Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Strategic Planning and Group Size on Iranian Efl Learners' Writing Fluency

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Strategic Planning and Group Size on Iranian Efl Learners' Writing Fluency

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

1.Introduction

As Ellis (2003) states, different tasks can be performed within different procedural options. One way to enhance learners' performance for doing a task is providing the learner with planning time. Planning time refers to the process of planning conscious control on the amount of time spent on a specific activity, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity (Ellis, 2005). Planning is done either before or during the task. The provision of planning time before and during the task might affect the learners' cognitive processing and the accuracy, fluency and complexity of learners' productions. Planning time provided before the task is called pre-task planning, also known as strategic planning, and the planning during the task is known as online planning. Online planning might be pressured in which the amount of time provided for the learners is limited; within-task planning can be unpressured in which there is no time pressure for completing the task.

The provision of planning time before and during the task can be done in different ways, which might let the students plan for doing the given task. The second possibility is the provision of pre-task planning and no online planning. The third possible scenario is the absence of pre-task planning and the provision of during task planning solely. The last possible procedure is the absence of both pre- and during task planning, which is rare (Nunan, 2004).

Different studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of pre-task planning on the accuracy, fluency, and complexity of second learners' performance. One of the studies was a research conducted by Dellerman, Coirier, and Marchand (1996) to investigate the extent to which second language learners' writing performance is affected by pre-task planning. The findings of their study revealed that the provision of planning time improved the performance of second language learners' performance. Planning was found to assist especially non-proficient learners.

Ellis and Yuan (2004) investigated the way different planning procedures affected second language learners' performance in narrative written tasks. The participants of this study were required to narrate a story based on six pictures. Three planning conditions that were employed in this study were no planning, pre-task planning, and online planning. In the pre-task planning condition, learners had a 10 minute opportunity to plan for writing, and seven minutes to write to do the task. The online group students had to start writing without any pre-task planning time. The results of this study indicated that pre-task planning was beneficial for formulating ideas, and online planning was used for monitoring. Those in the no planning condition received the lowest scores with regard to complexity, fluency, accuracy.

Rezazadeh, Tavakoli, and Eslami (2011) employed two types of tasks which were instruction (low demand) and argumentative (high demand) to check the effect of planning on for eign language learners' performance. One hundred and sixty eight undergraduate students participated in this study. Ninety learners were in the argumentative writing task group and seventy four learners were in the instruction writing task. The results of this study indicated that the participants in the instruction group outperformed those in the argumentative group in terms of accuracy and fluency. However, the participants of the argumentative task group produced a more complex written language.

In another study, Rahimpour and Safarie (2011) investigated the effect of strategic and online planning time and learners' proficiency level on EFL learners' writing performance with the three criteria of accuracy, fluency, and complexity. Planning time was provided in two conditions which were pre-task planning and on-line planning. The studies included thirty sophomore students majoring English language and literature. …

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