teaching Languages Through Content: A Counterbalanced Approach, published by Benjamins in 2007.

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