Friday, April 10, 2009

Effects of Task Repetition on the Fluency, Complexity and Accuracy of Iranian EFL Learners’ Oral Discourse

Bio Data:
Parviz Birjandi is a full professor holding an M.A in applied linguistics from the Colorado State University and a Ph.D in English education; minor: Research methods and statistics from the University of Colorado. He is currently the Dean of the College of Foreign Languages and Persian Literature in the Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch. He has published 15 articles in the area of TEFL and he is the author of English textbooks for high school and pre-university levels, used nation wide, 5 university textbooks and 4 practice textbooks.

Saeideh Ahangari is a Ph.D. candidate of TEFL at the Islamic Azad University/Science and Research Branch. She has an M.A in Teaching English from the University of Tabriz. She has recently completed her Ph.D studies in the Islamic Azad University/Science and Research Branch. She is a lecturer at the Islamic Azad University/Tabriz Branch and currently she is the Head of the English Department in that university. She has published and presented papers in international conferences and journals.

A more recent trend within communicative approaches has been to consider how attention can be profitably channeled through the instructional choices that are made (Schmidt, 1999). The assumption is that learners have available limited attentional capacities, that the different components of language production and comprehension compete for such limited capacities. “The more that a learner tries to hold in his or her head at a given moment, the harder the learning is and the more likely there will be a cognitive overload” (Oxford, 2006, p. 51).

A number of proposals have been made as to how some attention may be focused on form. It can be done through task design (Fotos & Ellis, 1991), pre-task and post-task activities( Doughty, 1991), conciousness-raising activities( Willis, 1996). In this research we approach the issue of attention from a different but related perspective. Our study focused on the ability learners have to utilize their L2 knowledge in production. We investigated if there is an evidence of target like production when the need to focus on meaning has been minimized through task repetition, thereby freeing learners to attend to form, not from input, but from their own internal system.

To examine the effects of task repetition and task type on fluency, accuracy, and Complexity, the researcher assigned 120 students to 6 groups; the narrative task performers, personal task performers and decision-making task performers in the male and female groups. Data was collected using a 2x2x3 factorial design. The first production of the subjects was measured for fluency, accuracy, and complexity. Then after a week all the subjects did the same task again, and their second production was also measured for fluency, accuracy, and complexity. The t-test results and the analysis of variance indicated that task repetition, and task type, as well as the interaction between these variables resulted in significant differences in subjects’ oral discourse in terms of fluency, accuracy, and complexity.

Key Words: task, repetition, fluency, accuracy, complexity, oral discourse


In recent years a number of researchers, syllabus designers and educational innovators have called for a move in language teaching toward task-based approaches to instruction. (Prabhu,1987; Nunan,1989; Long & Crooks,1991; Ellis, 2003).
Since the advent of communicative language teaching and the belief that language is best learned when it is being used to communicative messages, the communicative task has ascended to a position of prominence as a unit of organization in syllabus design. Nunn (2006), for example proposes a task-based unitary framework because it “leads to student-led holistic outcomes in the form of written reports, spoken presentations and substantial small-group conversations that lead to decision-making outcomes” (p.70). This interest in the task has been motivated to a considerable extent by the fact that ‘task’ is seen as a construct of equal importance to second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and to language teachers (Pica,1997).

The rise of task-based language teaching has led to a variety of different interpretations of what exactly constitutes a task. Central to the notion of a communicative task is the exchange of meanings. Willis (1996) defines task as an activity where the target language is used by the learner for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome. Here the notion of meaning is subsumed in ‘outcome’. Likewise for Nunan (2006) tasks have a non-linguistic outcome. He defines task as:

A piece of classroom work that involves learners in comprehending, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is focused on mobilizing their grammatical knowledge in order to express meaning, and in which the intention is to convey meaning rather than to manipulate form. The task should also have a sense of completeness, being able to stand alone as a communicative act in its own right with a beginning, middle and an end(p.17).

There are two main sources of evidence which justify the use of tasks in language classes. As Lynch and Maclean (2000) mention the first source of justifications for Task-Based Learning is what we might term the ecologic alone: the belief that the best way to promote effective learning is by setting up classroom tasks that reflect as far as possible the real world tasks which the learners perform, or will perform. Task performance is seen as rehearsal for interaction to come. The second source of evidence comes from SLA research. “ Those arguing for TBL, drawing on SLA research, have tended to focus on issues such as learnability, the order of acquisition of particular L2 structures, and the implications of the input, interaction and output hypotheses” (Lynch & Maclean, 2000, p.222).

