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Based on the input processing theory and output hypothesis in Second Language Acquisition, and employing quantitative and qualitative methods, this study investigates the effects of Textual Enhancement (TE), Input Processing Instruction (PI) and Presentation-Practice-Production (3P), and tries to compare the initial learning and retention effect on the acquisition of unreal conditionals in Chinese college English classrooms. The research findings are as follows: 1) Both PI and 3P are effective. TE is effective in initial learning but falls short for retention effect. There is significant difference between the TE, PI and 3P groups. 2) In initial learning, 3P has the best effect based on learnersâ€™ mean score, followed by PI and TE, but there is no significant difference between PI and 3P. There is significant difference between 3P and TE, PI and 3P. 3) With regard to the retention effect, 3P and PI work better than TE. And there is no significant difference between 3P and PI. The research findings indicate that explicit explanation about language structures plays an effective and necessary role in English learning in the Chinese context. English teachers are suggested to involve the learners with grammar through meaningful activities such as structured input activities.
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