Chapter published in:Learning Language through Task Repetition
Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 27–41
Task repetition for language learning
A perspective from skill acquisition theory
This chapter looks at task repetition in second language learning from the point of view of skill acquisition theory and related areas of psychology. It explores not only what concepts like procedural and declarative knowledge, automatization, and transfer have to offer the applied linguist, but also summarizes the literature on distribution of practice, interleaving versus blocking, and similarity in repeated practice, drawing on both the psychological and the fledgling second language acquisition (SLA) literature. In general, the literature shows support for distributed practice, for interleaving, and for variety in practice. For all these points there are exceptions, however, in particular in the SLA literature. This chapter discusses some of the possible explanations for these differences, and ends with some recommendations for where to focus future research: how automatization may vary with the domain of language, how distribution of practice may depend on whether the knowledge practiced is declarative or procedural in nature, and how research can help find the ideal context for bringing about transfer from one task to the other.
Published online: 25 September 2018
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