This study was an attempt to investigate the developmental rate of fluency, accuracy and complexity among 12 EFL learners within the framework of chaos complexity theory. To carry out this study, 6 female and 6 male participants in two levels of proficiency (pre-and upper-intermediate) were put in two classes taught by the same teacher and following the same course. Every two months (for a period of four months) they were asked to write a narrative using the pictorial sequence of a story, and they were also asked to tell the same story orally after three days. Their productions were analyzed for fluency, accuracy and complexity (lexical and grammatical). The results, compared inter and inrta-individually, revealed that there was no common pattern of development among different learners with different proficiency or gender. A closer examination of the oral and written productions of these learners showed that the emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy could be seen as a system adapting to a changing context, in which the language resources of each individual were uniquely transformed through use and in which chaos, dynamicity, unpredictability, and self-organization were clearly observed in the participants’ productions.
The present study was designed to initially test a model of the role of a set of cognitive (namely, aptitude and working memory) and motivational (namely, language learning goals, self-efficacy beliefs and self-regulation strategy use) individual differences variables in writing performance of a group of Iranian undergraduate EFL learners and, subsequently, to identify the possible differences in the writing quality and composing behavior of learners with different individual characteristics. A convenient sample of 125 BA level students of English Language Teaching and Literature from three state universities in Iran took part in the study. As for the data collection procedure, these participants, in various time intervals, wrote an argumentative essay, responded to the composing process scale, completed the aptitude and working memory measures and filled in the questionnaires exploring their motivational propensities, self-efficacy beliefs and self-regulatory strategy use in writing. The collected data were analyzed by using Path Analysis and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA). Due to some problems like small sample size and idiosyncratic nature of the data, the model did not give satisfactory fit indexes. However, it was found that cognitive variables were more strongly correlated with the writing competence of the learners than the motivational ones. More specifically, the construct of foreign language aptitude had the highest potential to account for the writing competence of the learners and the learners having different levels of this construct were different from each other in terms of writing quality and composing processes employed while writing.
Drawing on Robinson’s cognition hypothesis, the study attempted to examine how task conditions influence EFL learners’ oral performance and whether learners’ individual differences in terms of tolerance of ambiguity and self-efficacy mediate the effects of such conditions. To this end, 62 Iranian intermediate EFL learners from private language institutes in Tehran performed four dyadic decision-making tasks manipulated along task conditions of information distribution and goal orientation. Their performance was measured through complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) indices. Their tolerance of ambiguity and self-efficacy were assessed using separate questionnaires. The results indicated that information distribution and goal orientation could significantly impact the participants’ performance on the tasks. As to the CAF indices, it seemed that Skehan’s (2016) trade-off hypothesis was a better fit than Robinson’s (2015) cognition hypothesis since trade-offs were found between complexity and accuracy/fluency. The results of the correlations revealed that there were a number of significant positive relationships between tolerance of ambiguity and the CAF indices on the one hand and self-efficacy and the CAF indices on the other. While the former relationships did not confirm the specific prediction of the cognition hypothesis, the latter relationships did. Overall, the findings contribute to Robinson’s hypothesis concerned with the effects of task conditions on oral performance and the mediating role of individual differences, and have implications for task sequencing and task-based teaching.
This study aimed to investigate the impact of task sequencing, along +/- reasoning demands dimension, on writing task performance in terms of accuracy. The study was motivated by Robinson’s Cognition Hypothesis (CH) as well as previous studies investigating the relationships between task complexity and second language production. The participants of the study were 90 intermediate students at the Islamic Azad University, Shahr-e-Qods Branch, chosen from three classes based on their performance on the Preliminary English Test (PET). The participants in the three classes were assigned to three groups: Experimental 1, Experimental 2, and a Control group. At first, the students in all groups took part in the writing pre-test. Next, the treatment sessions including 8 sessions of picture description task performance began, during which the first experimental group received a series of picture description tasks based on a randomized order of cognitive complexity. The second experimental group received the same tasks, but ordered from simple to complex, based on their required reasoning demands. The control group, however, received some writing activities from the course book. Finally, during the last session, the post- test was administered to all participants. The results of the data analysis showed a significant positive impact for sequencing tasks from simple to complex on accuracy in writing task performance.
A pivotal issue in research on writing concerns whether the knowledge of how genres are constructed and learned in one discipline/genre can be transferred to other contexts, genres, and disciplines. Yet, studies conducted so far have not presented a unified and complete view of how various writing instructional techniques can result in transferability. This study examined the effect of structuring and problematizing scaffolding mechanisms and the mediating effect of learners’ proficiency level on a cohort of Iranian English learners’ ability to transfer the acquired genre-based knowledge to a new discourse mode. Four groups of thirty pre-intermediate learners chosen from eight intact classes and four groups of advanced learners selected from eight intact classes participated in this study. The performance of the participants in structuring scaffolds, problematizing scaffolds, and combined structuring and problematizing scaffolds conditions were compared to that of the control groups. The results of a two-way ANCOVA revealed that scaffolding mechanisms could significantly result in genre-transferability. The results also suggested that scaffolding mechanisms brought about the best results when offered simultaneously. Besides, the result yielded no significantly moderating effect for learners’ proficiency level. Implications for classrooms are discussed.
This paper presents a detailed examination of learning transfer from an English for Specific Academic Purposes course to authentic discipline-specific writing tasks. To enhance transfer practices, a new approach in planning writing tasks and materials selection was developed. Concerning the conventions of studies in learning transfer that acknowledge different learning preferences, the instructional resources were designed to be multimodal to engage all participants in construing the principles of academic writing. To promote the relevance of writing practices and their transferability to future professional settings and to ensure the success of the multimodal presentations, a practice of team-teaching between the English Language and content lecturers was rigorously embraced. A sample population of 28 postgraduate medical students from Jondi Shapur University of Medical Sciences in Ahvaz participated in this research. The data were collected through interviews and writing samples throughout a whole semester and were subsequently analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively based on James' (2009) checklist of writing outcomes. The results indicated that the instruction did stimulate transfer from the course to the authentic tasks notably in the skills associated with organization and language accuracy; however, the transfer of some outcomes appeared to be constrained particularly the use of punctuation marks. Implications of the findings for theory, practice, and future research in discipline-specific writing practices are discussed.