Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Efl Learners' Writing Accuracy: The Effects of Guided vs. Unguided Pressured Planning

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Efl Learners' Writing Accuracy: The Effects of Guided vs. Unguided Pressured Planning

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Second language (L2) learners often consider writing skill to be the hardest one to acquire. They usually embark upon the writing task alone and silently which demands lots of physical as well as mental effort. Writing, as opposed to listening, reading, and speaking skills, is more complex in that it involves constructing a wholly new text rather than dealing with an already created one. Also, L2 learners generally find it difficult to cope with the writing system of the new language and seem to be lagging behind the threshold of standard writing level.

In the process of writing in a foreign language making too many mistakes would make it difficult to understand. That is, any piece of written work striving for readability and efficiency should be as accurate as possible. Accurateness or accuracy refers to the degree of deviance from a particular norm which is usually termed 'errors'. It is possible to lessen L2 learners' problems in production if they are given time to plan before they produce an L2 utterance or composition. In other words, by giving learners the opportunity to plan the linguistic and propositional content of an upcoming task, they can make up for the drawbacks in their language production and as a result the quality of the linguistic output is improved.

With regard to planning research, the issue of whether planning has effects on learners' task performances has been hotly debated in the contemporary task-based research literature (e.g. Skehan 1996; Skehan and Foster, 1997; Ellis, 2000) and L2 writing literature. Meanwhile, L2 writing research has approached the issue of planning based on theoretical frameworks of writing processes. Research findings from both task-based research and L2 writing research can promote the implementation of a more efficient teaching method.

Additionally, whether the use of guided and unguided pressured within-task planning on written language has any effect on language production is an area which has not been investigated so far. Considering the importance of teaching writing and the main role that planning has in improving the writing ability, it has been decided to conduct this research. Therefore, the present investigation attempts to examine the effects of two subcategories of within task planning, namely guided pressured and unguided pressured planning on the accuracy of Iranian EFL written essays. It is hoped that the findings of the study help broaden the understanding of second language learners' cognitive writing process involving planning. In addition, the results will expectantly prove to have pedagogical implications benefitting the teachers and instructors in the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) as well as theoretical implications in second language writing and relevance to second language writing assessment. In order to respond to above-mentioned query, the present study addresses the following research questions:

RQ: Is there any significant difference between guided pressured and unguided pressured planning in their possible effects on the accuracy of EFL learners' process writing essays?

2. Review of the Related Literature

How planning affects second language production, is one of the most important concerns of Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT). According to Ellis (2005), even the language that seems to be effortless and naturally occurring, involves planning. Planning, as one of several processes involved in the written production, has been considered an important process in second language acquisition (SLA); therefore, the role that it plays in writing should be taken into account in relation to the other composing processes such as monitoring, revising, and evaluating.

The effects of planning on language performance and language acquisition have been of growing interest to researchers since 1980s (Foster and Skehan, 1996; Wendel, 1997; Wigglesworth, 1997; Mehnert, 1998; Yuan and Ellis, 2003; Kawauchi, 2005, to name but a few). …

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