The effects of task types on L2 oral production and learner engagement

Xuyan Qiu, Hong Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


In task-based language teaching, various types of tasks are developed from different scenarios in daily communication. Different kinds of tasks encourage oral production of different generic features and can impose different degrees of information-processing pressure on second language (L2) learners. Therefore, the functions and nature of task types are worth considering when designing tasks. Although the effects of task types on L2 oral output have been explored in the current literature, L2 learners’ engagement in different types of tasks is relatively under-explored. Since engaging L2 learners in task performance can facilitate L2 learning, it is important for us to attend to learner engagement in task-based research. This study investigated the effects of two types of tasks, opinion-exchange tasks and storytelling tasks, on the oral performance of 20 English as a foreign language learners in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency and their engagement in L2 use. They performed two opinion-exchange tasks and two storytelling tasks. The analysis of their oral discourse revealed that the learners spent longer time, had more turn-taking, and more frequently negotiated language-related issues when co-constructing stories than in opinion-exchange tasks. The results reinforce the importance of considering task types in teaching L2 speaking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2021


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