Task Types and Discursive Features: Mediating Role of Meta-talk in Focus

Document Type : Original Article


1 Islamic Azad University - Karaj Branch, Iran

2 University of Queensland, Australia

3 South West Region TAFE Queensland, Australia

4 University of Tabriz, Iran


Exploring opportunities by which learners can internalize new knowledge and consolidate existing knowledge has long been a point of interest in English as a foreign language research.     This study investigated how meta-talk opportunities on discourse markers created by four task types including text reconstruction, dictogloss, translation and jigsaw can promote language learning at discourse level.   To this end, 80 participants were assigned into four groups of twenty students. They were 10 pairs in each group. Having considered homogeneity issues in participants' selection, the researchers assigned one type of tasks to be performed in each group.  Students' performances were audio recorded and transcribed for the purpose of analyzing the potentials of different tasks in engaging participants in language at the level of discourse through meta-talk opportunities. ANOVA results followed by post hoc pairwise comparisons indicated that translation and jigsaw tasks had the highest potentials and dictogloss and text reconstruction had the least potentials in creating meta-talk opportunities on discourse.  The findings imply how design features of tasks set up differentiated language use. Also, the findings imply that teachers and material developers need to make principled decisions about which task has the highest potentials in maximizing learning opportunities.