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The Impact of Using Task-based Writing on EFL Learners’ Writing Performance and Creativity

Authors:
  • Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran

Abstract and Figures

This study investigated the impact of task-based writing on EFL learners' writing performance and creativity. For this purpose, 56 female intermediate Iranian EFL learners were chosen from a total number of 89 through their performance on a sample piloted PET. Based on the result, the students were randomly assigned to one control and one experimental group with 28 participants in each. Prior to the treatment, students took part in a writing test (part of PET) and the Abedi-Schumacher Creativity Test (ACT) as pretests. Both groups underwent the same amount of teaching and the same writing topics during 18 sessions of treatment. The only difference was that the experimental group was engaged in doing task-based writing activities while the control group was not asked to do any kind of tasks. At the end of the treatment, a writing test (another PET) and the ACT were administered to both groups. The results of the statistical analysis demonstrated that learners benefited significantly from task-based writing in terms of both their writing and creativity.
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The Impact of Using Task-based Writing on EFL
Learners’ Writing Performance and Creativity
Hamid Marashi
Islamic Azad University at Central Tehran, Iran
Email: ahmuya@yahoo.com
Lida Dadari
Islamic Azad University at Central Tehran, Iran
Email: lidadadari@yahoo.com
AbstractThis study investigated the impact of task-based writing on EFL learners writing performance and
creativity. For this purpose, 56 female intermediate Iranian EFL learners were chosen from a total number of
89 through their performance on a sample piloted PET. Based on the result, the students were randomly
assigned to one control and one experimental group with 28 participants in each. Prior to the treatment,
students took part in a writing test (part of PET) and the Abedi-Schumacher Creativity Test (ACT) as pretests.
Both groups underwent the same amount of teaching and the same writing topics during 18 sessions of
treatment. The only difference was that the experimental group was engaged in doing task-based writing
activities while the control group was not asked to do any kind of tasks. At the end of the treatment, a writing
test (another PET) and the ACT were administered to both groups. The results of the statistical analysis
demonstrated that learners benefited significantly from task-based writing in terms of both their writing and
creativity.
Index Termswriting, creativity, task-based writing
I. INTRODUCTION
Writing today has become very important in the daily lives of much of the world’s population and speakers of
globally dominant languages are surrounded by written materials. Writing is an important and, at the same time,
demanding activity, particularly in a foreign language context in which learners are exposed to language just for few
hours a week (Kim & Kim, 2005).
Despite this importance, writing has received less attention in English language teaching; in the words of Richards
(1990), “The nature and significance of writing have traditionally been underestimated in language teaching(p. 106)
while writing activities provide learners with the “opportunity to witness their own advancements, reconsider the final
draft, and make essential editions throughout the writing process” (Moor as cited in Tilfarlioglu & Basaran, 2007, p.
141).
Task-Based Writing
The recent years have seen a growing interest in task-based language teaching (TBLT), and the role of tasks in
second or foreign language acquisition. TBLT, a methodology that is widely used in language learning (Ellis, 2003;
Willis & Willis, 2007), is believed to be known as an approach which enjoys the potential to make up for the
inadequacies of communicative language teaching (CLT) and can be considered as “a logical development of it”
(Richards & Rodgers, 2001, p. 223). Techniques, principles, and process- or product-based applications of TBLT and
their contribution to foreign language learning and acquisition have been among the most debated topics in the field of
foreign language teaching since the early 1990s (Klapper, 2003; McDonough, 1995; Szymanski, 2002).
Task-based writing instruction within the larger framework of TBLT makes learners involved in active mutual work
on tasks that are reasonable for them and related to their real life experience (Kawachi, 2003; Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Concerning writing task features, researchers have argued over some characteristics of tasks such as the amount of
time available to learners (Chaudron, 1985), whether the task is completed individually or collaboratively (Oxford,
1997), whether the task is reciprocal or nonreciprocal (Ellis, 1991), and concluded that all these factors affect the
process of learning how to write.
