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TINO WHĀINGA O TE RĀ Effective teaching of te reo Māori -An introduction to Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT) -Understanding how TBLT fits into language programmes -Increase understanding of the NCEA level 3 alignment -An introduction / increased understanding of portfolios / MyPortfolio for learning and assessment
The task-based approach: What does it mean for teaching, learning and assessment in New Zealand’s schools? Martin East Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland NZALT junior vice-president,
Thank you to Martin for his gracious offer for us to use his presentation and adapt it for our own purposes… Jeanne Gilbert Kaitakawaenga (Facilitator) Tel: Sharron Fabish: Mathew Jennings:
Key understanding about effective language learning Ngā tino māramatanga whai hua mō te ako I te reo Te Aho Arataki Marau (TAAM) p 21, 22 For references to Rod Ellis (TBLT) 23 and intercultural communicative language teaching (iCLT)
Task based Language Teaching TBLT
Learning Intentions of this session: 1.What exactly is TBLT? 2.Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way to teach languages in schools? 3.What are teachers in New Zealand making of TBLT? 4.Workshopping (now and session 3) 5.Questions – whenever you like – also use stickits
The many meanings of ‘task’ -brainstorming- 1.What is a game / learning activity / task? How do these differ? Do they? 2. What is a task for NCEA? 3. What exactly is TBLT?
What exactly is TBLT? Van den Branden, Bygate and Norris (2009): TBLT “has increasingly attracted the worldwide attention of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) researchers, curriculum developers, educationalists, teacher trainers, language testers, and language teachers.” TBLT is now “being promoted in many countries around the world as a potentially very powerful language pedagogy” (p. 1).
What exactly is TBLT? Nevertheless: “teachers and others are often not at all certain as to what a task-based approach really does mean.”
What exactly is TBLT? Littlewood (2004): Questions: 1.Does it mean that everything teachers do in the classroom should be a task? 2.If so, what exactly is a task? 3.Can teaching and learning grammar be described as a task? 4.If not, should teachers feel guilty when they teach grammar?
What exactly is TBLT? Littlewood (2004) also asks: “What is the difference, in any case, between a task- based approach and the communicative approach that teachers were told they should use not so many years ago?” (pp ) Share what you think the communicative approach is with a partner. Questions? See TAAM p73, 23.
So … what exactly is TBLT? Van den Branden (2006) defines a ‘task’ as “an activity in which a person engages in order to attain an objective, and which necessitates the use of language” (p. 4). Through tasks, language is being used as a means to an end in order to help students to learn the language.
What exactly is TBLT? Van den Branden (2006) goes on to explain: Tasks invite the learner to act primarily as a language user, and not as a language learner. Tasks are supposed to elicit the kinds of communicative behaviour (such as the negotiation of meaning) that naturally arises from performing real-life language tasks, because these are believed to foster language acquisition. (pp. 8-9, emphasis in original).
What exactly is TBLT? Ellis’ criteria (2005) The primary focus should be on ‘meaning’ There should be some kind of ‘gap’ Learners should largely have to rely on their own resources in order to complete the activity There is a clearly defined outcome other than the correct use of language
What exactly is TBLT? 1.Tasks, then, are central to what students will do in language learning classrooms that promote TBLT 2.Tasks are effectively learner-centred opportunities for students to try out language in interaction with other people, thereby benefitting from mutual support 3.During task completion the teacher steps back and lets the students work together to complete the task
What TBLT isn’t! Most fundamentally, TBLT aims to move teachers away from a more traditional, teacher-centred, grammar-focused and rule- based approach which has come to be known as P-P-P – first present the rule explicitly – then practise the rule – then produce the rule in some kind of (hopefully communicative )activity. PPP has traditionally been used along with the grammar translation method.
So, what exactly is TBLT? With TBLT, P-P-P has effectively been replaced by the new kind of lesson structure of: pre-task / task / post-task – First set up for students the language they may need to complete the task – Then let the students loose on the task – Finally ‘deconstruct’ the task in terms of structure (grammar) if still needed and evaluate the learning.
The pre-task phase does not have a grammar focus. Rather, it has a language focus. It is not about grammar (also known as language form ), but about setting up the language required to complete a task (even if the grammar is embedded in that language) What exactly is TBLT?
Willis (1996): The pre-task phase is when the teacher “explores the topic with the class, highlights useful words and phrases, helps students understand task instructions and prepare” (p. 38). (establishes learning intentions and success criteria) This is followed by the ‘task-cycle’, which involves completion of the task or tasks, followed by a post-task phase during which the focus can be on the grammar (form / structure.) What exactly is TBLT?
In some respects, then, TBLT represents a radical reappraisal of the approach to language teaching: From teacher-led to learner-centred From ‘top-down’ to ‘bottom up’ and experiential (= guided induction i.e. the learners figure it out for themselves through finding the patterns – guided by their teachers) From P-P-P to pre-task / task / post-task (i.e. opportunities to embed language and build confidence) This concept links very well to Te Kotahitanga What exactly is TBLT?
In other words – TBLT means : Setting up a unit of work / project with a communicative / interactive purpose Having a pre-task phase to set up intentions, instructions and language Having a task (s) cycle to enable students to discover /negotiate / record / report back interactively Having a post-task phase to formalise new structures from the student’s learning (discovery/induction) and evaluate learning Having a definite communicative interactive purpose (context/topic) and desired outcome other than correct language
Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way to teach languages in schools? If you looked at some of the documents published in conjunction with NZC and Learning Languages, and TAAM p31 you might be forgiven for thinking that it is.
Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way? Communication comes first Grammar comes next This is compatible with pre-task / task / post-task It is not compatible with P-P-P (in its grammatical sense) So what does this mean? Does it mean that teachers should abandon what they are currently doing, esp. if it resembles a PPP model, and embrace TBLT?
In other words … but is it really the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way?
Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way? Ellis (2009): Task-based teaching need not be seen as an alternative to more traditional, form-focused (grammar-focussed) approaches but can be used alongside them. (p. 221)
Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way? Erlam and Sakui (2006): Teachers of languages are not all the same. They differ in their background knowledge, personal goals, who they teach, how they teach, and the conditions under which they teach. … Research provides insights into what kinds of teaching behaviours have been shown to work for learning. Then it is up to teachers to discover what works for them in their classrooms. (p. 42, my emphasis)
Is TBLT the ‘best’ or ‘only’ way? Ellis (2005): … the purpose of a literature review such as this is not to prescribe or proscribe what teachers should do to ensure effective learning in their classrooms but to stimulate reflection on the complex phenomenon of instructed language learning and a willingness to experiment with new approaches in accordance with their local conditions (p. 44)
What are teachers in New Zealand making of TBLT?
Teaching and assessment What has TBLT got to do with the aligned internal NCEA standards? One thing is clear: Revising the standards is certainly “a way of ensuring that the focus [on communication] doesn’t slide away.” Anita
The aligned internal standards In particular, the shift from ‘converse’ to ‘interact’ is arguably the most tangible expression of a desire to: move towards communication as core create opportunities for students to engage in authentic spoken language use tasks (i.e, geniune interactions) for assessment purposes, rather than contrived and pre-rehearsed ‘conversations’ with their teacher
What next for you? Read Martin East’s book? Trial some ideas?