Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 279–309
Chapter 11. Understanding benefits of repetition from a complex dynamic systems perspective
The case of a writing task
This classroom-based study explored the benefits of repeating a writing task over one year from the perspective of complex dynamic systems. The study specifically investigated how students’ use of self-regulation related to changes in L2 writing. Data were collected from 26 students in an EFL classroom at a university over 30 weeks. Students were engaged in a 10-minute timed-writing task on a chosen topic with immediate self-reflection every week. Students’ L2 compositions were analysed using fluency, syntactic and lexical measures, and their self-reflections written in L1 were analysed in terms of self-regulatory processes. The analysis of two focal students revealed that the first student showed more elaborate engagement and employed self-regulatory cycles of goal-setting and self-evaluation, which improved his L2 writing over time, while the second student with more limited engagement employed less elaborate self-regulatory processes, which reflected little change in his writing. Based on these cases, we contend that repeated encounters with tasks over extended periods create a valuable pedagogic environment, and within this context students’ agentic attitudes towards the L2 writing task are likely to influence their learning in significant ways.