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Linking task and writing for language development

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Abstract

This chapter explores the link between task and writing by taking an education-oriented view, in order to contribute to answering the question of how L2 writing development to advanced ability levels might best be fostered through genre-oriented TBLT instruction. A companion to the theoretical treatment of task and writing offered in Chapter 4, the chapter interprets language development as an increase in textual meaning-making through genre-based writing tasks. Within that approach it reshapes ‘complexity’ in terms of choices in textual meaning-making and proposes textually oriented parameters for operationalizing complexification. In addition, it suggests the construct of grammatical metaphor (GM) as theorized in systemic functional linguistics (SFL) as especially well-suited for delineating, fostering, and assessing critical aspects of language development. Reflecting this approach, the chapter presents evidence from a longitudinal study about how L2 writing development unfolded in a genre-based approach to task within a curricular context. The focal area of analysis and interpretation are formal aspects of GM, realized through nominalization, and their implications for a developing textual meaning-making ability. Aligning itself with recent scholarship that has called for the careful specification of educational contexts if research findings are to be relevant for language teaching and learning, the chapter concludes with reflections that affirm the potential for genre-based writing tasks to provide a suitably differentiated awareness of the nature of instructed language development within a well-specified curricular framework.

References

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