Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number2  June 2021                                                Pp.209-221

Full Paper PDF

A Task-based Teaching Approach with Multiple Intelligences Features in Developing
Chinese Students’ Speaking Competency

College Department, Heilongjiang International University
Harbin, China

Received: 1/25/2021               Accepted: 4/6/2021                Published:6/24/2021

The study aimed to achieve three objectives: 1) to identify the Multiple Intelligences (MI) perceived by Heilongjiang International University (HIU) students, 2) to develop and implement a task-based English speaking course with MI features, and 3) to evaluate the extent the developed English speaking course contributes to the improvement of HIU students’ speaking abilities based on complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF) components. The study was carried out with 30 experimental and 30 control group students at Heilongjiang International University, China. Data were collected by a questionnaire survey, the pre-test and post-test, and the final tests focusing on complexity, accuracy, and fluency components. The data were analyzed using the primary statistical measurements by identifying the Mean (M) and the Standard Deviation (SD), and the significance level. The results indicated that with regard to HIU students’ self-perceived MI, Music Intelligence was perceived higher, while the Logical-mathematical Intelligence was perceived lower. As for the students’ speaking ability, the results indicated that there was improvement found between the pre-test and the post-test in the COMPLEXITY with the significance value of .001, the ACCURACY significance value was .002, and the FLUENCY significance value was .001. The conclusion is that the task-based teaching practices with MI features contribute to the improvement of students’ speaking abilities in terms of complexity, accuracy and fluency. The findings are followed by some implications for teaching and learning.
Keywords: accuracy, complexity, fluency, Heilongjiang International University, multiple intelligence, task-based language teaching

Cite as:  XU, J.  (2021). A Task-based Teaching Approach with Multiple Intelligences Features in Developing Chinese Students’ Speaking Competency.
Arab World English Journal, 12 (2) 209-221.


Berwick, R. (1990). Task variation and repair in English as a foreign language. Institute of Economic Research. Kobe University of Commerce.

Bond, T. G., & Fox, C. M. (2015). Applying the Rasch model: Fundamental measurement in the human sciences. (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Brown, R. 1991. Group work, task difference, and second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics. 21, pp. 1-12. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cole, D. et al. (2007). Teaching speaking and listening: a toolkit for practitioners. Bristol: Portishead press.

Egan, K.  B. (1999). Speaking: A critical skill and a challenge. Calico Journal, 16  (3): 277.

Ellis, R., & Barkhuizen, G. (2003). Analyzing learner language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2005). Planning and task performance in a second language.Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2009). The differential effects of three types of task planning on the fluency, complexity, and accuracy in L2 oral production. Applied Linguistics, 30, (4) 474–509.

Gammidge, M.  (2004). Speaking Extra: A resource book of multi-level skills activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gardner, H. (1993). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. (2nd ed). New York: Basic Books.

Housen, A., Kuiken, F., & Vedder, I. (2012). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency: Definitions, measurement, and research. In A. Housen, F. Kuiken, & I. Vedder (Eds.). Dimensions of L2 performance and proficiency: Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in SLA (pp.1-20). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Jones, E. (2017). One size fits all? Multiple intelligences and legal education. The Law Teacher, 51(1), 56-68.

Luo, S. (2018). Multiple Intelligences. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, 1-8.

Newton, J. & Kennedy, G. (1996). Effects of communication tasks on the grammatical relations marked by second language learners. System 24 (3): 309-22.

Nitta, R., & Nakatsuhara, F. (2014). A multifaceted approach to investigating pre-task planning effects on paired oral task performance. Language Testing, 31 (2), 147–175.

Norris, J.M. & Ortega, L. (2009). Towards an organic approach to investigating CAF in instructed SLA: The case of complexity. Applied Linguistics, 30 (4), 555–78.

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing tasks for the communicative classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ockey, G. J., & Li, Z. (2015). New and not so new methods for assessing oral communication. Language Value, 7(1), 1–21

Prabhu, N.S. (1987). Second language pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Robinson, K., & Aronica, L. (2014). Finding your element: How to discover your talents and passions and transform your life. London: Penguin Books.

Shearer, C. B. (2020). Multiple intelligences in gifted and talented education: Lessons learned from neuroscience after 35 years. Roeper Review, 42(1), 49-63.

Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (1997). Task type and task processing conditions as influences on foreign language performance. Language Teaching Research 1: 185-211.

Skehan, P. (1996) A framework for the implementation of task-based instruction. Applied Linguistics, 17(1), 38–62.

Spirovska, E. (2013). Integrating Multiple Intelligences in Teaching English as a Foreign Language- SEEU Experiences and Practices. SEEU Review: Versita, 9 (1), 1-12. DOI: 10.2478/seeur-2013-0002

Tong-Fredericks, C. (1984). Types of oral communication activities and the language they generate a comparison. System 12(2): 133-4.

Willis, J. (1996). A framework for Task-based learning. London: Longman.

Xu, J. (2020). Identifying Students’ Self-perceived Multiple Intelligence Preferences: the Case of Students from Heilongjiang International University, China. Arab World English Journal, 11 (2) 59-69. DOI:

Yan, X, Kim, H.R., & Kim (2018). Complexity, Accuracy and Fluency (CAF) Features of Speaking Performances on Aptis Across Different Levels on the Common European. Retrieved from levels#:~:text=An%20array%20of%20CAF%20features,accuracy%2C%20fluency%2C%20and%20pronunciation

Zhang, F. (2017). Research on the cultivation of Chinese competitive sports reserve talents based on the theory of Multiple Intelligences. Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Education and Teaching in Colleges and Universities (CETCU 2017) (pp. 167-170). Atlantis Press.

Received: 1/25/2021    
Accepted: 4/6/2021 
Published: 6/24/2021 

Jiajun Xu is an English teacher at Heilongjiang International University, China. He is interested in English language teaching and teacher training, and is now doing PhD ELT at Assumption University, Thailand from 2018.