Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Dual-Modality Input in Repeated Reading for Foreign Language Learners with Different Learning Styles

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Dual-Modality Input in Repeated Reading for Foreign Language Learners with Different Learning Styles

Article excerpt

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Introduction

Language teaching professionals have tended to champion a "more is more" approach, a conviction reflected in the query: "What more can I do to enhance the depth of my students' learning?" (Han, Park, & Combs, 2008). From this perspective, increases in learning are often believed to occur when material is presented in two modalities simultaneously (Leveridge & Yang, 2013a, 2013b; Wagner & Toth, 2014), a belief that researchers have justified by drawing on insights from cognitive studies, including dual-modality theory, which underpins the practices of many pedagogical and research frameworks such as repeated reading (e.g., Allport, Antonis, & Reynolds, 1972; Han & Chen, 2010; Leveridge & Yang, 2013a, 2013b; Low & Sweller, 2005).

According to dual-modality theory, there are separate mental representations for visual and auditory information, and new information simultaneously presented in both visual and auditory modalities forms more sophisticated memory traces, thus facilitating retrieval (Baddeley, 2003; Jackson, 2012; Lee & Young, 1974; Paivio, 1991). Much of the empirical evidence supporting dual-modality theory comes from two strands of research: (1) research showing that memory of auditory material is greatly enhanced if the learner is engaged in developing a corresponding mental image (e.g., Anderson & Bower, 1974, 2013), and (2) research indicating that written material is better retained if one develops a phonological association with the contents (Allport etal., 1972; Brown & Perry, 1991). The clear implication of such research is that language input simultaneously presented in both visual and auditory modalities enhances the depth of information encoding and leverages the retention of newly learned information. Simply put, dual-modality input leads to better learning outcomes than single-modality input (Low & Sweller, 2005).

In the domain of language pedagogy, the merits of dual-modality instruction still require further empirical investigation. Existing research has explored the efficacy of dual-modality L2 instruction but without taking learning style differences into consideration (e.g., Diao & Sweller, 2007; Nassaji, 2004). That L2 research be conducted on the dynamic between dual-modality input and learning style is vital because, if Dunn and Griggs (1988) are right, different learning styles "make the same teaching method wonderful for some and terrible for others" (p. 3).

To address this gap in the L2 dualmodality research, this study targeted collegeage foreign language learners and investigated the role of dual (visual plus auditory) and single (visual-only) modalities in repeated reading, a pedagogical technique that was initially used to enhance reading comprehension but recently also employed to promote vocabulary development (see Han & Chen, 2010; Webb & Chang, 2012; Zahar, Cobb, & Spada, 2001). Furthermore, this study explored whether the efficacy of repeated reading implemented using both dual and single modalities varied according to an individual L2 learner's preferred learning style (Gilley, 1975), be that visual, auditory, or balanced, in order to understand the optimal repeated reading implementation environment for L2 learners of different learning styles.

Literature Review

The literature review first discusses optimal ways to assess visual-auditory learning styles. To contextualize the investigation of possible impact of learning styles on the efficacy of the dual-modality input in repeated reading, the literature review then summarizes findings of first language (L1) research across several disciplines on the role of dual-modality input and addresses how dual-modality input is implemented in repeated reading. Following the review of L1-based research, the way in which both repeated reading and dual- dality have been investigated in the L2 context in relation to reading comprehension and vocabulary development is considered. …

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