Differences between Task, Exercise, and Drill in L2 Education: A Systems-thinking Perspective

Somayyeh Sabah


The present study considered the definitions of and differences between the concepts of task, exercise, and drill in the related literature on L2 practices. The concept of task has been commonly differentiated from the exercise and drill with respect to certain criteria. Task is, in the main, meaning-based, goal-oriented, and purposeful with a nonlinguistic and communicative outcome. Based on Long (2016), task demands the L2 use in the real world. Also, as said by Swales (1990), tasks are more relatable to the genre than the other two language practices. Moreover, the task performance endows L2 learners with higher degrees of freedom than the accomplishment of the exercise and drilling, respectively. Furthermore, this study examined and supported a systems-thinking perspective on task-based language teaching (TBLT) (Finch, 2001). However, considering the task phase as a complex system seems to be still under debate and thus needs more research and analysis.


Chaos/Complexity Theory, Communicative Approach, Drill, Exercise, Genre, L2 Education, Task

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