The Effect of Open vs. Closed Tasks on Improving Iranian EFL Learners’ Oral Performance

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

University of Tabriz

10.22099/jtls.2020.37075.2814

Abstract

Among the latest efficient approaches in language teaching, Task-based Language Teaching has turned up to be the main approach in a way that it is currently recognized as the leading teaching approach in language instruction (Ji & Pham, 2017). Using the proper tasks based on the proficiency level of the learners can facilitate the process of language learning. The present study aimed at investigating the effect of open and closed tasks on improving Iranian EFL learners’ oral performance at intermediate and advanced levels. This study is a quasi-experimental research with pretest and posttest design. The participants of the study included 55 female EFL learners at Jahadeh Daneshgahi language institute in Tabriz city, who were selected through cluster random sampling method. The data were collected through 10 open tasks and 10 closed tasks along with an oral pretest and an oral posttest checklist that examined grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, breakdown-response, interaction, and speech flow of learners’ oral performance. The tasks were selected from the Four Corner series (Richards & Bohlke, 2012). The data were analyzed by a two-way MANCOVA test and ANCOVA. The obtained results indicated that open and closed tasks can improve EFL learners’ oral performance and there is no significant difference between open and closed tasks in developing learners’ oral performance in both levels. Besides, at the advanced level, the amount of oral performance development is greater than the intermediate level. The outcomes of this study can be useful for EFL teachers and learners regarding using the optimal kind of tasks in improving oral performance.

Keywords


Alaraj, M. M. (2017). EFL speaking acquisition: Identifying problems, suggesting learning strategies, and examining their effect on students' speaking fluency. The International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities Invention, 4(1), 3215-3221.

Alptekin, C. (2002). Towards intercultural communicative competence in ELT. ELT Journal, 56(1), 57-64.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy, (2nd ed.). New York: Longman.

Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Cole, D., Ellis, C., Mason, B., Meed, J., Record, D., Rossetti, A., & Willcocks, G. (2007). Teaching speaking and listening: A toolkit for practitioners. Bristol: Portishead Press.

Correia, R. C. (2016). Assessing speaking proficiency: A challenge for the Portuguese EFL teacher. An e-journal of Teacher Education and Applied Language Studies, 7, 87-108.

Dornyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the language classroom. Cambridge: CUP.

Ekiert, M., Lampropoulou, S, Revesz, A., & Torgersen, E. (2018). The effects of task type and L2 proficiency on discourse appropriacy in oral task performance. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332057395_The_effects_of_task_type_and_L2_proficiency_on discourse_appropriacy_in_oral_task_performance.

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

Folse, K. S. (2006). The effect of type of written exercise on vocabulary retention. TESOL Quarterly, 40(2), 273-293.

Foster, P. & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning and task type on second language performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 299-323.

Ganjouee, A.A., Ghonsooly, B., & Fatemi, A. H. (2018). The impact of task-based instruction on the enhancement of Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ speaking skill and emotional intelligence. Applied Research on English Language, 7(2), 195-214.

Gashan, A. K., & Almohaisen, F. M. (2014). The effect of task repetition on fluency and accuracy of EFL Saudi female learners’ oral performance. Advances in Language and Literary Studies, 5(3), 36-41.

Huei-Chun, T. (2007). A study of task type for L2 speaking assessment. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED496075.pdf.

Ji, Y., & Pham, T. (2017). Implementing task-based language teaching (TBLT) to teach grammar in English classes in China: using design-based research to explore challenges and strategies. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 14(2), 164-177.

Long, M. H., & Crookes, G. (1993). Units of analysis in syllabus design: The case for task. In G. Crookes & S. Gass (Eds.), Tasks in a pedagogic context: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 9-54). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Long, M. (2015). Second language acquisition and task-based language teaching. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Mirbaghero, B., & Khalaji, M. H. (2017). Closed vs. open type of task and the accuracy of speaking. International Journal of Educational Investigations, 4(4), 13-18.

Mpho, O.M. (2018). Teacher centered dominated approaches: Their implications for today’s inclusive classrooms. International Journal of Psychology and Counselling, 10(2), 11-21.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based language teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

Pishghadam, R. (2011). Introducing applied ELT as a new approach in second/foreign language studies. Iranian EFL Journal, 7(2), 8-14.

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

Richards, J. C. (1990). Conversationally speaking: Approaches to the teaching of conversation. In Jack. C. Richards. The language teaching matrix. New York: CUP. 67-85.

Schank, R. C., & Cleary, C. (1995). Engines for education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Shoarnaghavi, R., Seifoori, Z., & Ghafoori, N. (2014). The impact of divergent tasks on the accuracy and complexity of intermediate Iranian EFL learners' task-based oral speech. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1762-1770.

Skehan, P. (2003). Task-based instruction. Language Teaching, 36, 1-14.

Talebinezhad, M. R., & Esmaeili, E. (2012). The effects of different task types on EFL learners' acquisition of two grammatical structures (infinitives and gerunds): The case of Iranian high school students. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(8), 1699-1709.

Tavakoli, P. (2016) Fluency in monologic and dialogic task performance: Challenges in defining and measuring L2 fluency. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 54(2), 133-­150.

Thornbury, S. (2005). How to teach speaking. Harlow: Longman.

Willis, J. (1996). A framework for task-based language teaching. Malaysia: Longman.

Yadollahi, H., & Rahimi, A. (2015). The effects of different task types on learners’ performance in collaborative virtual learning environment. Retrieved from

Yashima, T., Zenuck-Nishide, L., & Shimizu, K. (2004). The influence of attitudes and affect on willingness to communicate and second language communication. Language learning, 54(1), 119-152.

Zahabi, A. (2016). The effect of task complexity and task condition on Iranian learners’ accuracy, complexity and fluency of written task performance. Retrieved from: