Effects of Pre-Task Strategic Planning on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Writing Motivation and Accuracy

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of English, Ahar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahar, Iran


Considering the benefits of preparation for writing in the pre-writing phase, this study attempted to examine the effects of different pre-task strategic planning activities (i.e., pre-task form-focus planning, content-focus planning, and no planning) on writing accuracy and motivation. To achieve the objectives of this study, sixty intermediate EFL learners were selected from an English language institute. They were randomly assigned into three groups, each of which included twenty participants. In order to measure the effect of strategic planning types, they were given a pretest and posttest in the form of narrative writing test and also the writing motivation questionnaire. One of the experimental groups received language focus activities, and the other one received content focus activities while the control group received no planning. After the twelve week intervention, all the groups were post tested. Results of the study based on ANCOVA showed that the form focus pre-task planning was the most effective in terms of its impact on the writing accuracy. However, it was found that there was no significant difference in the writing motivation of EFL learners who received different pre-task strategic planning activities. EFL teachers, curriculum developers and syllabus designers, and EFL learners can use the findings of this study in order to produce more accurate writings.



Ahmadi, S. (2008).The effects of strategic planning on the improvement of Iranian EFL learners' Writing skills in TBLT. M.A. Thesis, Guilan University.

Ahmadian, M. J. (2012). The effects of guided careful online planning on complexity, accuracy and fluency in intermediate EFL learners’ oral production: The case of English articles. Language Teaching Research, 16, 129-149.

Asgarikia, P. (2014), The effect of task type, strategic planning and no planning on writing Performance of Iranian intermediate EFL learners, Procedia: social and behavioral sciences, 98,276-285.

Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive View. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Badger, R., & White, G. (2000). A process genre approach to teaching   writing.  ELT Journal, 54 (4), pp. 153-160.

Birjandi, P., Mosallanejad, P., & Bagheridoust, E., (2006). Principles of Teaching Foreign Languages. Tehran: Rahrovan Publications, 1st Ed.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (2nd. Ed.), New York: Pearson Education.

Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (5th Ed.),   New York: Pearson Education. 

Brumfit, C. (1984). Communicative Methodology in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980. Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second Language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1-47.

Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.) (2001). Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Chastain, K. (1988). Developing Second Language Skills: Theory and Practice (3rd Ed.), Virginia:   Harcourtbrace Jovanovich Publishers.

Connor, U. (1988). Research frontiers in writing analysis. Landmark Essays on ESL Writing, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp.75-90.

Cohen, A. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. White Plains, NY: Addison-Wesly Longman.

Cook, G. (2000). Language play, language learning, Oxford University Press.

Dornyei, Z. & Murphey, T. (2003). Group Dynamic in the language classroom, Cambridge University Press.

Duan, Y., B. (2011). How to motivate students in second language writing, Sino- US English Teaching, 8(4), 235-240.

Ellis, R. (2000). Task-based research and language pedagogy.  Language Teaching Research, 4 (3), pp. 193-220.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-Based Learning and Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ferris, D. (1995). Teaching student to self –edit. TESOL Journal: Oxford University Press.

Foster, P., & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning and task type on second language Performance. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 299-323.

 Foster, P., & Skehan, P. (1999). The in and focus of planning on task-based performance, Language Teaching Research, 3, 215-247.

Fotos, S. (1998). Shifting the focus form forms to form in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 52, 2.

Harmer, J. (2001). The Practice of English Language Teaching (3rd Ed.), Edinburgh: Pearson Education.

Hedge, T. (2000). Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom. Oxford: Oxford University     Press.

Jacobs, H. V., Fay Hartflel, V., Hughey, J. B., &  Wormuth, D. R. (1981). ESL Composition Profile. Newbury House Publisher.

Kadkhodaei, N., Gorjian, B, & Pazhakh, A., (2013), The role of reformulation tasks in EFL Learners, writing accuracy. International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, 4(4) 269-282. 

Kroll, B. (2001). Considerations for teaching an ESL/EFL writing course In M. Celce-Murcia (ed.), Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language (pp. 219- 232). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Kawauchi, C. (2005). The effects of strategic planning on the oral narratives of learners with low and high intermediate L2 proficiency. In Ellis, R. (Ed.). Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 143-164). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Larsen- Freeman, D. (2006). The emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy in the oral and written production of five Chinese learners of English. Applied Linguistics. 27 (4), 590- 619. 

Littlewood, W. (2004). The task-based approach: some questions and suggestions. ELT Journal, 58 (4), pp. 319-327.

Matsuda, P. K. (1997). Contrastive rhetoric in context: A dynamic model of L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 6 (1), pp. 45-60.

McClelland, J., & Patterson, K. (2002). ‘Words or Rules’ cannot exploit the regularity in exceptions. Trends in Cognitive Science, 6(11), 464-465.

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (1999). Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Newbury House Publication.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching: A Comprehensively Revised Edition of Designing Tasks for Communicative Classroom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Payne, S. (2006). A song-based grammar lesson in record time. Essential Teacher, 3, 1.

Prabhu, N. (1990). There is no best methods- why? TESOL quarterly, 24,161-176.

Rahimpour, M. & Safarie, M., (2011), The effects of 0n-line and pre-task planning on descriptive writing of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of English Linguistics, 11(2), 274-280.

Reid, J. (2001). Writing.  In R. Carter & D. Nunan (eds.), The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (pp. 28-33). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (2nd Ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Renandya, W. A., (2002). Methodology In Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (3rd Ed.), Pearson Education Limited.

Robinson, P. (1995). Task complexity and second language narrative discourse. Language Learning, 45, 99-140.

Salimi, A., & Fatollahnejad, S., (2012), The effect of strategic planning and topic formality on Iranian intermediate EFL learners, writing performance in TBLT. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(11), 2308-2315.

Seyyedi, K., & Ismail, Sh., A., M., (2013), The effect of pre-task planning time on 12 learners, narrative writing performance. English Language Teaching, 6, 12.

Silva, T. (1993). Toward an understanding of the distinct nature of L2 writing: The ESL research and its implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27 (4), 657-675.

Silva, T., & Matsuda, P. K. (2002). Writing. In N. Schmitt (ed.), An Introduction to Applied Linguistics (pp. 251-266), London: ARNOLD.

Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (1997). Task type and task processing conditions as influences on foreign  language performance. Language Teaching Research, 1(3), 185-211.

Sheen, R. (2003). Focus on form- a myth in the making? ELT Journal, 57, 3. Ur, p. (1996). A course in language teaching: practice and theory, UK: Cambridge University


Vasquez, R. (2009). Motivation students through content-based instruction, Pirhua, 28, 200.

Wesche, M. 1993. Discipline- based approaches to language study: Research issues and outcomes.  In M. Krueger & F. Ryan (eds.), Language and Content (pp. 80-95). Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath.

Wiggleworth, G. (1997). An investigation of planning time and proficiency level on oral test discourse. Language Testing,14(1), 85-106.

Yuan, F. , &  Ellis, R. (2003). The effects of pre-task planning and on- line planning on fluency, complexity, and accuracy in L2 monologue oral production. Applied Linguistics. 24, 1-27.