Task-based language teaching is also discussed from a psycholinguistic perspective. “From a psycholinguistic perspective a task is a device that guides learners to engage in certain types of information-processing that are believed to be important for effective language use and/or for language acquisition from some theoretical standpoint” (Ellis, 2000, p.197). It assumes that while performing the tasks, learners engage in certain types of language use and mental processing that are useful for acquisition. Ellis (2006) asserts that “tasks reduce the cognitive or linguistic demands placed on the learner” (p.23).

The underlying theoretical position adopted by task-based researchers who work in this tradition derives from what Lantolf (1996) has called the ‘computational metaphor’. Lantolf comments: “it quickly became regularized as theory within the cognitive science of the 1970s and 1980s. Mainstream cognitive science so strongly believes in the metaphor – in effect, to be in mainstream cognitive science means that many people find it difficult to conceive of neural computation as a theory, it must surely be a fact” (p.724). This metaphor underlies the work on task-based learning/teaching of Long’s Interaction Hypothesis (1989 cited in Ellis 2000), Skehan’s Cognitive Approach (1996), based on the distinction between two types of processing that learners can engage in (lexical processing and rule-based processing), and Yule’s model of Communicative Effectiveness (1997, cited in Ellis, 2000).

A more recent trend within communicative approaches has been to consider how attention can be profitably channeled through the instructional choices that are made (Schmidt, 1990). The assumption is that learners have available limited attentional capacities, that the different components of language production and comprehension compete for such limited capacities, and that the choice to devote attention to one area may well be at the expense of other areas. A central choice in this regard is between attention to form and attention to meaning. The last 20 years have seen a protracted debate in language teaching concerning the relative merits of focusing on accuracy and form as opposed to focusing on fluency and meaning. “Underlying most current research in SLA is the assumption that some level of attention to form is needed for language acquisition to take place” (Radwan, 2005,p.70).

A number of proposals have been made as to how some attention may be focused on form. It can be done through task design (Fotos & Ellis, 1991), pre-task and post-task activities (Doughty, 1991) and consciousness-raising activities (Willis, 1996).

In this research, we approach the issue of attention from a different but related perspective. Our study focuses on the ability learners have to utilize their L2 knowledge in production. We investigated if there is evidence of target like production when the need to focus on meaning has been minimized through task repetition, thereby freeing learners to attend to form, not from input, but from their own internal system.
There are some possible differences that could result from task repetition. For example, “we might expect performance to be more fluent in terms of pausing and speed of words per minute. This is because all things being equal we would expect that doing the task a second time would involve less planning work. Also it is likely to have a different form: because the task has already been formulated previously, we can expect fewer false starts and self corrections (Bygate, 1996, p.138).

Task repetition, then, seems to have beneficial effects on learner performance. As Bygate (1999) suggests, learners are likely to initially focus on message content and once message content and the basic language needed to encode it has been established, to switch their attention to the selection and monitoring of appropriate language.

From comprehension to production
Speaking in an L2 has occupied a peculiar position throughout much of the history of language teaching, and only in the last two decades has it begun to emerge as a branch of teaching, learning and testing in its own right, rarely focusing on the production of spoken discourse(Bygate, 2001).

Krashen’s proposal (1985) that comprehensible input brings about language development and generalizes to speaking was attractive. Claiming that we learn through exposure to meaningful material may not be startling. We are unlikely to learn from material that we don’t understand, after all. As Mangubhai (2006) states “there is the need to provide opportunities for comprehensible output” (p.52).

Swain (1985), an important contributor of immersion-based evidence, was led to consider whether other factors beside input might affect language competence. In particular she proposed the ‘Comprehensible Output Hypothesis’, that to learn to speak we have to actually speak. Swain (1985) argues that knowing that one will need to speak makes one more likely to attend to syntax when one is listening. “ In particular, the activity of producing the target language may, under certain circumstances, prompt L2 learners to recognize some of their linguistic problems and bring to their attention something they need to discover about their L2” (Izumi, Bigelow, Fujiwara, & Fearnow, 1999,p.421).

