Meiji University, Japan
While there has been considerable interest for some time in making learners aware of “lexical chunks,” or “formulaic expressions,” the impact on teaching has not been deep or systemic. Discussion has focused largely on the definitions of different types of lexical chunk and on listing what items learners most need. This discussion has obscured understanding of the more fundamental question of how to help learners to see virtually everything in the language as meaningful chunks, each enclosed within ever-larger chunks. It is this question, and the general problem of how to help learners attend to form, that has led to the development of the innovative Global Chunks Techniques introduced here. The paper is primarily descriptive and suggestive of how these “meaningful form-focused” exercises can be used to develop a “multi-word” mindset in learners as they practice all four skills; support the learning of a very wide range of learners, from primary school age upper elementary to graduate learner levels; be engaging and challenging for learners of a range of abilities, even within a single class; minimise the need for teacher intervention and explanation. It is hoped that the detailed description of these techniques and the discussion of experience in using them will be suggestive of their potential usefulness in classroom teaching and self-access situations. The next stage of development is certainly to make them the focus of various forms of research. Important theoretical assumptions underlying these exercises and their development and use for over more than six years in Japanese university environments are discussed. Relevant assertions in the literature of language teaching, first and second language acquisition, and psychology are briefly touched on Malaysian elementary and secondary English examination questions are referred to in illustrating the techniques themselves.
Chunks, form-focused instruction, innovation, materials design, SLA, TBLT