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L2 Tasks and Focus on Form: A Role for Modality

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    1. TBLT 2005 L2 Tasks and Focus on Form: A Role for Modality? Rebecca Adams Victoria University of Wellington

    2. TBLT 2005 Tasks and Focus on Form TBLT has been proposed as a method of promoting learning of form in the context of meaningful communication (e.g., Long and Robinson, 1998; Ellis, 1999). Empirical research indicates that engaging in tasks can promote formal learning in NS-NNS (e.g., Mackey, 1999) and NNS-NNS contexts (e.g., Adams, 2004; Williams, 1999).

    3. TBLT 2005 Learning Forms in Tasks E.g., Adams, 2004 Developmental benefits associated with engagement in communicative tasks in an ESL classroom setting However: Variation in effectiveness by form (Questions > Past Tense > Locatives) Variation in effectiveness by learner (measures of dispersion indicated wide variation among participants)

    4. TBLT 2005 Variation by Learner Why would learners vary so much in their development following task-engagement? Individual differences (e.g., attitudes, motivation, aptitude)? Developmental readiness? Face validity of tasks? Tendency to focus on form?

    5. TBLT 2005 Orientation to Form Learners may be more or less likely to attend to form in communicative activities This is mediated by:

    6. TBLT 2005 Modality? Possible that modality influences orientation to form Definitions/taxonomies of tasks often include both oral and written activities (e.g., Bygate et al., 2001; Long, 1985) But most work on tasks has been directed at oral skills (see Ellis, 2003) Inclusion of a written component changes the nature of the task, and may influence learner tendency to focus on form.

    7. TBLT 2005 Question Does learner orientation to form vary between spoken and written subtasks? (does writing make you more likely to focus on form?) Note, not speaking vs. writing Rather, speaking vs. speaking + writing

    8. TBLT 2005 Participants 50 ESL learners from urban adult charter school Level 4 of a 5-level program Average age: 33 years Mean LoR: 3.7 years Spanish, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, Amharic, Korean, Russian, Bengali

    9. TBLT 2005 Tasks 2 tasks Each designed to elicit a particular target Each based on common task designs Each included an oral and written component

    10. TBLT 2005 Dinner Seating Task Learners given information on a hypothetical dinner party and the guests Gloria is a strict vegetarian and an animal rights activist. She is shy and a good listener. Freddy is Johns cousin visiting from Texas. He is a meat producer and loves to talk about his job. Learners given a diagram of table to fill in and a worksheet to describe location of learners Open outcome (no perfect solution) Designed to elicit locatives (e.g., next to, to the right of, between) N=20 dyads

    11. TBLT 2005 Sample Dinner Seating

    12. TBLT 2005 Picture Story Task Learners given of an 8-picture story Instructed to collaboratively tell the story, and then write the story Designed to elicit past tense Given a worksheet with dates and times to orient them to past

    13. TBLT 2005 Sample Picture Story Task

    14. TBLT 2005

    15. TBLT 2005 Picture Story Task Learners were not instructed on how to complete the task Maintain learner autonomy in approach Some (N=11 dyads) chose to conceal their 4 picturescollaborative speaking then collaborative writing Some (N=9 dyads) chose to share all 8 picturescollaborative writing from beginning

    16. TBLT 2005 Procedure Dyads formed by researcher with teacher input Included mixed and matched gender dyads, mixed and matched L1 dyads Order of task (Dinner Seating v. Picture Story) randomized across learners Recorded in classroom Transcribed by independent research assistant Coded for evidence of orientation to form

    17. TBLT 2005 Orientation to Form Language Related Episodes (LREs) Self-Repair Use of Targeted Forms

    18. TBLT 2005 LREs all interaction in which learners draw attention to form, that is, those that focus on form in the context of meaningful communication as well as those that are set apart from such communication and simply revolve around questions of form itself (Williams, 1999)

    19. TBLT 2005 LREs Included: Explicit and implicit feedback Metalinguistic information Discussion of form Negotiation of meaning LREs can be resolved or ignored LRE resolutions were also coded Very small frequencies

    20. TBLT 2005 Sample LREs Explicit Feedback Target: The man K: yea, I suppose, the man M: not A man, the man K: the man M: yes, the man Discussion of Form Target: On the left L: at the left or on the left A: I think the left in the left no near to it is the left, left L: at the left A: mm hm L: you think so A: yes

    21. TBLT 2005 Self-Repair Learner repairs own error in same or adjacent turns Repair in adjacent turns Target: In front of D: Donald okay Andrea is sitting in front to Donald. F: in front in front D: in front of Donald.

    22. TBLT 2005 Use of Target Form Tasks strongly promoted the use of target forms Use of target forms could indicate that learners are oriented to formal cues Each use counted

    23. TBLT 2005 Analysis Wilcoxian Signed Ranks Test Compare orientation to form on speaking and writing sections of: Dinner Seating Task Picture Story Task Mann-Whitney U Compare orientation to form on picture story task by: Learners who did speaking then writing Learners who did speaking and writing from start

    24. TBLT 2005 Dinner Seating Task

    25. TBLT 2005 Picture Story Task

    26. TBLT 2005 Timing of Writing

    27. TBLT 2005 Discussion Writing increases orientation to form measured by: LREs (Dinner Seating Task; Picture Story Task) Use of Target (Dinner Seating Task) But not Self-Repair Order of writing and speaking may not influence orientation to form

    28. TBLT 2005 Implications For researchers: The effectiveness of tasks in promoting FonF may be linked to all modalities included in task design Links between engagement in tasks and development of forms may be most obvious when writing component is included

    29. TBLT 2005 Implications For teachers: Students may be more likely to step aside from communication to attend to form in collaborative writing tasks than in collaborative speaking tasks Collaborative writing may provide a more efficient means of form-focused practice

    30. TBLT 2005 Limitations/Future Research Other timing variations (e.g., writing then speaking) not tested Future research will test writing + speaking tasks against speaking only tasks. Future research (with a larger N) may be able to establish links between orientation to form and development

    31. TBLT 2005 Conclusion Modality of task engagement influences orientation to form Collaborative writing increases the likelihood of learners outwardly attending to form