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Title: The focus-on-form effects of strategic and on-line planning : an analysis of Japanese oral performance and verbal reports
Author: Nitta, Ryo
ISNI:       0000 0001 3447 6224
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2007
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Within the framework of task-based language learning, there has been much research on planning, under the premise that learners' language would be enhanced in planned conditions. However, the underlying mechanisms ofthis rationale have not been fully explored. To develop the present understanding, this study aims to explore the nature of planning and the psycholinguistic mechanisms of its effects on L2 performance. Earlier planning research has tended to focus on 'strategic planning' (i.e., a period of time given prior to a task), suggesting that it may improve learners' language in terms of fluency and complexity but not always in accuracy (e.g., Crookes, 1989, Foster & Skehan, 1996). In response to this, Yuan and Ellis (2003) propose 'on-line planning' (i.e., on-line processing pressure is lessened to allow active formulation and monitoring) and show its positive effect on accuracy as well as complexity. Building on these previous studies, the purpose of this research is to investigate the different form-focused effects between strategic and on-line planning. The study takes a process-product approach to planning by using a quantitative analysis of oral performance and a qualitative analysis of post-task verbal reports, prompted by stimulated recall, under non-planning, strategic planning and on-line planning conditions. The analysis of the performance of twenty-seven Japanese learners of English (grouped as high vs. low proficiency levels) demonstrates the positive effects of strategic planning on complexity and those of on-line planning on complexity and accuracy. Most importantly, different planning effects on specific accuracy measures were observed between different proficiency groups - verb forms in the low-proficiency and articles in the high-proficiency group. To complement the results of the performance analysis, the examination of verbal reports presents participants' planning processes. To support the improvement in accuracy in on-line planning, the analysis reveals that pressured conditions (i.e., non-planning and strategic planning) made participants prioritize meaning over form; on the other hand, on-line planning tended to push them into more complex structures while maintaining certain attention to accuracy. Drawing on pedagogical considerations offocus-on-form instruction, this thesis argues that strategic planning and on-line planning have different degrees of form-focused effects. In particular, on-line planning, beyond a simple improvement of accuracy, would increase consciousness of form and bring L2 learners to deeper, syntactic processing. It is suggested that some kind of on-line planning would be useful for developing learners' abilities of syntactic formulation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Warwick Postgraduate Research Fellowship ; Universities UK ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; LB Theory and practice of education ; P Philology. Linguistics