Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 255–278
Chapter 10. Mediating input-based tasks for beginner learners through task repetition
A sociocultural perspective
This chapter examines task repetition from a sociocultural perspective. I will report a study examining how the dynamics of teacher-student interaction change when the same task is repeated over time. I draw on sociocultural theory by viewing task repetition as one way of dynamically mediating learners’ participation in an input-based task. The task was a listen-and-do task consisting of a simple procedure – the teacher’s commands followed by students’ action – with no requirement that the learners speak in the L2 (English). The same task was repeated nine times over five weeks. The participants were a group of six children, aged six, who had no L2 knowledge or experience of formal language learning. The lessons were audio- and video-recorded. The transcribed interactions and the video-data were analysed in detail to explore how the teacher’s scaffolding changed over time and how the students shifted from other-regulation to self-regulation. The analysis showed that the teacher employed two different approaches: mediating the task commands in the early lessons to assist the students’ comprehension and then pushing learners towards self-regulation in later lessons by reducing the level of support. The teacher’s actions led to co-construction and enabled the students to move from other-regulation to self-regulation in both comprehending key items in the input and voluntarily producing them. Overall, the study shows how the nature of ‘activity’ changed as the task-as-workplan was repeated over time.