Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Which Component of Intelligence-Working Memory Capacity or Reasoning Skill- Has More Effect on Efl Learners' Acquisition of Connectors?"

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Which Component of Intelligence-Working Memory Capacity or Reasoning Skill- Has More Effect on Efl Learners' Acquisition of Connectors?"

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

According to Bergland (2013), fluid intelligence (Gf), the ability to solve problems independent of training, has a relationship with working memory capacity (WMC) (Jaeggi et al., 2008) and reasoning ability (Gustafsson, 1988).Martinez (2000) believes Gf is the ability to perceive complex relationships and solving new problems. It is the closest second-level factor to general intelligence (G) in Carroll's (1993) hierarchical model of intelligence. Gf is sometimes referred to as inductive reasoning or fluid reasoning ability. According to Krumm, Ziegler, and Buehner (2008), when Gf is decomposed into its components showing different cognitive properties, it may contribute to the academic performance. A learner can exploit her cognitively intellectual capacities to the optimum level if she is placed in a conducive environment (Chandra & Azimmudin, 2013). According to the literature, Gf and English writing performance share some basic elements, such as WMC and reasoning ability. Therefore, improving these cognitive abilities through practice may be conducive to learning writing in which connectives play an important role. According to Baddeley (1996) and Alloway and Alloway (2010), WM is activated in writing performance when writers have to keep information in their mind for further processing. Also, effective writing performance which is relying on application of connectives requires reasoning ability (Dafouz, 2008; Marandi, 2002). In the current research, n- back software was selected for WMC exposure (Jaeggi et al., 2008; Stephenson, 2010) and Cattell's Culture Fair Test was chosen for exposing to reasoning ability (Gustafsson, 1988; Horn & Cattell, 1966; Jaeggi et al., 2008).Then the effect of the exposure was investigated on the improvement of application of connectives through test of connectives. This study intended to answer the following questions:

Q1. Does enhancing cognitive abilities through practice affect learning connectives of EFL learners?

Q2.Which of the components of fluid intelligence-working memory capacity or reasoning skill- has more effect on learning connectives of EFL learners?

2. Theoretical framework and statement of the problem

This study was formed based on three theories. First, Gf components and writing performance have some elements in common, such as WMC (Baddeley, 1996; Engle, Tuholski, Laughlin, & Conway, 2002; Kellogg, 1996) and reasoning ability (Dafouz, 2008; Marandi, 2002). Second, practice may prepare the way for second language learning in cognitive and educational psychology (Dekeyser, 2007). And the third theory is that the effect of cognitive transfer through practice may be durable enough to affect skill learning (Kundu et al., 2013).

On the other hand, the present research was conducted because there was scarcity of research in role of practice in SLA (Dekeyser, 2007). O'Malley & Chamot (1990) contend that practice has been proved to be crucial for learners to restructure their mental concepts to achieve degrees of mastery in L2 writing. They also continue that since L2 writing is a very complex system of delivery, learners often find it difficult to develop all aspects of the writing stages simultaneously. Consequently, they may selectively use automatic aspects which have already been proceduralized. Also, Olive (2003) believes that WMC is related to writing skill but there is the shortage of research in this regard and it may be caused by the complexity of writing skill in L2.

In this research, the researchers attempted to improve two cognitive elements which were activated in writing performance. In fact, they strived to improve cognitive elements through exposure and practice to see the effect on a second language learning sub-skill, which was learning connectors. And finally they tried to find out which of the two cognitive abilities was more effective to be focused on for skill learning and academic achievement. …

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