Attention and awareness in SLA

Ronald P. Leow, Melissa A. Bowles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter has presented a concise overview of the theoretical and methodological issues surrounding the roles of attention and awareness in adult L2 behavior and learning and provided a brief report of empirical studies that have employed verbal reports to investigate their roles in L2 development in the L2 classroom. The overall findings appear to indicate facilitative effects of attention and awareness on adult L2 learners' subsequent processing, intake, and learning of targeted L2 forms or structures embedded in the L2 data, providing empirical support for Schmidt's noticing hypothesis and the facilitative role of awareness in SLA. In addition, this chapter has stressed that the role awareness plays in adult L2 development needs to be investigated further, although researchers should be aware of the methodological concerns inherent in both the operationalization and measurement of this slippery construct. While current research findings are indeed promising, more robust research designs are clearly needed to address the issue of L2 development premised on the role of attention or awareness, given the wide variety of variables that can potentially impact learners' processes while interacting with L2 data. The findings can only improve our understanding of the processes involved in language learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMind and Context in Adult Second Language Acquisition
Subtitle of host publicationMethods, Theory, and Practice
PublisherGeorgetown University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9781589010703
StatePublished - 2005


  • Attention
  • Awareness
  • Detection
  • Limited capacity processor
  • Noticing
  • Operationalization
  • Verbal reports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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