Research Projects

  • Developing a Model of Second Language Speaking: The Relevance of Planning and Task Characteristics
  • SKEHAN Peter
    1 October 2007
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    In Hong Kong and elsewhere a task-based approach to language instruction is common. However, this approach has problems, most clearly in the tension between real-time performance, on the one hand, and the need for development and change, on the other. The proposed research uses psycholinguistic models of speaking to explore how this tension can be better resolved. Two general areas will be explored: pre-task planning and task design. Studies will investigate what learners actually do when given pre-task planning time, and also how certain task design features (e.g., information structure) influence the balance between attention to form (and potential language change) and attention to meaning (and communicative effectiveness). The research will have a number of outcomes. First, it will make theoretical contributions through the development of a model of second language speaking, and through the resolution of competing claims regarding the use of limited attentional resources. Second, it will clarify important questions regarding second language task design, and the way pre-task planning can be used. Centrally, it will contribute to understanding how communication and second language competence can develop together, rather than at the expense of one another. These contributions will be important for pedagogy and assessment. (CU07503)

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