Task Representation in Foreign Language Reading-to-Write


  • Marcela Rub-Funes

    1. East Carolina University
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      Marcela Ruiz-Funes (PhD, Virginia Tech)is Associate Professor of Spanish at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.


Abstract: A factor that affects both the process of reading-to-write and the quality of the papers the students produce is task representation - the manner in which students interpret an assigned task, and therefore, the type of paper they write. In this study, the author explored how third-year-level university students of Spanish represented an assigned reading-to-write task, as indicated by the type of papers they produced, and the relationship between the linguistic quality of those papers and the type of task representation. The findings suggest that the ability to interpret a reading-to-write task appropriately is dependent upon complex cognitive factors that need to be further explored. In particular; the results indicate that (1)given the same reading-to-write assignment, FL students interpret the task in dijJerent ways, and therefore, produce different types of papers; (2)the ability to write syntactically complex sentences does not lead to cognitively sophisticated composing; (3)the ability to write with grammatical accuracy is not an indicator of the students' ability to express elaborated ideas; and (4)the ability to write with grammatical accuracy may lead to the students' ability to write more syntactically complex sentences. These findings lead to valuable implications for teaching writing in the foreign language classroom.