There exist different types of tasks to foster the writing performance of the learners. Yet despite their diversity, task-
based writing activities “are done with the purpose of producing something, reaching a conclusion, or creating a whole
picture of something within a preset framework” (Tilfarlioglu & Basaran, 2007, p. 135).
Creativity
The field of creativity as it is known today has been developed basically thanks to the outstanding attempts made by
Guilford and Torrance (as cited in Sternberg, 2009). In the modern world, creativity is fundamentally important in all
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Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 2, No. 12, pp. 2500-2507, December 2012
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aspects of life and since creativity is complex in nature, different viewpoints have been put forward to explain the
concept emphasizing different aspects of it (Sarsani, 2006).
As stated by Lubart (1999), creativity is generally characterized as the ability to create new and original products
which are considered as appropriate for the features and limitations of a given task, where products can refer to a variety
of ideas, viewpoints, and innovations. “These products must be original as they should not be just a mere copy of what
already exists” (Lubart & Guignard, 2004, p. 43). Accordingly, humans are all born with a huge potential for creativity
and learning in varying degrees and creativity can be nurtured “at all ages and in all fields of human endeavor” (Sarsani,
2005, p. 47). To this end, developing creativity at all levels in the education system is increasingly recognized as being
critical in improving educational attainment and life skills (Agarwal, 1992); second/foreign language teaching of course
is one such educational attainment and arguably a life skill. Hence, in the words of Carter (2004), “Discussions of
creativity in relation to language teaching and learning have been extensive and continue to be a very major point of
application of a wide range of theories of creativity” (p. 213).
Writing tasks also require creative thinking skills as they involve some operations, and a wide range of information is
contained in the final product (Kellogg, 1994; Rao & Prasad, 2009). Since imagination and creative thinking are central
concepts of creative writing, students need be encouraged to develop these processes in their writing task (Bernholz,
Cappleman, & Sumner, 1992; Neira, 2008).
In the actual context of classrooms, learners encounter various types of writing tasks while they consider these tasks
“as an unwelcome chore bereft of any creative element” (Parameswaram, 2007, p. 172). In all actuality, “Creativity is
an inherent aspect of all pedagogical tasks” (Mishan, 2005, p. 83) and it is of utmost importance for task-based classes
to have a favorable, and helpful environment which encourage learners to be more creative (Errey & Schollaert, 2003).
Through the use of tasks, learners are supplied with an environment in which they can practice and learn English, and
improve their creative capacity and critical thinking skills (Lee, 2004). Of course, “Developing creativity in writing is
not a fanciful extra in learning to write, but is central to creating writers” (Grainger, Goouch, & Lambirth, 2005, p. 13).
Having said the above and with respect to the fact that research demonstrates that L2 writers frequently come up with
texts that are not qualified (Silva, 1993; van den Bergh, Rijlaarsdam, & Sanders, 2005), the researchers in this study
sought to investigate the impact of using task-based writing on EFL learners’ writing performance and their creativity.
Accordingly, the following null hypotheses were formulated:
H01: Using task-based writing has no significant impact on EFL learners’ writing performance.
H02: Using task-based writing has no significant impact on EFL learners’ creativity.
II. METHOD
A. Participants
The participants of this study were 56 female intermediate EFL learners with the age range of 13-18 in one of
Tehran’s private language schools. They were selected from 89 students based on their performance on a piloted sample
PET (those whose scores fell between one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected). Then, they
were randomly divided into one control and one experimental group with 28 students in the two groups each. To make
sure that the participants in the two groups bore no significant difference in terms of their writing prior to the treatment,
the researchers administered a writing test to both groups.
In addition, as this study entailed scoring of writing papers, two raters who both enjoyed a significant inter-rater
reliability (r = 0.77 at the 0.01 level of significance) were used for the scoring.
B. Instrumentations
General Language Proficiency Test (PET)
Prior to the beginning of the course, a piloted sample PET with the reliability of 0.87 was administered to
homogenize the participants of this study in terms of their general proficiency and writing.
