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How Conception of Task Influences Approaches to Reading: A Study of Korean College Students Recalling an English Text

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Abstract

This study examined how language learners' preconceptions about a task influence their approaches to second language reading and the sociocultural basis for such preconceptions. Participants were 30 students learning English at a Korean university. The researchers told half of the participants that they would do a recall task after reading an English text; the rest were not told what the postreading task would involve. Several reader variables were measured to control for preexisting differences between groups. The researchers used free recall and interviews to determine whether conceptions of the task were associated with strategy choice while reading and recalling. Results indicate that the two groups did not differ in recall performance but did in strategy use. The sociocultural context to which the participants had been exposed seemed associated with both their conception of task and strategy use, with a suggestion that strategy use was predicated on conception of task.

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