Document Type : Research article
Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Payame Noor University, Iran
The present research investigated the impact of task demands manipulation on what learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) exactly focus on while producing speech. In the same vein, task performance conditions with varying degrees of complexity were operationally defined along the variables of structure and immediacy (±Here/Now). The study involved sixty Iranian EFL learners who were asked to carry out a narrative task under four conditions: narrating an unstructured picture-based story using the present tense with contextual support; performing a structured picture story in the present tense with contextual support; narrating an unstructured picture story in the past tense without contextual support; narrating a structured picture story in the past tense without contextual support. Following their task performance, participants attended a round of retrospective interviews where they verbalized the causes for their dysfluency as indicated by pauses. Results pointed to differential effects of task complexity on learners’ attention allocation. Specifically, it was shown that performing the more difficult unstructured narrative makes for more pauses stemming from attention to conceptualization. Besides, using past tense to recount the stories without looking at the pictures resulted in more pauses due to attention to form. More importantly, it was found out that recounting a structured narrative in the past tense without contextual support, substantially enhanced attention to form which was evident in the significantly greater number of pauses owing to focus on lexical, syntactic, and phonological encodings. The implications of the outcomes are discussed in relation to relevant theoretical and practical issues.
- Ahmadian, M. J., Abdolrezapour, P., & Ketabi, S. (2012). Task difficulty and self‐repair behavior in second language oral production. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 22(3), 310-330. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2012.00313.x
- Ahmadian, M.J., Tavakoli, M., & Vahid Dastjerdi, H. (2015). The combined effects of online planning and task structure on complexity, accuracy, and fluency of L2 speech. The Language Learning Journal, 43(1), 41-56. https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2012.681795
- Allan, D. (2004). Oxford placement test. Oxford University Press.
- Bui, G., & Skehan, P. (2018). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. Wiley, 1-7.
- Dao, P., Iwashita, N., & Gatbonton, E. (2017). Learner attention to form in ACCESS task-based interaction. Language Teaching Research, 21(4), 454-479. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168816651462
- Foster, P., & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18(3), 299-323.
- Frear, M. W., & Bitchener, J. (2015). The effects of cognitive task complexity on writing complexity. Journal of Second Language Writing, 30 (December 2015), 45-57. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263100015047
- Fukuta, J. (2016). Effects of task repetition on learners’ attention orientation in L2 oral production. Language Teaching Research, 20(3), 321-340. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168815570142
- Fukuta, J., & Yamashita, J. (2015). Effects of cognitive demands on attention orientation in L2 oral production. System, 53(October 2015), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2015.06.010
- Gass, S. M., & Mackey, A. (2000). Stimulated recall methodology in second language research. Routledge.
- Gilabert, R. (2007). Effects of manipulating task complexity on self-repairs during L2 oral production. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 45(3), 215-240. https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.2007.010
- Ishikawa, T. (2007). The effect of manipulating task complexity along the [±here-and-now] dimension on L2 written narrative discourse. In M. P. Garc´ıa Mayo (Ed.), Investigating tasks in formal language learning (pp. 136-156). Multilingual Matters.
- Iwashita, N., McNamara, T., & Elder, C. (2001). Can we predict task difficulty in an oral proficiency test? Exploring the potential of an information processing approach to task design. Language Learning, 53(1), 401- 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/0023-8333.00160
- Jackson, D. O., & Suethanapornkul, S. (2013). The cognition hypothesis: A synthesis and meta-analysis of research on second language task complexity. Language Learning, 63(2), 330-367. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12008
- Lambert, C., & Kormos, J. (2014). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in task-based L2 research: Toward more developmentally based measures of second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 35(5), 607-614. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amu047
- Levelt, W. J. M. (1989). Speaking: From intention to articulation. MIT Press.
- Ortega, L. (2005). What do learners plan? Learner-driven attention to form during pre-task planning. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp.77-109). John Benjamins.
- Parvaresh, V., & Ahmadian, M. J. (2016). The impact of task structure on the use of vague expressions by EFL learners. The Language Learning Journal, 44(4), 436-450. https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2016.1204108
- Rahimpour, M. (1999). Task complexity and variation in interlanguage. In N. O. Jungheim & P. Robinson (Eds.), Pragmatics and Pedagogy: Proceedings of the 3rdPacific Second Language Research Forum (pp. 115-134). The Pacific Second Language Research Forum.
- Robinson, P. (1995). Task complexity and second language narrative discourse. Language Learning, 45(1), 99-140. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1995.tb00964.x
- Robinson, P. (2001). Task complexity, cognitive resources, and syllabus design: A triadic framework for examining task influences on SLA. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 287-318). Cambridge University Press.
- Robinson, P. (2011). Second language task complexity, the Cognition Hypothesis, language learning, and performance. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Second language task complexity: Researching the cognition hypothesis of language learning and performance (pp. 3-39). John Benjamins.
- Robinson, P. (2007). Task complexity, theory of mind, and intentional reasoning: Effects on L2 speech production, interaction, uptake, and perceptions of task difficulty. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 45(3), 193-213. https://doi.org/10.1515/iral.2007.009
- Robinson, P. (Ed.). (2011). Second language task complexity: Researching the cognition hypothesis of language learning and performance. John Benjamins.
- Saeedi, M. (2020). Task Condition and L2 oral performance: Investigating the combined effects of online Planning and immediacy, International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, 8(32), 35-48. https://jfl.iaun.iau.ir/article_674718.html
- Saeedi, M., & Rahimi Kazerooni, S. (2014). The influence of task repetition and task structure on EFL learners' oral narrative retellings. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 116-131. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2013.770860
- Schmidt, R. (1995). Consciousness and foreign language learning: A tutorial on attention and awareness in learning. In R. Schmidt (Ed.), Attention and awareness in foreign language learning (pp. 1-63). University of Hawaii.
- Schmidt, R. (2001). Attention. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp. 3-32). Cambridge University Press.
- Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford University Press.
- Skehan, P. (2007). Language instruction through tasks. In International handbook of English language teaching (pp. 289-301). Springer.
- Skehan, P. (2009). Modeling second language performance: Integrating complexity, accuracy, fluency, and lexis. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 510- 532. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amp047
- Skehan, P. (Ed.). (2014). Processing perspectives on task performance (Vol. 5). John Benjamins.
- Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (1999). The influence of task structure and processing conditions on narrative retellings. Language Learning, 49(1), 93-120. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9922.00071
- Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (2001). Cognition and tasks. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Cognition and second language instruction (pp.183-205). Cambridge University Press.
- Tavakoli, P. (2009). Assessing L2 task performance: Understanding effects of task design. System, 37(3), 482-495. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2009.02.013
- Tavakoli, P., & Foster, P. (2011). Task design and second language performance: The effect of narrative type on learner output. Language Learning, 61(1), 37-72. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2011.00642.x
- Tavakoli, P., & Skehan, P. (2005). Strategic planning, task structure and performance testing. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 239-277). John Benjamins.
- Vasylets, O., Gilabert, A., & Manchon, R. M. (2017). The effects of mode and task complexity on second language production, Language Learning 67(2), 1-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12228