The impact of planning time on children's task-based interactions

Document Type

Journal Article


Elsevier Ltd


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies


Regional Professional Studies Deans Office / Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures




Philp, J., Oliver, R., & Mackey, A. (2006). The impact of planning time on children’s task-based interactions. System, 34(4), 547-565. Available here


Recently, tasks have been advocated for their role in promoting participation in L2 interaction and the provision and use of feedback by language learners (Bygate, M., Skehan, P., Swain, M. (Eds.), 2001. Researching Pedagogical Tasks: Second Language Learning, Teaching and Testing. Pearson Education, Harlow). The relationship between various aspects of pre-task planning time and the quality of learners’ output in terms of fluency, accuracy, and complexity (Ellis, R., 2005. Planning and Task Performance in a Second Language. John Benjamins Publishing Co, Philadelphia, PA) has primarily been investigated with adults. Despite general agreement that age plays an important role in SLA, and that tasks are widely used in classrooms, little research has concerned the benefits of pre-task planning for children. The current study examines the relationship between planning and production, with children carrying out tasks as part of their regular lessons in regular ESL classrooms. Twenty-one dyads of ESL learners, 5–12 years old, performed three communicative tasks over 3 weeks, with 0 min, 2 min and 5 min of planning time. In general, planning had limited benefits when considering use of corrective feedback and linguistic accuracy and fluency. Increased complexity was associated with 5 min of planning time. In general though, there was more talk, and more constructive on-task behavior among children when given little or no planning time.





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