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Task complexity, focus on L2 constructions, and individual differences: A classroom-based study

Revesz, Andrea; (2011) Task complexity, focus on L2 constructions, and individual differences: A classroom-based study. The Modern Language Journal , 95 (S1) pp. 162-181. 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01241.x. Green open access

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Abstract

Motivated by cognitive-interactionist frameworks for task-based learning, this study explores whether task complexity affects the extent to which learners focus on form–meaning connections during task-based work in a classroom setting, and whether this relationship is modulated by 3 individual difference factors—linguistic self-confidence, anxiety, and self-perceived communicative competence. Forty-three English as a second language learners from 6 intact classes worked in self-selected groups during their normal English classes. Each group performed 2 versions of the same argumentative task—a simple version and a complex version. The topics of the discussions were comparable, and the sequence of the tasks was counterbalanced. Twenty-three hours of audio- and videotaped data were collected and coded in terms of global and specific measures of speech production and various interactional features hypothesized to facilitate attention to second language constructions. Self-report questionnaires were employed to determine the mediating effects of the individual difference variables. Quantitative analyses revealed a few significant trends. One such trend is that participants demonstrated lower syntactic complexity but greater accuracy and lexical diversity when task complexity was increased. In addition, the more complex task proved more effective in inducing the use of specific, developmentally advanced constructions and in promoting interaction-driven language learning opportunities. However, no significant effects were observed for individual differences.

Type: Article
Title: Task complexity, focus on L2 constructions, and individual differences: A classroom-based study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01241.x
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01241.x
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: task-based teaching, task design, corrective feedback, interaction , focus on form, English as a second or additional language (EAD, ESL), Cognitive
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1497477
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