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Talk by Peter Robinson: Task Demands, Task Sequencing and Instructed Second Language Learning

Date: 15 March 2011 Time: 1:30-3:00 pm

Venue: Cavendish lecture theatre, Faraday

Task Demands, Task Sequencing and Instructed Second Language Learning

Peter Robinson, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo.

Educational decision-making in any domain of instruction is guided by proposals and operational principles for sequencing the units of instruction, so that learning can occur during individual periods of classroom activity, and be further promoted across sequences of activities. M.David Merrill puts the case well for sequencing the material to be learned, in any domain, in an order of increasing complexity: `Learning a single task leaves the learner with only one view of the task....A progression of tasks that are progressively more complex during training with the student performing more and more of the steps to task completion on their own enables them to tune their schema so that when confronted with yet a different or more complex task from the same family they are able to move forward toward task completion`. (2006, p 277). In this presentation I describe principles for sequencing tasks for second language learners which aim to promote successful target-task performance in the L2, and also promote L2 learning. The Cognition Hypothesis, and its associated SSARC model for task sequencing, which I will describe, predicts that along some dimensions of complexity, increases in task demands promote greater accuracy, and complexity of production, at the expense of fluency, which is promoted by performing simpler task versions. Complex tasks should also lead to greater uptake of premodified input, and uptake of implicit or explicit negative feedback than simpler counterpart tasks, and sequences of simple to complex tasks provide a structure for progressively `reminding` learners of previous learning episodes, thereby consolidating and strengthening memory for them. I illustrate some of the research being done into these claims of the Cognition Hypothesis drawing on data from Japanese L1 learners of L2 English.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Linguistics and English Language


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
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