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Investigating task difficulty: learners’ and teachers’ perceptions

Tavakoli, P. (2009) Investigating task difficulty: learners’ and teachers’ perceptions. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19 (1). pp. 1-25. ISSN 1473-4192

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/j.1473-4192.2009.00216.x


This paper presents an investigation into learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of and criteria for task difficulty. Ten second language learners performed four oral narrative tasks and were retrospectively interviewed about which tasks they perceived as difficult, what factors affected this difficulty and how they identified and defined this task difficulty. Ten EFL/ESOL teachers were given the same tasks and asked to consider the difficulty of the tasks for their learners, and were invited to discuss the factors they believed contributed to this difficulty. Qualitative analysis of the data revealed that, although there were some differences between the two groups’ perceptions of task difficulty, there was substantial similarity between them in terms of the criteria they considered in identifying and defining task difficulty. The findings of this study lend support to the tenets of a cognitive approach to task-based language learning, and demonstrate which aspects of two models of task difficulty reflect the teachers’ and learners’ perceptions and perspectives.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:31024

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