Creativity Test Used As a Pretest and a Posttest
After selecting the participants of the study, a creativity test was given to them to measure their creativity before
receiving the treatment. This test is designed by O’Neil, Abedi, and Spielberger and called the Abedi-Schumacher
Creativity Test or the ACT (as cited in Cropley, 2001). The ACT consists of 60 multiple-choice items used for
establishing the scores of the four traits underlying creative thinking and is thus divided into the four subscales of
fluency (22 items), flexibility (11 items), originality (16 items), and elaboration (11 items). Each item has three options
ranging from least to most creative responses with a range of scores between 0-2. Therefore, the ultimate score is
estimated in a range between 0-120, and participants are supposed to answer the items in 60 minutes.
The estimated reliability of each of the subscales of the ACT has been reported to be between 0.61 to 0.75 which
demonstrates that the test is also reliable (Auzmendi, Villa, & Abedi, 1996).
Writing Posttest
The other posttest used in this study was another version of the PET test writing paper part 2 and 3. The PET General
Mark Schemes for Writing provided by Cambridge was used in this study for the purpose of rating the participants’
performance on both writing tests.
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C. Materials
Main Course Book for Both Groups
The third and fourth units of the course book Top Notch 3A by Saslow and Ascher (2006) were used as the main
instruction material in both groups. The purpose of this book is to integrate the four language skills along with
vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. It is aimed to provide learners with authentic and practical language and
enable them to interact confidently and successfully.
Touchstone 3
The researchers also used Touchstone 3 by McCarthy, McCarten, and Sandiford (2006). This course book is designed
for intermediate purposes and consists of 12 units each containing four lessons (A, B, C, and D). The writing tasks of
this book are provided in lesson D of each unit with their focus mostly directed toward paragraph writing which made
them appropriate for the purpose of this study.
D. Procedure
Following the participant selection process (described above) and with the commencement of the treatment, the
learners in both groups were exposed to the same course book for 18 sessions each lasting 90 minutes. In the control
group, the teacher (one of the researchers) introduced six writing topics which were exactly the same as the topics used
in the experimental group. Each writing session started with 15-20 minutes of brainstorming or guided questions and
answers in both groups. The only difference was that the learners in the control group were not asked to do any kind of
tasks. The six writing topics used in both groups were under these headings:
The Chance of Living the Last Year Over Again
A Review of an Interesting Movie, Book, etc.
A Family Memory from Your Childhood
Your Best Friend
Possible Ways of Recycling Unwanted Objects
An Exciting Experience You’ve Had.
In the control group, each topic was dealt with in three phases: warm-up, main activity, and follow-up. The first two
phases taking 60 minutes of a session began with presenting the topic by the teacher, followed by brainstorming or
guided questions and answers. Afterwards, students were asked to write whatever came to their mind as their first draft.
After finishing their writings, they were asked to revise and redraft them.
The last phase, follow-up, was postponed to the next session and lasted for 30 minutes. Students were asked to bring
their writings to the class. Then, they randomly came to the front of the class and read their writings. This phase
culminated in a class discussion over the writings read in that specific session and the ideas proposed by the writers.
In the experimental group, however, a task-based framework was adopted with each task having three phases: pre-
task, during task, and post-task. The time allocated to each phase was exactly the same as the control group, meaning
that pre-task and during task phases occurred in one session for 60 minutes and the post-task was postponed to the next
session and took 30 minutes.
A brief summary of each topic used for the treatment in the experimental group is presented hereunder. Once the first
topic was introduced, a guided Q&A followed. Then, the students were divided into pairs to talk about their own wishes.
Subsequently, they were provided with a reading model and were asked to start their writings and complete them in
class. As a post-task, students were divided into pairs and the writings were exchanged among them. Each student in a
pair read her partner’s work to provide her with necessary feedback and make a comparison between her own and her
partner’s ideas. Then, each pair discussed over the differences and the reason of the given feedbacks.