Building on Swain’s output hypothesis, i.e., producing causes learner to engage in syntactic processing and in so doing promotes acquisition, Skehan (1998) suggests that production requires attention to form but only sometimes. He distinguishes three aspects of production: (1) fluency, (often achieved through memorized and integrated language elements); (2) accuracy, (when learners try to use an interlanguage system of a particular level to produce correct, but possibly limited, language); and (3) complexity (a willingness to take risks, to try out new forms even though they may not be completely correct) (Skehan, 1998, p.5). This may also involve a greater willingness to take risks, and use fewer controlled language subsystems. This area is also taken to correlate with a greater likelihood of restructuring, that is, change and development in the interlanguage system.

To recapitulate, ongoing performance in real circumstances would be fluent, avoid errors, and draw on whatever structures are necessary, however complex, to achieve precision in an interaction. As attention is limited, it is unlikely that all of three of these aspects of performance will be achievable simultaneously. Fluency requires learners to draw on their memory-based system, accessing and developing ready-made chunks of language, and when problem arises, using communication strategies to get by. In this case, then, the kind of processing learners engage in is semantic rather than syntactic. In contrast, accuracy and, in particular, complexity are achieved by learners drawing on their rule-based system and thus require syntactic processing. “It is assumed that initially this greater complexity would be associated with a greater likelihood of error and also more halting dysfluent production. However, as the learner becomes more familiar with some new structure, this error-prone and slow performance is likely to give way to a performance which is less likely to contain mistakes”(Skehan, 2007,p.60).

This implies that we need to find ways to use tasks to lead learners to vary the type of processing they use, and to integrate their capacity for fluent processing of accurate and complex language. The big challenge – for language teaching in general as much as for task-based teaching – is how this can be done.

According to Bygate (1999) two ways of approaching integration of processing capacities are firstly through task repetition, and secondly through the use of pre- and post-task activities. Task repetition may help develop this process of integration. Experience suggests that we improve our ability to handle communicative situations through repeated encounters with similar demands. According to Plough & Gass,1993, (as cited by Lynch and Maclean, 2000),repeated tasks cause learners to disengage attention and commitment. Bygate(1996) states that,information-processing load is reduced in repeated tasks, since the cognitive organization of the task is already available. The task provides scope for more ambitious language and greater precision.

Ellis (2003) states that one of the procedural factors that has been found to influence task performance is rehearsal-giving learners the opportunity to repeat a task. Typically we first focus on the message content, scanning our memory for appropriate language to cope with the task. This establishes familiarity with useful message content and language knowledge, and provides a basis for handling the task. On subsequent occasions this familiarity gives us the time and awareness to shift attention from message content to the selection and monitoring of appropriate language. By enabling a shift of attention, learners may be helped to integrate the competing demands of fluency, accuracy and complexity.

Levelt (1989) has identified three autonomous processing stages in speech production: (1) conceptualizing the message, (2) formulating the language representation, and (3) articulating the message. Ellis (2005) believes that, “rehearsal may provide an opportunity for learners to attend to all three components in Levelt’s (1989) model- conceptualization, formulation, and articulation” (p.14). Lynch and Mclean (2000) indicate that when learners repeat a task their production improves in a number of ways, for example complexity increases, propositions are expressed more clearly, and they become more fluent. Bygate and Samuda (2005) also suggest that rehearsal is a useful pedagogic procedure not just because of the opportunities it affords learners to develop their L2 discourse skills but also because rehearsal arises in naturally occurring communicative activities.

Research Questions

The following research questions were addressed in this study:
Question 1: Does task repetition lead to more fluent language use?
Question 2: Does task repetition lead to more accurate language use?
Question 3: Does task repetition lead to more complex language use?
Question 4: Does task type have any impact on the fluency gain through task repetition?
Question 5: Does task type have any impact on the accuracy gain through task repetition?
Question 6: Does task type have any impact on the complexity gain through task repetition?


This study was conducted with 120 EFL students (boys and girls) selected among 200 students, who are majoring in English language teaching at Tabriz Islamic Azad University. They were 18-20 years old and at intermediate level. For homogeneity of the subjects, prior to research a proficiency test (PET) was given to 200 students and among them 120 participants who had received 50-60 out of 65 were selected. These 120 students were divided into six groups randomly. Each group worked on a special task type and their performances on the first attempt and second attempt of the same task were recorded and scored.

These learners were not aware of the research purpose. Their performances were recorded in language lab and later on the recordings were transcribed and scored according to some established criteria.

