An ELT Glossary : "Noticing"



  • Definition : The name given to the idea (associated with Schmidt, 1990) that if learners pay conscious and cognitively "deep" attention to the form and meaning of certain language items in input, this will contribute to the internalization and learning.
  • Proponents of "noticing" argue that it is only when language is "noticed" that it will be acquired, in contrast with the views of eg Krashen (see The Input Hypothesis) , who argues that receptive exposure is sufficient and that processing will be non-conscious.
  • Examples : 
  1. If language items are highlighted in a text they are more likely to be "noticed" than otherwise.
  2. Guided discovery activities are intended to promote "noticing".  By making the learners work out rules for themselves, these activities result in deeper cognitive processing of the material to be learnt than if the learners are simply "told" the rules by the teacher or coursebook.


  • References and Further Reading : 
     Batstone, R.    Noticing
     Cross, J.         "Noticing" in SLA : Is it a valid concept?
     Noonan, F.J.   Teaching ESL students to "notice" grammar
     Schmidt, R.     Attention, awareness, and individual differences in language  learning