For the second topic, some picture prompts were used to initiate a guided Q&A followed by a reading prompt
provided as a model. Then in pairs, the learners talked about their experiences to come up with ideas needed for their
writing. Subsequently, each student wrote a paragraph on her own experience in class. As a post-task, learners were
placed in pairs and their writings were swapped between them. Each student in a pair had to read her partner’s writing
and provide her with feedback and underline anything that did not make sense to her. Then, the writings were swapped
back to discuss the given feedbacks and the ideas they had on each other’s experience.
The third topic was introduced with a focus on three picture prompts of some unwanted clothes, games, toys, and
magazines. The presentation of the prompts continued by brainstorming and listening to an audio CD in which three
people talk about the objects in the pictures and what they can do with them. Subsequently, the students were provided
with a model Q&A to read and were next divided into pairs and started to write a question on a clutter problem. After
writing the questions, they swapped their writings between the partners and then they were assigned to write a
paragraph in response to their partners’ question as homework. As a post-task, the pairs got back together and re-
swapped their writings. Each student read the answer to her problem and, ultimately, they went through a discussion to
express their ideas on each others’ solutions and anything that could be added or altered to make them more acceptable.
The fourth topic was presented and followed by a guided Q&A. The students were thence divided into pairs to talk
about their friends and a reading model was given to each pair. After reading the model, they were asked to write a
paragraph on the given topic in class. As a post-task, the learners were placed in pairs and exchanged their writings with
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a partner to read and provide suggestions that they believed would make the writing more appealing. Afterwards, the
suggestions were discussed between the partners in each pair.
The fifth and penultimate topic prompted the students to focus on three picture prompts and express their ideas about
them. After brainstorming, an audio CD was played and the students were supposed to listen to come up with a general
understanding about it. Next, they discussed their own family memories in pairs, and received a model to help them
with the writing. They were supposed to initiate their writing in class and complete it as homework. As a post-task,
students were divided into pairs and swapped their writings to read and underline anything that needed to be made
clearer or omitted, and discussed whether they agreed with the changes or not.
For the last topic, first, a picture prompt was used accompanied by a guided Q&A. An audio CD, in which someone
read a review of a circus was played and the students completed a checklist given to them in advance. Afterwards, they
were divided into pairs to talk about a show, movie, or book they had enjoyed. At the next stage, they were provided
with a reading model to help them in writing their paragraphs. The writings were initiated in class and completed at
home. As a post-task, the students were divided into groups and swapped their writings to read each others’ works and
provide their group with a summary of the writing they had read.
Note has to be taken that the whole procedure for the post-task phase was done under the supervision of the teacher.
She monitored the pairs or groups and provided them with necessary comments while they were discussing the given
feedbacks or ideas. As mentioned earlier, the nature of the peer comments was of two types: one with a focus on the
ideas developed in each writing, which was explained in detail for each task, and the other, under the heading of
feedback, which was used in some tasks with a focus directed toward punctuation, grammar, and spelling based on the
points they had learned up to then. Since the purpose of this study was to develop the writing capacity and creativity of
the learners, the focus of most of the tasks was on the first type of comments.
It is also worth noting that at the end of each writing in both groups, the teacher randomly called the name of some of
the students and collected their writings to provide them with her comments while her focus was mostly directed toward
the development of the ideas, cohesion, and compositional organization. For the next session, she gave a score to each
paper and gave them back to the students.
After the instruction period for both groups, the two posttests of writing and creativity were administered.
III. RESULTS
All the data analysis procedures and results are presented and discussed in the chronological order of participant
selection, pretest and posttest administration, and testing the hypotheses.
Participant Selection
Following the piloting of a sample PET which showed an acceptable reliability of 0.87, the test was administered for
participant selection. Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics of this administration with the mean being 34.30 and the
standard deviation 6.44, respectively.
TABLE 1
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE PET ADMINISTRATION
N
Maximum
Mean
Std. Deviation
PET Administration
89
50.5
34.30
6.435
Valid N (listwise)
89
Following this administration, the 56 learners whose scores fell between one standard deviation above and below the
mean were selected and thence, randomly divided into one control and one experimental group with 28 students in each
of the two groups. As discussed earlier, the second and third parts of the PET writing paper were given to the above
selected 56 participants in the two groups.