This study was conducted with 120 EFL students chosen from 200 students based on their proficiency scores. The proficiency test was PET (Preliminary English Test, 2004), a second level Cambridge ESOL exam for an intermediate level learners. A one-way ANOVA was run to test the homogeneity of the participants according to their proficiency scores. The results of the ANOVA test showed that there was no significant difference across the six groups of participants (f = 1.164, p = .331). Based on the results obtained, the six groups of the study were considered to be equivalent in terms of their proficiency.
The oral production of each group in any performance was recorded on a separate cassette. So totally we used twelve cassettes, i.e. six for their first performance and six for second performance which was the repetition of the first performance.

The subjects involved in this study were randomly divided into six groups i.e. three male and three female groups. Each group was assigned to perform a specific task. The implementation procedures were carefully designed, so that conditions for each task type were as close as possible to being identical for all of the participants, and on each occasion. The recordings took place in the language lab by the researcher and another language teacher.

Before performing the task, the participants in all six groups were instructed about the specific task and were told what they were supposed to do. Students were asked to think about the task they had to do. The material was not part of class work, and subjects had no exposure to the task types before. Each subject, after introducing himself or herself, started to perform the task and it was recorded on a cassette. When all of the participants finished their first performance, the second phase of the study began. Students hadn’t been informed in advance about the repetition of the task in order to diminish the practice effect.

After one week students were required to do the same task again. Their second performances were also recorded on separate cassettes. After collecting the data the most difficult phase of our study began. We had to transcribe the speeches in order to measure them. The transcripts were coded, and evaluated by three raters individually. Inter-rater reliability was calculated at 99%, and problems were resolved individually on a case-by-case basis.

This research included a range of tasks to explore whether different task types would have an impact on performance. Three task types were used in this study following Skehan and Foster (1999): Personal tasks (based on information that was well known to participants and that was therefore assumed to reduce the cognitive load of the task involved), narratives (which were supported by visual material, but which required some degree of organization of material to tell a story effectively), and decision-making tasks (which required the capacity to relate a set of reasons to a set of decisions that had to be made).

These three types of tasks were chosen for a number of reasons. First similar tasks have been used in other studies of task types (e.g. Foster & Skehan, 1996; Skehan & Foster, 1997; Skehan & Foster, 1999; Foster, 2000 cited in Foster, 2001) and thus comparison with the results of these studies would be easier. Second, all of these tasks are monologic rather than dialogic, they afford a basis for deriving measures of learner performance that are not influenced by interactional variables. Finally, we wished to insure that the task was reasonably demanding on the participants and previous researches indicate that this can be achieved by these types of tasks.

As a personal task the following topic was used:
Sending somebody back to turn off the oven. (Foster & Skehan, 1996)

It is the afternoon, you are at the university, and you have an important examination in fifteen minutes. You suddenly think that you haven’t turned off the oven after cooking your lunch. There is no time for you to go home. Explain to a friend who wants to help

* How to get to your house
* How to get into the house and get to the kitchen
* How to turn the oven off

For the narrative task, students were required to tell a story based on a set of six pictures taken from Heaton (1975). The name of the story was (a surprise).

For the third type of task, i.e. decision-making the following topic was chosen: You are going to be taken to a deserted island to live there for a month. You can only take three pieces of equipment with you. Tell us what you would like to take with you and give reasons for your choice and justify the decision. Decision-making tasks tend to involve the mobilization of sets of values to enable decisions to be made about conversational problems.

Independent Variables

* Repetition: This variable explored the effects of repetition of the same task. This was operationalised by having the participants repeat a version of each task type which they had performed a week before.
* Task type: This explored the effect of task type (narrative, personal, and decision-making) on language performance. The purpose was to explore whether the three task types led to differences in language production.

Dependent Variables

Dependent variables were used which focused on three potential qualities of the participant’s speech:

* Fluency “concerns the learner’s capacity to produce language in real time without undue pausing or hesitation. It is likely to rely upon more lexicalized modes of communication, as the pressures of real time speech production are met only by avoiding excessive rule-based computation” (Skehan, 1996, p.22).
* Accuracy “ is the ability to avoid error in performance, possibly reflecting higher levels of control in the language.
* Complexity “is the utilization of interlanguage structures that are ‘cutting edge’, elaborate, and structured” (Ellis, 2003, p.113).

