4.3.1. EFL learners` beliefs about isolated and integrated grammar
Second language grammar instruction has been well studied in the literature, but there exists some gaps regarding the issue of students’ perceptions on this important topic. The present study examined EFL students’ beliefs and perception toward integrated and isolated FFI.
As the results showed, the total mean score for integrated focus on form was not significantly different from the mean score for isolated focus on form. Therefore, it can be claimed that, in general, learners did not show a clear preference for isolated or integrated focus on form. This finding is similar to the findings in some of the previous studies. For example, Jean (2005) reported that participants in his study liked both isolated and integrated focus on form and Spada (2006) found the same results with adult learners. Several studies have been done on teachers and students` preferences in relation to approaches for teaching grammatical points.
However, the findings of the study are in conflict with some previous studies. For example, Savignon and Wang (2003) examined the perception of students about classroom activities which were identified as FFI and CFI. The result of the study showed the preference for meaning-focused approach. A recent empirical study that was conducted by Wang (2009) indicates that students maintain positive attitude toward task-based language teaching and integrated FFI in the classroom. Pazavar and Wang (2009) suggested that Asian students have various attitudes toward form-focused instruction. They pointed out previous English learning experiences, academic needs of students; English proficiency and their future choice of their carriers play an important role in shaping their attitudes toward different class activities. Incay and Dollar (2011) found that students` belief about grammar instruction positively and significantly correlated with their performance on a grammar test.
In literature on L2 grammar instruction, there are some studies which indicate a combination of isolated and integrated FFI can be better than applying one approach and neglecting another one (Azar, 2007, Fotos, 2005; Spada & Lightbown, 2009). Therefore, EFL teachers must manage to keep a balance between form-focused and communication-focused instruction (Feng, 2013).