To make sure that the two groups manifested no significant difference at the outset in terms of their writing, i.e. one
of the dependent variables of this study, the means of both groups on this writing test had to be statistically compared.
Table 2 below displays the descriptive statistics of the scores of the two groups at this stage.
TABLE 2
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE TWO GROUPS ON THE WR ITING PRETEST
N
Minimum
Maximum
Mean
Std. Deviation
Skewness
Statistic
Std. Error
Exp.
28
5.0
18.0
12.214
4.0812
-.502
.441
Cont.
28
4.0
18.0
12.054
3.8833
-.575
.441
Valid N (listwise)
56
Table 2 shows that there was only a negligible difference in the mean scores of the writing test of both groups at the
outset (12.21 and 12.05); yet, a statistical comparison was required to make sure that the difference albeit marginal
was not significant. As Table 3 below indicates, with the F value of 0.128 at the significance level of 0.722 being larger
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than 0.05, the variances between the two groups were not significantly different. Therefore, the results of the t-test with
the assumption of homogeneity of the variances were reported here. The results (t = 0.151, p = 0.881 > 0.05) indicate
that there was no significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups on their writing at the outset;
consequently, any probable differences at the end of the treatment could be attributed to the effect of the treatment.
TABLE 3
INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TEST OF THE MEAN SCORES OF BOTH GROUPS ON THEIR WRITING PRIOR TO THE TREATMENT
Levene's Test for
Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
95% Confidence Interval of
the Difference
F
Sig.
t
Df
Sig. (2-
tailed)
Mean
Difference
Std. Error
Difference
Lower
Upper
Equal variances
assumed
.128
.722
.151
54
.881
.1607
1.0646
-1.973
2.295
Equal variances
not assumed
.151
53.86
.881
.1607
1.0646
-1.973
2.295
As discussed earlier, in order to verify the second hypothesis of this study, the ACT test of creativity was run after
the writing test and prior to the treatment in order to compare the creativity standing of the learners before and after the
treatment. Table 4 below displays the descriptive statistics of this administration in the two groups. As is seen, the mean
and standard deviation of the experimental group stood at 72.14 and 12.47, respectively, while those of the control
group were 69.79 and 15.41, respectively.
TABLE 4
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE TWO GROUPS ON THE CREATIVITY PRETEST
N
Minimum
Maximum
Mean
Std. Deviation
Skewness
Statistic
Std. Error
Exp.
28
46
95
72.14
12.477
-.322
.441
Cont.
28
42
101
69.79
15.411
.155
.441
Valid N (listwise)
56
Furthermore, the reliability of the creativity pretest was estimated to be 0.71 using the Cronbach Alpha.
Testing the Hypotheses
Following the participant selection procedure and the pretests, the treatment was conducted and the writing and
creativity posttests were administered in order to check each of the two hypotheses raised in this study.
Testing the First Null Hypothesis
In order to test the first hypothesis, that is to check any significant difference in the writing of the two groups after
the treatment, an independent samples t-test was run on the mean scores of the writing posttest.
Firstly, the descriptive statistics of the two groups’ scores are presented in Table 5. As is evident, the mean and the
standard deviation of the scores of the experimental group were 15.37 and 3.51, respectively. In the control group,
however, the above two indices were 12.95 and 3.47, respectively.
TABLE 5
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE TWO GROUPS ON THE WR ITING POSTTEST
N
Minimum
Maximum
Mean
Std. Deviation
Skewness
Statistic
Std. Error
Exp.
28
7.5
20.0
15.375
3.5109
-.582
.441
Cont.