Following procedures developed in Bygate (2001) the audiotaped data were transcribed and coded to measure the fluency, accuracy, and complexity of participants’ performance. All performances were scored by three raters and a reliability of 99% was calculated. The measures were operationalised as follows:
The data were coded for t-units, defined as “a finite clause together with any subordinate clauses dependent on it” (Bygate, 2001, p.35). Complexity was measured in terms of number of words per t-unit. The higher the number, the more complex the language. For counting of the words only content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) were considered.

Accuracy was reflected by calculating the incidence of errors per t-unit- the higher the number, the less accurate the language. Number and length of pauses were not used in this study as a measure of fluency because of the great number of the participants. Accordingly, fluency was measured by counting the number of repetitions, false starts, reformulation's, and replacements per t-unit.

Data Analysis
In order to answer research questions the data were then submitted to statistical analysis including (a) paired t-test, (b) general linear model, multivariate analyses of variance (two way ANOVA).

The first research question in this study addressed the effect of task repetition on the fluency of L2 production. To answer this question a paired t-test was conducted. As the descriptive data in Table 1 show, during the first performance the fluency mean score of the participants was .5868 but during the second performance it has decreased and become .4277. As it has been mentioned before, in the case of fluency measurement which is actually a dysfluency measurement in this study, the smaller the figure the better the results.

Table 1: Descriptive statistics for paired t-test

As the results of Table 2 show, the difference between the participants’ fluency measures in two performances was significant (t (119) = 2.577, p=.011). It means that performing the same task for the second time with the time interval of one week had a significant effect on the participants’ fluency measurement.

Similarly, the second research question investigated the effect of task repetition on the accuracy of participants’ oral production. As has been mentioned, in this research, accuracy has been measured through the number of errors per t-unit, so the smaller the obtained score, the better the accuracy would be. Looking at the mean scores of accuracy measures during the two performances in table 1, we notice that there has been a slight decrease in the amount of accuracy score from time one to time two production. In the first performance, it has been .6129 but in the second performance it has reduced to .5223, which is a sign of improvement and reduction of the number of errors made. However, the results obtained from the paired t-test presented in Table 2 does not show any significant effect for accuracy measures in the case of task repetition (t (119) = 1.64, p=.104).
In this study, the main effect of task repetition on speech production is seen in complexity measures which is the core of research question 3. As the descriptive data of Table 1 indicates, there has been an increase in the complexity level of participants from the first to the second time production. The complexity mean score of 2.73 in the first time production has reached to 3.78 during the second time production. It means that the number of the words the subjects have produced has risen when they had the chance to perform the same task again. As it can be seen in table 2, the main effect of task repetition is significantly meaningful for complexity measures (t (119) =6.426, p= .000).

In order to investigate the effects of task type in repeated performances, first analysis was followed by the repeated two-way ANOVA analysis. Tables 3, 6, and 9 show the descriptive data for the three speech features (fluency, accuracy, and complexity) in relation to the independent variables ‘task type’ and ‘repetition’.

With regard to our fourth research question, the figures in table three show that during the second performance which is indicated in the table as (pos.flu) fluency has decreased in all of the three task types, but in order to see whether the difference between the task types is meaningful or not, a repeated two-way ANOVA test was calculated (table 4). The results suggest that, although reworking the task did have a striking impact on the learners’ speech fluency, task type didn’t exert significant effects. i.e. (F (2,117) =2.017, p = .138 which is higher than .05). There wasn’t a significance difference on the fluency of subjects performing three task types in the case of repeated performance. Also, as table 5 shows, there isn’t a significance interaction between the task repetition and task type variables. This means that the fluency measurement in two performances was not influenced by type of the task.

Table 6: Descriptive Statistics for accuracy/ task type

In order to find out if task type has any impact on the accuracy gain through task repetition, which was the concern of research question 5, a similar repeated two-way ANOVA was run. The descriptive statistics in Table 6 shows that in all of the three task types participants had an improvement during their second performance.
Drawing on the mean scores reported in table 6, we can see that there is a marked effect for task type on the accuracy measures. The personal task consistently generated more accurate performance during the second attempt. Narrative task type led to the second more accurate performance and the less accurate performance during the second attempt belonged to decision-making task type. The results obtained from the repeated two-way ANOVA run on the data and presented in table 7 show that the main effects are clearly meaningful. (F(2,117) = 7.322, p = .001 ). However, as table 8 shows, the interaction between task repetition and task type is not significant.

