Manual Case-Based Planning. Viewing Planning as a Memory Task

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The oral task used was a 'there-and-then' picture cued narrative Robinson, Narrative tasks have been widely used in previous studies on task-based planning Ellis, ; Kawauchi, ; Ortega, , thus, allowing for comparison between the present study and previous ones in the field. Participants were instructed to look at the set of pictures for 50 seconds. Then, the picture was removed and they had 10 minutes to plan their oral performance.

1st Edition

These procedures followed Mehnert After every one minute of planning they were prompted with the question: 'What were you just thinking about? The ten-minute planning time was counted with the aid of a chronometer which was stopped during the verbalization so that participants could have ten minutes of actual planning. Also, the instances of verbalization were made the shortest possible so that they would not take participants away from the planning task itself. Basically, I asked the question and accepted whatever answer they gave me and instructed them to go on planning.

In general, each verbalization was no longer than 30 seconds including my question and the answer. The excerpt below illustrates a segment of the retrospective on-line protocol of participant P: about how could I use the grammar the right way Participants took a training session on these procedures and only started the verbal protocol itself when they had no doubts. After the retrospective on-line protocols, participants performed the narrative task. After performance of the task, 7 an interview was also carried out for the purpose of complementing the retrospective on-line protocols.

The interview contained questions concerning perceptions of the task under planning conditions and learners' processes during planning.

This combination of protocols is suggested by Leow and Morgan-Short The analysis of the protocols consisted of three phases. I counted on the assistance of two interraters to help in the qualitative analysis. Both interraters were experienced researchers in the field of learning strategies. For the first phase I had assistance from the first interrater. First, we carried out an individual analysis in order to classify learners' protocols in strategies using the framework by O' Malley and Chamot Second, we got together in order to compare our findings concerning our strategy classification.

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Whenever there was disagreement between our classifications, we discussed the samples in order to reach consensus. At the end of the discussion, there were still a few instances of the protocols in which we could not reach consensus. Then, we contacted the second interrater in order to reach final consensus. After the qualitative analysis, protocol data were submitted to statistical treatment. First, I counted the types of strategies employed by each participant. The counting was based on the different types of strategies reported by learners.

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When learners mentioned the same strategy for the same problem twice or more, only one instance of the strategy was counted. Following Conway et al. According to Conway et al. Extreme-group designs are common in the working memory literature, and they may be useful in the attempt to scrutinize differences between lower and higher spans individuals Conway et al.

The most common type of extreme-group design is based on quartiles; however, tertiles can also be used when data samples are small Conway et al. Of the twenty-five participants, eight were classified as lower spans, and eight were classified as higher spans. The remaining nine participants were classified as intermediate spans and were not included in the analysis which focused specifically on comparing the strategies employed by lower and higher spans. Finally, an independent t-test 9 was performed to verify whether there were any statistically significant differences in the strategies employed by lower and higher spans during planning.

In the attempt to scrutinize the processes learners engage during planning, in this section, I will report the results of the analysis of the protocols conducted. First, I will present the strategies reported by learners and provide illustrations of these strategies with examples from the protocols. Second, I will present the raw and percentage of learners reporting each strategy.

Third, I will report the results of the descriptive statistics in order to give an overall view of strategy types reported by speakers.

Finally, I will present the results of the t-tests computed in order to compare strategies used by lower and higher spans. Table 1 provides examples of each strategy present in learners' protocols, and Table 2 displays the raw number and percentage of learners reporting the strategy types documented in the on-line protocols during pre-task planning and in the interviews after task performance.

Although the analysis of individual differences was based on the differences between higher and lower spans, Table 2 also shows intermediate spans in order to give an overall picture of the whole group. From Table 3 on, only higher and lower spans will be shown in the analysis. In addition, it can be seen that more learners in the high span memory group reported using these most frequent strategies than did learners in the lower span memory group. Out of the learners who reported using organizational planning, six were higher spans and four were lower spans.

This pattern was even more evident in monitoring with seven higher spans and only four lower spans reporting this strategy. The differences were identical for elaboration and rehearsal, with four higher spans and two lower spans reporting the use of these strategies. In order to examine whether there are statistically significant differences between higher and lower spans as regards the strategies reported, an independent t-test was performed. The focus was on examining differences between the number of metacognitive and cognitive strategies as well as differences in the total number of strategies cognitive and metacognitive all together employed by learners.

Table 3 displays the descriptive statistics of strategies reported by lower and higher spans and Table 4 displays the results of the independent t-test. Table 3. As can be seen in Table 3 , the means of strategies reported all strategies, metacognitive and cognitive favor higher spans when compared to lower spans.

As shown in Table 4 , some of these differences achieved statistical significance. Learners engaged mainly in lexical search, organizational planning, monitoring, rehearsal and elaboration during pre-task planning;. Higher span individuals employed significantly more metacognitive strategies than lower spans during pre-task planning. However, in Ortega's study, translation and empathizing with the listener were also frequently reported by learners.

As regards empathizing with the listener, participants of the present study did not have a listener present while they performed their planned narratives. I was present during planning time to carry out the retrospective on-line documentation of what they were planning. Nevertheless, I left the room after planning was over so that they would be comfortable to tell their narratives. This may explain why there were no instances in which learners verbalized any concern with the listener.

Concerning translation, it was frequently reported in Ortega's study but only two learners of the present study reported this strategy. It is important to highlight that in Ortega's study, learners were given pictures and also listened to a recorded version of the stories in their L1 before retelling.

This may have biased learners to rely more on translation during retelling Ortega, Learners of the present study were asked to tell stories based on pictures only. Apart from translation and empathizing with the learners, strategies most frequently used in the present study corroborate Ortega's findings and point at the emphasis on retrieval and rehearsal operations during pre-task planning. The protocols revealed that learners try to have a general organization of ideas before they actually think of the specific formal aspects of the language they are going to use.

At the beginning of planning, they often referred to the pictures, focused on what happened in the stories as if they were trying to decide on the content of their narratives. Such mental operations seem to rely upon the conceptualizer in which the message content is planned Levelt, The following excerpts illustrate these instances.

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As these excerpts show, learners seem to focus on the general organization of their stories, and try to set their communicative goals before they actually concentrate on more specific aspects of language. First, learners seem to have an overall organization of ideas by focusing on the content of their stories. As learners move on to more specific aspects of language, the strategy most frequently reported was lexical search.

All learners reported a concern with finding proper lexical items to use in their stories.

Case-Based Planning - 1st Edition

This ubiquitous focus on words is in line with the claim that speech production is lexically driven; that is, knowing words is the paramount condition for expressing ideas orally Levelt, Such lexical searches in which learners engaged draw upon formulation at the level of grammatical encoding, more specifically in lexical selection, which involves the identification of lexical concepts that are suitable for conveying the speaker's meaning Levelt, When searching for words, learners would either remember the words and include them in the planning of their narrative tasks, or notice a gap in their interlanguage Swain, and, consequently, avoid unknown words by changing the intended messages or keeping the messages but substituting words.

The following excerpts illustrate these instances:. As the first excerpt shows, the learner was able to retrieve the lexical items being searched, whereas in the subsequent excerpts learners were not able to find the lexical items being searched.