Presentation on theme: "TASK BASED LEARNING. Many approaches to language teaching may be described as ‘form-based’, analyisng the language into an inventory of forms to be."— Presentation transcript:
TASK BASED LEARNING
Many approaches to language teaching may be described as ‘form-based’, analyisng the language into an inventory of forms to be presented to the learner and practised as a series of discrete items. There is an assumption of a direct relationship between input and intake, that what is taught will be learned and will become part of the learners usable repertoire, so that learning input leads directly to leaner outcome. However SLA research has shown that there is no direct relationship between input and intake.
One feature of TBL is that learners are free to use any language they can to achieve the outcome; language forms are not prescribed in advance. Language learners need to work out ways of expressing the appropriate meanings for the task, instead of merely taking note of new language forms/input and attempt to reproduce it. As soon as learners put language to use by attempting purposeful communication, they begin to adjust and adapt input to enable them to create new meanings
TBL comes from the more general notion of communicative language teaching; the notion of communicative competence pointed to the need to make language relevant to students needs and to provide opportunities for language use in the classroom. The communicative syllabus specified an inventory of notions and functions rather than in terms of grammar and lexis. So items such as ‘making requests’// or talking about the future instead of specifying items such as ‘definite article’ third conditional’ etc.
One of the best documented applications of a task based approach is probably Prabhu’s procedural syllabus Prabhu headed a project in schools in south India in which learners were simply presented with a series of problems and information/opinion gap activities which were solved under teacher guidance through the medium of English. Prabhu argued that a focus on language form actually inhibited language learning. Language development was seen as the outcome of natural processes.
In TBL in classroom a host of different variables may come into play. The same ‘task’ may be performed differently according to where it comes in the teaching cycle, the role taken by the teacher, the learners interpretations of what is expected, the learners previous experience of the task type and the topic or content matter and other implementation variables such as time limit, group size and participant roles.
In practice most teachers use coursebooks as a basis for their teaching and then supplement the coursebook. Commercially published teaching materials are packaged to reach as wide an audience as possible. Many coursebooks produced since the 1980s described themselves as communicative irrespective of whether or not they were based on communicative principles. There is a danger that the label task based may come to be exploited in the same way. TBL like CLT rests on broad principles rather than on precise recommendations or prescriptions.
Give and follow instructions. Gather and exchange information. Solve problems. Give informal talks in the classroom. Take part in role play and drama activities. These operations may be combined in a number of ways. If for example we start with the topic ‘films’ learners may be asked to work in a group to name their five favourite films and justify their choice. This would involve listing, sequencing,[ordering and sorting] and sharing personal experiences.
A critical focus on language form may be achieved through ‘consciousness raising’ techniques which encourage learners to reflect on language form and to observe recurrent and typical patterns of language. Consciousness raising activities help the learner to notice a specific feature of the language in context as a first step towards its acquisition//learning,. Such activities encourage the learner to make hypotheses and further generalisations about the language which contribute to present or future learning.
SLA research suggests that language learning is a developmental process, which cannot be consciously controlled or predicted by teachers or learners.It seems that language learning, in the sense of acquiring the ability to use the language spontaneously is powerfully driven by natural processes. But it also seems that these processes can be sharpened and rendered more efficient by an appropriate focus on form.TBL represents an attempt to harness natural processes and provide language focus activities based on consciousness raising which will support these processes
Crookes,G. & Gass, S Tasks in a Learning Context. Multilingual Matters. Willis, D & Willis, J Varied Activities for Variable Language Learning. ELT Journal 41/ Willis, D The Lexical Syllabus. Collins. Willis, J A Framework for Task Based Learning. Longman. Willis, J & Willis, D Challenge and Change in Language Teaching. Heinemann. Prabhu, N.S Second Language Pedagogy. OUP. Breen, M Contemporary Paradigms in Syllabus Design. Language Teaching. 20/3 p Candlin, C Towards task Based language learning. Lancaster Practical Papers in English Language Education. Vol. 7. prentice Hall. Beretta, a. & Davies, A Evaluation of the Bangalore Project. ELT Journal, 139/2. p Foster, P A Classroom Perspective on the Negotiation of Meaning. Applied Linguistics 19/