The last question about the role of the task type was about the impact of task type on complexity measures in the case of repetition. Turning to the study of the results of tables 9 and 10, highly significant results were found for the independent variables ‘task type’ and ‘repetition’ on the complexity measures. The mean scores in table 9 show that in all of the task types there has been an increase in the complexity level during the second performance. The results of repeated two-way ANOVA in table 10 indicates a meaningful difference among three task types in the case of repetition, (F (2,117) = 19.025, p= .000). A trend towards a task type effect was found on the complexity measure for the personal task type group. Decision-making task type was the second more complex one during the task repetition. Table 11, however, shows that the interaction between repetition and task type is not significant

The present paper is part of a research project designed to help our understanding of the instructional choices when language learning tasks are used. The underlying rational is one in which there is a limited capacity processing ability and in which tensions between a concern to be fluent, a concern to be accurate, and a concern to take risks and use more complex language need to be balanced. The present study has focused on the impact of ask repetition and then on three task types.

Using a range of measures, the researcher found some evidence that task repetition resulted in improvement in learners’ oral discourse. The findings are supported by information processing theory that human beings posses limited capacity (Anderson, 2000) which does not allow the speaker to attend to all aspects of the language at the time of task performance. Second language learners with low level of proficiency do not have ready-made plans in their possession to facilitate language production under real time pressure (Farch & Kasper, 1986). When first carrying out the task, the learners would be initially more concerned with planning the content of the message. On the second occasion, on the other hand, having done the substantial conceptual work, the learners would be more concerned with paying attention to the formulation aspect of the task. It can be concluded that this can be an effect of highly contextualised cognitive rehearsal, releasing spare capacity on the part of the speaker to increase accuracy or complexity. The results of the present study are in line with findings of the previous studies (e.g., Bygate, 2001). So generally speaking, the results suggest that previous experience of a task is available for speakers to build on in the subsequent performance.

The findings of the study are also supported by Swain’s (1985) output hypothesis, that in order to speak we have to actually speak. Through the task repetition of the same task, learners may be pushed to notice their problems and try to repair them in the second attempt, because “under certain circumstances, output promotes noticing” (Swain, 1998, p.67).

The results are also consistent with Skehan’s (1998) dual-mode system, which claims that L2 speaker’s processing capacity is limited because of which some areas of language have to be de-emphasized in order to attend to some other areas. As a result, actual performance may well be dependent on the prioritizing decisions of the language learner, as well as the characteristics of tasks and conditions under which tasks are performed. Task repetition is assumed to free the learner from real time pressure in terms of processing load.

The findings about the task type effects on the repeated performance indicate that while there wasn’t a strong effect for fluency in the case of task repetition in three task types, a significant impact was noticed about accuracy and complexity measurement in the case of repetition in three different task types. The follow-up post-hoc analysis revealed that there has been a significant difference between the personal task group and the narrative task group as well as between the personal task group and the decision-making task group. Having a close look at mean scores of the groups in two performances makes it clear that in the personal task type the subjects showed more improvement during the second performance. The results suggest that performance on repeated tasks is affected by exposure to different task types. “Hence the notion of ‘ discourse competence’ – the capacity to process certain types of discourse more easily than others- does appear to have some empirically identifiable psychological reality” (Bygate, 2001, p. 43).

The findings of this research supported Bygate’s (1996, 2001) claim that task repetition may help develop the process of integration of speech capacities. We have argued that integrating processing capacities must be important for language development, and that this can be promoted through the use of task repetition. We have suggested that learners can help through repeated experience of the same tasks, and teachers may be able to use task familiarity to help learners’ language to develop.

The account emerging from the results of this research, also suggests that repeated encounter with a task may make it possible for various processes to occur: information can be improved, reorganized, and consolidated; attention can be paid to different aspects of the language. Repeated encounters do not involve the learners in doing the ‘same’ thing, but rather in working differently on the same material. Repetition provides the students with in-built planning, it also provides a context for students and teachers to plan their subsequent language work.

The evidence also supports the view that the type of the task affects subsequent performance of that task. The impact of task type and repetition on the accuracy and complexity measures suggest that different task types involve different cognitive operations and have different load on the memory.

Implications of the study
The present study supports the findings of previous researchers regarding task repetition. The most important contribution of this study is that it provides learners and L2 educators with a clear explanation of how task repetition affected the L2 learner’s (a) cognitive processes, (b) the fluency of their speech, (c) the accuracy of their speech, (d) the complexity of their speech through the increase of their vocabulary repertoire, (e) and finally their focus on form when their attention on meaning is reduced. Moreover, it has offered an explanation for the task type effect.