28
6.0
19.0
12.946
3.4677
-.336
.441
Valid N (listwise)
56
As Table 6 below indicates, with the F value of 0.012 at the significance level of 0.914 being larger than 0.05, the
variances between the two groups were not significantly different. Therefore, the results of the t-test with the
assumption of homogeneity of the variances were reported here. The results (t = 2.604, p = 0.012 < 0.05) indicate that
there was indeed a significant difference between the mean scores of the two groups on their writing following the
treatment; consequently, the first null hypothesis of the study stating that using task-based writing has no significant
impact on EFL learners’ writing performance was rejected with the task-based writing group outperforming the control
group significantly in their writing.
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TABLE 6
INDEPENDENT SAMPLES T-TEST OF THE MEAN SCORES OF BOTH GROUPS ON THEIR WRITING POSTTEST
Levene's Test for
Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
95% Confidence Interval of
the Difference
F
Sig.
t
Df
Sig. (2-
tailed)
Mean
Difference
Std. Error
Difference
Lower
Upper
Equal variances
assumed
.012
.914
2.604
54
.012
2.4286
.9326
.558
4.298
Equal variances
not assumed
2.604
53.9
.012
2.4286
.9326
.558
4.298
Following the rejection of the first null hypothesis, the researchers were interested to know how much of the obtained
difference could be explained by the variation in the two levels of the independent variable. Accordingly, effect size
was also estimated to be 0.33 which according to Cohen (1988, p. 22), is considered a moderate effect size. Therefore,
the above result could be considered moderately strong enough for the purpose of generalization.
Testing the Second Null Hypothesis
In order to test the second hypothesis, that is to check any significant difference in the creativity of the two groups
after the treatment, an ANCOVA was run on both groups’ scores of the creativity pre- an posttests. Firstly, the
descriptive statistics of the two groups’ scores on these two tests are presented in Table 7.
TABLE 7
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS OF THE TWO GROUPS ON THE CREATIVITY PRE- AND POSTTESTS
N
Minimum
Maximum
Mean
Std. Deviation
Skewness
Statistic
Std. error
Pre Exp.
28
46
95
72.14
12.477
-.322
.441
Pre Cont.
28
42
101
69.79
15.411
.155
.441
Post Exp.
28
48
99
75.82
13.606
-.356
.441
Post Cont.
28
43
99
72.57
15.223
-.147
.441
Valid (listwise)
28
The Levene’s test for homogeneity of variance was also run as a prerequisite for the ANCOVA and the variances
were not significantly different (F(1,54) = 1.499, p = 0.226 > 0.05).
With the above assumptions in place, running an ANVOVA was legitimized. According to Table 8 below, the
creativity pretest scores (the covariate in the model) came out to be significant (F = 713.37, p = 0.0005 < 0.05) thus
demonstrating that prior to the treatment, there was a significant difference between the two groups in terms of
creativity. With the eta squared of 0.931, the pretest covariate accounted for 93% of the overall variance. Despite the
difference prior to the treatment, the effect of the treatment indeed turned out to be statistically significant (F = 0.781, p
= 0.02 < 0.05). Hence, the second null hypothesis of the study which stated that using task-based writing had no
significant impact on EFL learners’ creativity was also rejected with those receiving the treatment outperforming
significantly those in the control group.
TABLE 8
TESTS OF BETWEEN-SUBJECTS EFFECTS
Source
Type III Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
Sig.
Partial Eta
Squared
Noncent.
Parameter
Observed
Powerb
Corrected Model
10624.479a
2
5312.240
361.72
.000
.932
723.441
1.000
Intercept
27.814
1
27.814
1.894
.017
.035
1.894
.272
Creativity Pretest
10476.604
1
10476.604
713.37
.000
.931
713.372
1.000
Group*
11.469
1
11.469
.781
.02
.165
.781
.140
Error
778.360
53
14.686
Total
319689.00
56
Corrected Total
11402.839
55
According to Table 8, the partial eta squared value for the group factor was 0.165 which according to Cohen (1988)
is a large effect size meaning that 16% of the variance was explained in this study. Furthermore, there was a strong
relationship between the pre- and post-intervention scores on the creativity test as indicated by the R squared of 0.932.
