Gender, Scaffolding Mechanism and Output Complexity in Task-based Language Learning

Hamid Bahador, Amir Zand-Moghadam, Maryam Fanaie


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of gender in Iranian EFL learners’ output complexity and scaffolding mechanism as they were performing the tasks. The participants were 18 intermediate learners from both genders who were selected based on a proficiency test and an interview. They were placed into three groups based on their gender. They were also assigned into nine different collaborative pairs and were required to perform four tasks while being tape-recorded for 36 sessions. The audio-recorded dialogues were then transcribed and divided into AS-units. Ohta’s (2001) seven types of scaffolding methods were used as a framework to analyze the data. The findings indicated that the interlocutors in female-female pairs scaffolded their struggling partners more than the other pairs and produced a more complex output; however, the interlocutors in male-male pairs underperformed the other groups. It can be concluded that gender plays an important role in EFL learners’ output complexity and scaffolding mechanisms they employ. 



AS-units, gender, scaffolding mechanism, sociocultural approach, task-based language learning

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