Wim Gombert

CHAPTER 7. Speaking skills 115 stage. Classroom management talk and the story scripts make use of so-called L2 pareddown language, which comprises the use of clear visuals and a gesture to accompany each word; teachers read out scripted lessons making frequent use of meaningful chunks as they do, with the learners sitting in a circle around the teacher. Learners repeat the chunks and gestures, usually in a chorus format. As the rst few lines of the very rst story that is presented to year 1 students illustrate, the story provides a great deal of built-in repetition and chunks of language with similar patterns (Voici 5 times, cochon(s) 4 times, il + verbe 7 times): (4) Voici l’histoire des trois petits cochons, ( is is the story of the three little pigs) Voici le premier petit cochon. ( is is the rst little pig) Il joue de la guitare et il est gentil. (He plays the guitar and is very sweet.) Voici le deuxième petit cochon. ( is is the second little pig) Il travaille un peu et il aime la musique. (He works a little and he likes music) Voici le troisième petit cochon. ( is is the third little pig) Il danse et chante et il est fantastique. (He dances and sings and he is fantastic) Voici le loup. Il est méchant. ( is is the wolf. He is mean). In the nal three years, an extended version of AIM, labeled “AIMe” (AIM extended) was used. AIMe was built on authentic input, with homework assignments using online learning systems and authentic target language magazines, among other resources, to facilitate ample exposure to the language. Lesson activities were based on the (media) content to which learners had been exposed, with a main focus on oral and written skills to facilitate the development of language use. INSTRUCTION TIME For all participants in both conditions, the total amount of instruction time was kept constant: two 50-minute lessons per week in the rst three years and three 50-minute lessons per week in the nal three years. In addition, students completed homework assignments, providing an additional 110 hours of input (roughly 20 minutes of homework per 50-minute class). Whereas the amount of homework was the same for both groups, the type of input and exercises that they did at home were di erent: the SB-taught students mainly practiced the grammatical rules presented in class at home and were asked to complete (additional) reading comprehension exercises. e DUBtaught students, by contrast, were asked to listen to French media and read authentic French magazines without completing reading comprehension questions or grammar drills. As exposure to French outside the classroom was minimal to non-existent in the Netherlands, the total amount of instruction time can be estimated at 730 hours.