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Thu, Feb 23



Task complexity and second language learner engagement in face-to-face and computer-mediated communication

Xuyan (Christy) Qiu, Department of English and Communication, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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Time & Location

Feb 23, 2023, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT+8


About the Event

Link to the Zoom meeting:

Meeting ID: 980 7966 3229

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) has been widely adopted in second language (L2) classrooms. Since its introduction, numerous studies have been conducted to investigate how task complexity or the cognitive demand of a task (Robinson, 2011) affects L2 learners’ speaking performance. The engagement of learners in different oral tasks, however, has been relatively under-explored (Lambert, 2017). L2 learners’ engagement, defined as their “heightened attention and involvement” (Philp & Duchesne, 2016, p. 51), is essential for successful language learning (Mercer, 2019). It is also context-specific and multifaceted (Philp & Duchesne, 2016). A deeper understanding of how L2 learners engage in different types of oral tasks and in different communication modes would shed light on L2 teaching and learning, particularly during the post COVID-19 pandemic period.

In this presentation, I will share with the audience research findings about Hong Kong English-as-a-second-language (ESL) learners’ engagement in task performance from a project funded by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (UGC/FDS16/H18/21). In this project, Hong Kong ESL learners performed interactive oral tasks of different complexity levels and types in face-to-face and computer-mediated communication modes. Their spoken discourse of tasks was analysed to explore their behavioural, cognitive, and social engagement. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the learners to capture their emotional engagement. The findings and pedagogical implications will be discussed.

Xuyan (Christy) Qiu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Communication at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her main research interests include second language teaching and learning, task-based language teaching, English for academic purposes, and English-medium instruction. Her publications have appeared in various international journals such as Computer Assisted Language Learning, Language Teaching Research, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, and System.

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