Writing in English as a foreign language (EFL) is often regarded as an unpleasant experience by students due to the complicated mental processes, the contrasts of language features and culture between native language and English, etc. (Brown & Lee, 2015; Harklau, 2002). Not only students but also teachers are struggling in finding an effective way to teach writing. To overcome such problems in English writing courses, task-based language teaching (TBLT) can be adopted as a useful learning and teaching approach where students practice the language in an authentic task with sufficient guidance and teachers have an alternative way of involving their students in learning (Ellis, 2003). This study, accordingly, was about a task-based project of making online videos to explore the effects on university students’ development of English descriptive writing ability. An experiment was conducted in northern Taiwan. The participants in small groups were engaged to transform their descriptive writing assignments introducing tourist attractions to videos and exchange them online with virtual peers at a university in Osaka, Japan. Both quantitative and qualitative data of the experiment were collected and analyzed. The results showed that TBLT was effective for developing the participants’ descriptive writing ability. In addition to writing achievement, the participants’ learning interest was increased by the task in which they enjoyed learning more about the local attractions. The improvement of the participants’ speaking ability was also mentioned in their reflections. Implications of this study for TBLT in English writing teaching practices are discussed.
Yi-Chien Wang, Chihlee University of Technology, Taiwan
Toshiyuki Yamamoto, Kansai University, Japan