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Pre-task planning and explicit instruction: Effects on CALF in an oral jigsaw task and gains in linguistic knowledge
Task planning and its effect on task performance have attracted generous attention by researchers in task-based language teaching. Scholars have investigated the link between various forms of planning (pre- and within, as well as different lengths of planning times) on written and oral performance in monologic tasks, analysing the output for syntactic complexity, syntactic accuracy, lexical complexity and fluency (CALF). While overall findings are mixed for complexity and accuracy, the majority of studies have found a positive relationship between strategic pre-task planning and fluency in oral performance. Most studies on explicit instruction of grammatical items have observed an effect on linguistic knowledge; however, no previous research has looked at planning and explicit instruction to measure linguistic gain and CALF in one place. Aimed at bridging this gap, this study compared the effectiveness of unguided pre-task planning and explicit instruction of a grammatical structure (with a control group with no pre-planning and no explicit instruction used as the baseline) on the oral performance of a jigsaw task and the completion of a grammaticality judgment test (GJT) among 49 pre-intermediate female EFL learners. Analyses revealed that neither pre-planning nor explicit instruction led to significant changes in linguistic knowledge and CALF. Results are discussed in light of relevant theories, and implications are offered for practice.