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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The interaction of topic choice and task -type in the EFL classroom
by Thurman, John P., Ed.D., Temple University, 2008, 350; 3320076
Abstract (Summary)

This study was an examination of the effect that three levels of topic choice (no choice, limited choice, and complete choice) would have on students' Task Interest and Task Self-efficacy (Study 1, 78 participants), and on three aspects of students' oral output: Accuracy, Complexity, and Fluency (Study 2, 42 participants in 21 pairs). Also examined were the effects that three types of tasks (descriptive, narrative, and decision-making) exerted on these five variables. Data were collected using a questionnaire for Study 1 and recording the participants' conversations for Study 2. Data were collected in nine consecutive treatments to examine the main effects of choice and task, and the interaction effects of choice and task, using two-way repeated-measures ANOVAs.

For Study 1, limited choice promoted Task Interest for the descriptive and narrative tasks, and Task Self-efficacy for the narrative and decision-making tasks to a statistically significant degree. In addition, the descriptive task had the highest Task Interest for the no choice and complete choice treatments and had the highest Task Self-efficacy for the no choice of topic treatment. The findings generally indicated that the participants were more interested in the task when there was choice, and that this led to higher levels of Task Interest and Task Self-efficacy.

The Study 2 results indicated that Complexity was significantly higher when choice was introduced for the descriptive and narrative tasks. Accuracy and Fluency were not influenced to a statistically significant degree by choice, but they were positively influenced nonetheless. Attentional resources may have been freed up when choice was introduced and the participants may have been more willing to take risks, both possibly causing the significantly higher levels of complexity for choice.

Suggestions for further research include a closer examination of the process students use when choosing a topic and examining ways for a more efficient method of introducing choice into the task-based language teaching syllabus.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Beglar, David
Commitee: Norris, John, Sawyer, Mark, Schaefer, Kenneth, Tatsuki, Donna
School: Temple University
Department: CITE/Language Arts
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Multicultural education
Keywords: Autonomy, Choice, English as a foreign language, Language learning, Output, Task-based, Topic choice
Publication Number: 3320076
ISBN: 978-0-549-70849-0
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