IV. DISCUSSION
There have been various studies conducted in recent years pointing to the positive impact of TBLT on the writing
ability of learners (Latchem, Latchem, & Jung, 2010; Pourdana, Karimi Behbahani, & Safdari, 2011). Latchem et al.
(2010) also concluded that the task-based approach while using multimedia enhanced learners’ creativity. The findings
of this research of course corroborated the findings of such studies.
As stated by some researchers (e.g. Malone, 2003; Soliman, 2005), there exist certain barriers to creativity which
inhibit creative ideas to come into existence. In this study, peer feedback which according to Chandler (2003)
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minimizes those barriers through the reinforcement of cooperative learning was encouraged. Peer feedback was thus a
crucial element in the task-based writing group bearing an impact on the environmental barriers to creativity and
culminating in more active involvement of the learners in the learning process.
At the same time, peer feedback provided the learners with a less threatening environment free of the tension of
being evaluated and scored by the teacher. This granted them the chance of overcoming their psychological barriers to
creativity which are classified by Soliman (2005) as the most influential factors that block creativity.
Throughout this study, learners also benefited from reading models, picture prompts, audio CDs, and discussions
over the writing topics before and after the writing; these tasks provided them with an adequate amount of input which
helped them in practice to gain the capacity required to express their ideas more fluently and accurately in writing and
overcome their expressive blocks to creativity.
As noted by Carless (2009), TBLT brings about more successful language learning on the part of the learners by
actively involving them in doing tasks which indeed result in their higher levels of motivation. Throughout the course of
this study, the researchers clearly observed that employing different tasks, following task cycles, making use of
cooperative learning, and different kinds of feedback provide the learners in the experimental group with an
environment in which they were really interested in what they were writing. According to Grainger et al. (2005), such
an environment is characteristically conducive towards the creative writing context which has the potential of
institutionalizing liveliness, communication, and energy in class and can, together with certain other factors, result in
the enhancement of both the creativity and writing capacity of learners.
V. CONCLUSION
When it comes to writing, teachers may encounter certain problems on the part of the learners such as lack of
participation and motivation. Quite a number of students do not know how to initiate their writing since they have not
been provided with enough input to help them generate new ideas and enough motives to actively take part in the
learning process. As is clear from the findings of this study, it is very important for writing teachers to utilize different
types of tasks, provide learners with adequate amount of input, actively involve them in the class procedures, and
encourage them to be more creative in their writing and write their first draft freely without any concern for formal
linguistic features.
Alongside teachers, syllabus designers and material developers may want to consider tasks as the building blocks for
classroom teaching and for designing instructional activities. Some books can be designed with their focus specifically
directed toward different types of writing tasks with their teachers’ guide which help teachers in the application of those
books. In this way, teachers are provided with a rich source from which they can pick out some tasks according to the
interests of their learners and the immediate context of their teaching. It is also important to pay more attention to
learners creativity in the educational system and design course books with more emphasis on promoting this attribute
in learners.
Following the findings of this research, a number of recommendations can be discussed for further investigation
among which, the researchers wish to emphasize the following:
1. The same research can be run with a focus on other individual variables like motivation, introversion/extroversion,
and learning styles.
2. The focus of this study was on the overall writing performance of learners, while it is possible to see the effect of
using task-based writing on a specific writing mode like narrative writing and its potential impact on creativity.
3. It is possible to replicate this study with other age groups such as children or adults and see whether the result
would perhaps be different.
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Hamid Marashi is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Islamic Azad University at Central Tehran and Executive Manager
of the Journal of English Language Studies (JELS). He currently teaches the graduate courses of seminar in TEFL issues, discourse
analysis, and teaching language skills and his main areas of research interest include cooperative learning, collaborative teaching,
critical thinking, and TBLT. He has published in national and international academic journals and presented in international
conferences.
Lida Dadari holds an MA in TEFL from Islamic Azad University at Central Tehran and is an English teacher at a number of
language schools in Tehran. Her main area of research interest is using innovative techniques in ELT.
THEORY AND PRACTICE IN LANGUAGE STUDIES
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© 2012 ACADEMY PUBLISHER
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