The present study has implications for both pedagogy and research. In terms of pedagogical practice, the findings of this study suggest that repetition can promote an optimal balance of attention between the planning of meaning and planning of form. There are certain likely implications taken from this study for language teachers and material preparation experts. Teachers can include rehearsal and task cycling in their daily teaching programs. Providing students with the opportunity to repeat a task is well worthwhile. Repetition of some kind enables learners to work with a language problem in a reasonably stable site.

Based on the results of the present study, task repetition and rehearsal are suggested as complementary methodological options for taking care of language form where meaning negotiation has centrality. It can help learners to integrate what they already know into what they do.
In terms of research methodology, investigation of the data revealed that categories of analysis can be extended beyond the global measure of fluency, accuracy and complexity. Discoursal features, lexical selection, collocations of the speech can also be investigated. Varying the amount of time between repetitions might affect the performances. A further research can be performed by choosing reciprocal tasks instead of non-reciprocal in order to investigate the impact of interaction variable.


Anderson, J.R. (2000). Learning and memory. An integrated approach. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Bygate, M. (1996). Effects of task repetition: Appraising the development of second language learners. In J. Willis and D. Willis (Eds.), Challenge and change in language teaching (pp. 136-146) London: Macmillan.

Bygate, M. (1999). Task as the context for the framing, re-framing and un-framing of language. System,27, 33-48.
Bygate, M. (2001). Speaking. In R. Carter and D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages (pp.14-20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bygate, M. & Samuda, V. (2005). Integrative planning through the use of task repetition. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp.37-74). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Doughty, C. (1991). Second language instruction does make a difference: Evidence from an empirical study on SL relativization. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13, 431-69.

Ellis, R. (2000). Task-based research and language pedagogy. Language Teaching Research,4, 193-220

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2005). Planning and task-based performance. In R. Ellis. (2005). Planning and task performance in a second language (pp.3-34). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ellis, R. (2006). The methodology of task-based teaching. Paper presented at the 2006 Asian EFL Journal Conference, Pusan, Korea.

Farch, C., & Kasper, G. (1986). Cognitive dimensions of language transfer. In E.Kellerman & M.S. Smith(Eds.), Crosslinguistic influence in second language acquisition(pp.49-65). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Foster, P. (2001). Rules and routines: A consideration of their role in task-based language production of native and non-native speakers. In M. Bygate, P. Skehan, and M. Swain (Eds.),Researching pedagogic tasks, second language learning, teaching and testing (pp.75-93). London: Longman

Foster, P. & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition,18, 229-323.

Foster, P. & Skehan, P. (1999). The influence of planning and focus of planning on task-based performance. Language Teaching Research, 3(3), 215-247.

Fotos, S. & Ellis, R. (1991). Communicating about grammar: A task-based approach. TESOL Quarterly, 25, 605-628.

Gass, S., Mackey, A., Alvarez-Torres, M., & Fernandez, M. (1999). The effects of task repetition on linguistic output. Language Learning,49, 549-581.

Heaton, J.B. (1975). Beginning composition through pictures. London: Longman.

Izumi, S., Bigelow, M., Fujiwara, M., & Fearnow, S. (1999). Testing the output Hypothesis. SSLA, 21, 421-452.

Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Levelt, W.J.M. (1989). Speaking: from intention to articulation. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Lantolf, J. (1996). Second language theory building: Letting all the flowers bloom!. Language Learning, 46,713-749.

Long, M.H., & Crooks, G. (1991). Three approaches to task-based syllabus design. TESOL Quarterly, 26(1), 27-56.

Lynch, T., & Maclean, J. (2000). Exploring the benefits of task repetition and recycling for classroom language learning. Language Teaching Research,4, 221-250.

Mangubhai, F. (2006). What do we know about learning and teaching second languages: Implications for teaching. Paper presented at the 2006 Asian EFL Journal Conference, Pusan, Korea.

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing tasks for the communicative classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (2005). Task-based language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (2006). Task-based language teaching in the Asia context: Defining ‘task’. Asian EFL Journal,8(3) 12-18.

Nunn, R. (2006). Designing holistic units for task-based teaching. Asian EFL Journal, 8(3), 69-93.

Oxford, R.L. (2006). Task-based language teaching and learning: An overview. Asian EFL Journal, 8(3), 94-121.

