Language Learners' Writing Task Representation and Its Effect on Written Performance in an EFL Context

J Psycholinguist Res. 2017 Jun;46(3):567-581. doi: 10.1007/s10936-016-9452-0.


The present study attempts to give an account of how students represent writing task in an EAP course. Further, the study is intended to discover if learners' mental representation of writing would contribute to their written performance. During a 16-week term, students were instructed to practice writing as a problem solving activity. At almost the end of the term, they were prompted to write on what they thought writing task was like and also an essay on an argumentative topic. The results revealed that students could conceptualize the instructed recursive model of writing as a process-based, multi-dimensional and integrated activity inducing self-direction and organization while holding in low regard the product view of writing. The findings also demonstrated that task representation was related to the students' writing performance, with process oriented students significantly outperforming the product-oriented ones. Also, it was found that task representation components (ideational, linguistic, textual, interpersonal) had a significant relationship with the written performance ([Formula: see text]; Sig.: 0.006). The study can have both theoretical and practical implications with regard to the factors involving the students' writing internal processes and their effects on written performance.

Keywords: EAP; EFL; Mental models; Writing task representation; Written performance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Writing*
  • Young Adult