Presentation on theme: "Task-based or task-supported language teaching? A view from the bridge"— Presentation transcript:
1 Task-based or task-supported language teaching? A view from the bridge William Littlewood
2 Two sources of CLT since the 1970s A view of learning: ‘learning through communicating’E.g. Stephen Krashen; N.S. Prabhu; Gertrude MoskowitzA view of language: ‘doing things with words’e.g. J.L. Austin; Michael Halliday; Henry WiddowsonThe two ‘streams’ from these sources often convey conflicting messages
3 Result: CLT’s identity problem From the beginning there has been confusion between:A ‘strong version’ of CLT: if people ‘learn by communicating’, students should communicate all the time (‘experiential’ learning)A ‘weak version’ of CLT: people can also learn how to ‘do things with words’ through conscious learning and practice (‘analytic’ learning)
4 The ‘strong’ version of CLT According to Allwright & Hanks (2009):The strong version stimulated the ‘radical re- think’ that language teaching needed.However it was not commercially viable as it could not form the basis for published courses.This ‘commodity problem’ was solved by the ‘much less challenging ideas’ of the weak version).
5 The ‘weak’ version of CLT The weak version of CLT presents a more familiar framework for teaching: it includes familiar forms of controlled, analytic learning, e.g. grammar practice and exercises.Thornbury (2011): ‘The old PPP model by another name’
6 Communication in the classroom Both ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ versions involve the teachers in creating and organizing communicative activities for experiential learning.In this respect ‘tasks’ are a category of communicative activity with special design featuresThey pose challenges for teachers and learners used to a more transmission– oriented approach.
7 CLT and TBLT: Some challenges The challenges faced by many teachers include:new organizational skills e.g. for group activitiesunfamiliar roles in the classroom e.g. ‘facilitator’ not only ‘knowledge transmitter’classroom management esp. with large classesstudents resorting to the mother tongue in tasksstudents performing tasks with minimal use of languageexcessive demands on their own language competenceconflict with educational traditions and conceptions of learningincompatibility with public examinations(e.g. Butler, 2011, Jeon, 2009, Littlewood, 2007, Wang, 2007)
8 Strong’ and ‘weak’ versions of TBLT ‘A strong version where learners choose whatever language forms they wish to convey the meaning required by the task’‘A weak form of task-supported teaching (analogous to P-P-P) through which tasks provide opportunities to practise language items that have been introduced in a traditional way’(Carless, 2009)
9 The variability of TBLT There are many variations and choices for teachers to select from when they are carrying out TBLT.’ (Carless, 2012)‘There is no single way of doing TBLT.’ (Ellis, 2009)
10 The variability of TBLT (Ellis, 2009) Ellis finds only two common features in the versions advocated by Ellis, Long and Skehan:The role of tasks in creating contexts for natural language use;The need to also focus on form.That is: they recommend both experiential and analytic strategies but offer variation in how to do so.
11 Tasks and TBLT in postmethod pedagogy This flexible conception of TBLT integrates easily into a ‘context-sensitive postmethod pedagogy’ (Kumaravadivelu, 2006, p. 20).We may look at TBLT and tasks in the broader context of postmethod pedagogy, in which tasks:provide necessary contexts for communicative language use, which are part of both the strong and the weak versions of CLT and TBLT;can also serve as focuses for attention to relevant form.
12 Tasks and TBLT in postmethod pedagogy Three views from the bridge:The experiential – analytic dimensionThe communicative continuumTask-engagement
13 1. Experiential and analytic learning Experiential learning ←→Analytic learningCommunication (main focus: meaning + message)Instruction (main focus: form + meaning)↓Subconscious learning and activation← →Controlled practice and learningFluent language becomes increasingly ‘correct’Learnt language becomes increasingly fluentCommunicativeCompetenceCommunication tasksFocused tasksEnabling tasks‘Strong’ versions of CLT / TBLT ← → ‘Weak’ versions of CLT / TBLTTask-based teaching ← → Task-supported teaching
14 2. The ‘communicative continuum’ Experiential strategies Analytic strategiesAuthentic communicationStructured communicationCommunicative language practicePre- communicative language practiceNon- communicative learningUsing language to communicate in situations where the meanings are unpredictable, e.g. creative role-play, more complex problem-solving and discussionUsing language to communicate in situations which elicit pre- learnt language but with some unpredictability, e.g. structured role-play and simple problem- solvingPractising pre- taught language in a context where it communicates new information, e.g. information gap activities or “personalised” questionsPractising language with some attention to meaning but not communicating new messages to others, e.g. “question-and- answer” practiceFocusing on the structures of language, how they are formed and what they mean, e.g. substitution exercises, “discovery” and awareness-raising activitiesFocus on meanings and messages Focus on forms and meanings‘Communicative tasks’ ‘Focused tasks’ ‘Enabling tasks’Task-based (May be) Task-supportedon
15 Authentic communication I love music!How do you feel when you listen to music? Why do you like music? Discuss with your partner. Write down five reasons._________________________________________________________________________________________________(adapted from Vidal, 1996)
16 Authentic communication Designing an alternative world1 Students and teachers brainstorm aspects of the environment they like and those they would like to see improved. These may include changes to the geographical setting, nature, animal-life, housing, society, family, leisure activities, politics, etc.2 Students are put into groups according to common interests. The groups identify the language and information they need. The students carry out individual and group research on the selected topics. The students discuss aspects of this ‘Alternative reality’ and then report back. They decide on the different ways (stories, recordings, games, etc.) to link all the research and present the final product.3 Students present the topic and evaluate the activity.(adapted from Ribé & Vidal, 1993)
