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Title: Mind sets and IFL : texts and tasks : a theoretical model acting as a link between Italian language acquisition, cultural categories and literary texts
Author: Tamponi, Anna Rita
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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The present research was carried out at UCL and may be considered an 'action-research', being the result of theoretical reflections and didactic applications. It originated in the observation that learning the Italian language was not perceived by ab initio students as connected to their personal and academic experiences. An initial hypothesis was formulated that an early introduction to literary texts accompanied by tasks could favour the interlanguage development in ab initio University students. Furthermore, this development, mainly as far as written production is concerned, might be facilitated in learners who are specifically guided and trained to elaborate a written input, which might be recognized by them as 'meaningful', thanks to noticing and attention management tasks, and to production tasks, which have a relevant influence on the re-organization of forms and meaning. In other words, this action-research aimed at verifying how written performance in ab initio students was activated by the Task Based Approach and reflected the integration of language and content through the acquisition of written skills in Italian. The method of the three year study (2002-05) can be described as a qualitative approach in any stage: pre-actional, i.e. selection of literary texts and of appropriate tasks actional, i.e. organization of texts and tasks into modules and collection of data post-actional, i.e. systematic analysis of students' productions and feedbacks. In order to carry out this action-research, a course was devised and was called Text and Task Course (TTC), in which literary texts were the starting point and the model necessary to process language through specific tasks. So linguistically easy literary extracts of about 300 words each have been selected to represent different written text types such as letters and dialogues, poems and ballads, narratives and descriptions, each of them dealing with topics familiar to the learners. Each text was accompanied and enhanced by pre-, while- and production tasks. Production tasks in particular favoured the re-elaboration of texts and combined representational structures with controlled attention. Measures for the assessment of written production during TTC were: Holistic Rating, which included fluency and creativity Accuracy Ratios, which included intelligibility index and error index Complexity Ratios, which included dependent and coordinate clauses per t-units ratio and re-elaboration of a model or text type. Each of these parameters have been analytically described and applied. In the light of these considerations, it seems consistent to claim that the positive results in written production, after a relatively short time of instruction, were influenced by the training Texts and Tasks learners (TTL) received in the TTC and their interlanguage development was favoured by the constant re-elaboration of written input. In conclusion, the initial hypotheses were confirmed and the Text and Task approach, under given circumstances, was validated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available