Pica, T. (1997). Second language teaching and research relationships: A North American view. Language Teaching Research,1, 48-72.

Prabhu, N.S. (1987). Second language pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Radwan, A.A. (2005). The effectiveness of explicit attention to form in language learning. System,33, 69-87.

Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics,11, 17-46.

Skehan, P. (1996). A framework for the implementation of task-based instruction. Applied Linguistics,17(1), 38-61.

Skehan, p. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P. (2007). Task research and language teaching: reciprocal relationships. In S. Fotos & H. Nassaji (Eds.),Form-focused instruction and teacher education. Studies in Honour of Rod Ellis (pp.55-69).Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (1999). The influence of task structure and processing condition on narrative retelling. Language Learning,49(1), 93-120.

Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass, & C. Madden (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, Mass: Newbury House.

Willis, J. (1996). A flexible framework for task-based learning. In J. Willis, & D. Willis (Eds.), Challenge and change in language teaching (pp. 52-62). Oxford: Heinemann.

Examples of subjects’ two performances in time 1 and 2

Narrative task

NS extracts: Time1 & time 2

First narration

Second narration

There there were two brothers that one of them was older than the other.

One day when… their parents weren’t at home, the older brother said to the young that I know how to control the boat. Let’s go to a trip.

So they started their trip. When they started, the weather was good and sunny but after a little it it began to be wet and they suddenly… the weather changed.
So they didn’t, they couldn’t control the boat and the boat was in a bad way.
They didn’t know what to do because of the changing the weather, and being in a bad situation, they couldn’t couldn’t control the boat.
So the young brother said to the to the to his brother that we can use from other clothes to control the boat.

So they helped to each other and they together could repair the boat.

And finally, a after a lot of times, they could reach, they could return to their city.

and then they return our parents, their parents were waiting for them.

Once there were two boys whose house were near the beach. They were from a poor family.
One day that their family, their parents weren’t at home, the older brother said to the young that I know how to control the boat, so they decided to go to a trip. He knew how to control the boat but not in the bad wa, bad con bad condition of the weather.
So they sta, they began to start their trip.
At first the weather was well but after half an hour, it changed suddenly and it began to rain.
They didn’t know how to control the boat, so the boat broke and they were in danger.

The young brother said to his brother that we can control the boat by our clothes, because they the sail of the boat wasn’t in the boat.
They took off their clothes and they used from their clothes and they repaired the boat.
After a lot of times, I mean in the evening, they started at the morning, in the morning, but in the evening they could arrive to the seashore.
They saw their parents who were waiting and they accepted them with open arms.

Personal Task
LZ’s extracts: Time1 and time 2
First performance

Second performance

Today I have important exam. Because I forgot to turn off the stove. Please goof. Please go to the my house..
my house is Marmar.. Marmar street .. go to the …A. Amirkabir street and turn to Baharak … Baharak. The four door is my house and open.
Open the door with keys …and …go to the small saloon and turn the la… turn the left ..t. go to kitchen and turn off the …turn off the stove.

I have an important exam today. Because I forgot to turn off the stove can you go to my house and turn off my gas.
My house is located to the Marmar street. ..e..mmm.go to the Amirkabir stree and then to Baharak street. My house is in the Marmar street. My house is number four. The key is in my bag, get it and open the door. Go inside the house, turn left and go to the kitchen and turn off the gas.

I supposed to go to a island for three months, and just three things I should have with myself there.I think the first thing that I have preferred to have is my guitar.I need it everywhere and every places. It is my best things that I have in my life now and the second thing I think I prefer to have ..a pencil and a piece of paper to write something, everything that I want to…have. The third thing that I want to have is food for my first week because after first, after a week I can find everything there and I don’t need anything.

I am going to take a trip to a deserted island. I am supposed to take three things with me. If I go there I wouldn’t take food with myself because I can find something there to eat. So I take three important things. The first important thing that I want to take is my guitar, because I love it. I think the most important instrument in the world is is guitar. The second thing that I think I would take with myself is the album of pictures from my family, because I love my family and I don’t want to miss them. The third thing that I would like to take with myself is a piece of paper and a pen, because I want to write everything that I see there,


  1. This web site truly has all the information and facts I wanted concerning
    this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    My webpage :: hemorrhoid treatment

  2. I think the admin of this website is genuinely working hard in support of his website,
    because here every data is quality based material.

    My blog post: safe diets
    my web site :: diets that work