Restriction lift date: 2027-05-30
Task-based language teaching in a study abroad context: a longitudinal study of complexity, accuracy and fluency development in Chinese as a second language
University College Cork
This study explores the impact of task-based language teaching (TBLT) on Chinese oral development in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency among Chinese-as-a-second-language (CSL) learners during Study Abroad (SA) in China. Specifically, the study seeks to determine whether TBLT has a positive effect on the development of oral Chinese and its relative effect compared to traditional classroom learning in the context of SA in China. It also investigates the role of proficiency in the case of TBLT in SA. The study seeks to determine how complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) constructs and subconstructs among CSL learners in two instructions (a TBLT and a traditional approach) are affected at different proficiency levels in the context of SA. To answer such questions, 36 CSL learners at two proficiency levels (intermediate and pre-advanced) were recruited and assigned to two instruction types over the course of 14 weeks: a TBLT and a traditional approach. Learners' oral production was elicited at two periods of the study (pre-test/T1 and post-test/T2) and transcribed manually. The data were coded for the CAF measures to evaluate the development of oral Chinese in the study, covering fluency (speech rate), accuracy (errors per word), syntactic complexity (mean length of run per AS-unit) and lexical complexity (type-token ratio, Guiraud Index, corrected type-token ratio, word token, word type and lexical sophistication). Results generally showed that TBLT had positive effects on oral Chinese acquisition in fluency, accuracy, syntactic complexity, and lexical variety though not in lexical sophistication. Also, TBLT showed better effects than a traditional approach in promoting fluency, syntactic complexity, and lexical variety but without robust evidence in the case of accuracy and lexical sophistication. These findings provide evidence for the beneficial effect and the superiority of TBLT on Chinese oral development, confirming the efficacy of task-based instruction in the context of SA and calling for attention to formal instruction in SA. They also indicated that the effect of TBLT on Chinese oral development varied in terms of different CAF constructs or subconstructs, suggesting that TBLT is not a "one size fits all" approach for L2 teaching and learning. Additionally, results showed that proficiency level had an impact on Chinese oral development in terms of the CAF constructs or subconstructs in both TBLT instruction and a traditional approach. For the role of proficiency in TBLT, high proficiency learners had an advantage in fluency and lexical variety. However, low proficiency learners showed an advantage in syntactic complexity, and learners at both proficiency levels showed a similar effect in the development of accuracy and lexical sophistication. For the role of proficiency in SA more generally among all the learner-participants, high proficiency learners had better development on fluency and lexical variety while learners at both proficiency levels showed a similar development in accuracy, syntactic complexity, and lexical sophistication. The findings of the current study have implications for TBLT studies in CSL and SA and pedagogical implications for educators and teachers in future practice.
TBLT , Chinese oral development , CAF , Proficiency level
Chen, J. 2021. Task-based language teaching in a study abroad context: a longitudinal study of complexity, accuracy and fluency development in Chinese as a second language. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.