17 Structured communication The World TomorrowStudents are asked to write down a list of changes they expect to see in the world by a date 50 years in the future. For example:We will have a working day of four hours.Every home will have a video telephone.People will live to be 100 years old or more.The ideas are then read out and discussed. Those that most of the class agree with may be written up on the board.Later, students may choose predictions that appeal to them and use them as the topic for a short essay.(adapted from Ur, 1988/2009)
18 Communicative language practice Fill in this chart about your classmates’ preferencesNameFavorite male singerFavorite female singerFavorite TV actor or actressFavorite TV seriesFavorite place to visit
19 Pre-communicative language practice With your partner, practise asking and answering questions about what John and Rachel have to do and what they would like to do. (The cues could also be in the form of pictures.)JohnRachelObligationsClean floorsWash windowsEmpty the binsType lettersAnswer the telephoneDo photocopyingDesiresGo to evening schoolGet a better jobMarry FionaEarn more moneyTake holiday abroadMarry her boss(adapted from Harmer, 1987)
20 Non-communicative learning In the examples below, look carefully at the position of the adverbs always, often, sometimes, usually, and never. What are the rules?We are usually hungry when we come home.John is always late.His parents were often tired in the evening.I am never sure whether this word is correct.I sometimes go to the cinema on Fridays.We never eat much in the morning.Jane often arrives at school early.They always come home late at night.They have never written to me again.You can always come and visit me.I will never know why he did it.Pat has often seen him with two dogs.
21 3. Task engagement High B: form-oriented but engaging Form- engagement D: message-oriented andMessage-orientedA: form-oriented andboringLowC: message-oriented but
22 The communication - engagement matrix Field A: form-oriented and not engaging, e.g. a boring drillField B: form-oriented and engaging, e.g. a word puzzleField C: message-oriented and not engaging, e.g. a role-play not related to Ss’ interestsField D: message-oriented and engaging, e.g. a personalized role-play or discussion
23 Task-based or task-supported teaching? Neither (or both)We need a broader, encompassing conceptual framework which will orient us in creating experiences that are:real and meaningful to learners, andhelp them towards fulfilling their communicative needsThe framework may be called ‘communication-oriented language teaching’ or ‘COLT’ (Littlewood, 2014)meaningful and motivating, andlead learners to fulfil their communicative needsThis broader approach may be called simply ‘communication-oriented language teaching’ or ‘COLT’ (Littlewood, 2014)
24 ReferencesAllwright, D. & Hanks, J. (2009). The developing learner: An introduction to exploratory practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.Butler, Y.G. (2011). The implementation of communicative and task-based language teaching in the Asia-Pacific Region. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31,Carless, D. (2009). Revisiting the TBLT versus P-P-P Debate: Voices from Hong Kong. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching, 19,Carless, D. (2012). Task-based language teaching in Confucian-heritage settings: Prospects and challenges. On Task, 2, 1, 4-8.Ellis, R. (2009). Task-based language teaching: Sorting out the misunderstandings. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19, 3,Estaire, S. & Zanon, J. (1994). Planning classwork: A task-based approach. Oxford: MacMillan Heinemann.Harmer, J. (1987). Teaching and learning grammar. London: Longman.Hiep, P.H. (2007). Communicative language teaching: Unity within diversity. ELT Journal, 61, 3,Ho, W. K. & Wong, R.Y.L. (Eds.). (2004). English language teaching in East Asia today. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.Jeon, J.H. (2009). Key issues in applying the communicative approach in Korea: Follow up after 12 years of implementation. English Teaching, 64, 1,Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching: From method to postmethod. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Littlewood, W. (2007). Communicative and task-based language teaching in East Asian classrooms. Language Teaching, 40, 3,Littlewood, W. (2014). Communication-oriented language teaching: Where are we now? Where do we go from here? Language Teaching, 47, 3,Ribé, R. & Vidal, N. (1993). Project work: Step by step. Oxford, Heinemann.Thornbury, S. (2011). Language teaching methodology. In J. Simpson (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of applied linguistics ( ). London: Routledge.Ur, P. (1988/2009). Grammar practice activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Vidal, N. (1996). Teach your teacher music. Madrid: Alhambra Longman.Wang, Q. (2007). The National Curriculum changes and their effects on English language teaching in the People’s Republic of China. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), International handbook of English language teaching (pp ). Boston, MA : Springer Science & Business Media. Online access via SpringerLink.
25 Some key issues for context-specific approaches to COLT AppendixSome key issues for context-specific approaches to COLTOptimal combinations of analytic and experiential strategies.How to structure classroom interaction more effectively (also without direct teacher control).How to deepen the content of L2 communication in the classroom.
26 Some key issues for context-specific approaches to COLT Appendix (cont.)Some key issues for context-specific approaches to COLTThe role of the L1 as a resource in the language classroomHow to create a rich L2 environment in the classroom.How to create better links between practice, theory and research.
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