Task based-language-teaching

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The Task Based Method

Transcript of Task based-language-teaching

  • 1. Introducing Task-basedLanguage Teaching Rod Ellis University of Auckland

2. Task-based teaching some introductory comments 3. TBLT advocates1. Nunan2. Long3. Skehan4. Ellis5. Willis6. Norris7. Van den Branden 4. What is a task?1. A task involves a primary focus on meaning?.2. A task has some kind of gap.3. The participants choose the linguistic resources needed to complete the task.4. A task has a clearly defined outcome. 5. An exampleI am going to play a number game with you. When Ihave finished:1. Play the game in pairs.2. Imagine you are writing a book of games forchildren and want to include this game. Write anentry in the book for this game.3. Compare your entry with that of another student.Whose entry is better?4. Develop a set of criteria for evaluating writtenentries in the book. 6. Some questions1. What type of task is this?- information gap/ opinion gap- one way./ two way- open/closed2. What language skills were involved in performing this task?3. What kinds of processing demands does this task place on students?4. Are there any linguistic forms that are essential or useful for performing this task?5. How could you decide if this task has worked? 7. Why do TBLT1. Tasks can be easily related to students real-life language needs (i.e. pedagogic tasks can be designed to reflect target tasks).2. Tasks create contexts that facilitate second language acquisition (i.e. an L2 is best learned through communicating).3. Tasks create opportunities for focusing on form.4. Students are more likely to develop intrinsic motivation in a task-based approach.5. A task-based approach enables teachers to see if students are developing the ability to communicate in an L2. 8. Using tasks in language teaching1. Task-supported language teachingi.e. the syllabus is a structural one and theapproach is focus on forms. Tasks (reallysituational exercises) are used in the finalstage of a PPP methodology2. Task-based language teachingi.e. the syllabus is task-based and theapproach is focus on form. Themethodology centres around studentsperforming a series of tasks. 9. The methodology of task-based teaching 10. Two aspects of methodology1. The organisation of task-based lessons - pre-task phase - main task phase - post-task phase5. The participatory structure of task-based lessons - individual student activity - teacher-class activity - small group work 11. Options for the Pre-Task Phase The purpose of the pre-task phase is to prepare students to perform the task in ways that will promote acquisition. Three approaches: - motivational - focus on cognitive demands - focus on linguistic demands 12. Procedural Options for the Pre-Task Phase1. Supporting learners in performing a task similar to the main task2. Providing learners with a model of how the task might be performed.3. Engaging learners in non-task activities designed to help them perform the task.4. Providing learners with the opportunity to plan how to perform the task. 13. Performing a Similar TaskSee Prabhu (1987)- the pre-task is a task in its own right- it is performed through teacher-classinteraction with the teacher using questionsto guide the students to the task outcomeRationale can be found in sociocultural theory expert-novice interaction scaffolds zones ofproximal development. 14. Providing a Model Providing a demonstration of an idealperformance Analysing the features of an ideal text Training in the use of a strategy (e.g. learningto live with uncertainty)Effects of such task priming needinvestigating (cf. Lam and Wong 2000) 15. Non-Task Preparation ActivitiesThese centre of reducing the cognitive orlinguistic load: Activating schema relating to topic of the task(e.g. brainstorming) Pre-teaching vocabulary (e.g. Newton 2001 -predicting, co-operative dictionary search,matching words and definitions) 16. Strategic PlanningStudents have access to task.Options: Unguided planning Guided planning (focus on content vs. focuson linguistic form) Time allocated (Mehnert 1998) Participatory organisation 17. Example of Guided Planning Foster and Skehan 1999 Strategic planning optionsDescription 1. No planningThe students were introduced to the idea of a balloon debate, assigned roles and then asked to debate who should be sacrificed. 2. Guided planning language focus The students introduced to the idea of a balloon debate and shown how to use modal verbs and conditionals in the reasons a doctor might give for not being thrown out of the balloon (e.g. I take care of many sick people If you throw me out, many people might die. 3. Guided planning content focusThe students were introduced the idea of a balloon debate. The teacher presents ideas that each character might use to defend his or her right to stay in the balloon and students were encouraged to add ideas of their own. 18. Options for the Main Task PhaseTwo sets of options: Task-performance options (relating todecisions taken prior to performance of thetask) Process options (relating to on-line decisionstaken during the performance of the task focus on form) 19. The Danger of RestrictedCommunicationL1: What?L2: Stop.L3: Dot?L4: Dot?L5: Point?L6: Dot?LL: Point, point, yeh.L1: Point?L5: Small point.L3: Dot(From Lynch 1989, p. 124; cited in Seedhouse 1999). 20. Task Performance OptionsMain options are: Performance of task with or without taskpressure (Yuan and Ellis 2003) Performance of task with or without access toinput data (borrowing Prabhu) Introduction of surprise element (cf. Fosterand Skehan 1997) 21. Theoretical rationale for focus on form To acquire the ability to use new linguistic forms communicatively,learners need the opportunity to engage in meaning-focusedlanguage use. However, such opportunity will only guarantee full acquisition of thenew linguistic forms if learners also have the opportunity to attend toform while engaged in meaning-focused language use. Given that learners have a limited capacity to process the secondlanguage (L2) and have difficulty in simultaneously attending tomeaning and form they will prioritize meaning over form whenperforming a communicative activity (VanPatten 1990). For this reason, it is necessary to find ways of drawing learnersattention to form during a communicative activity. As Doughty (2001)notes the factor that distinguishes focus-on-form from otherpedagogical approaches is the requirement that focus-on-forminvolves learners briefly and perhaps simultaneously attending toform, meaning and use during one cognitive event (p. 211). 22. Incorporating a Focus on FormAttention to form in the context of performinga task can occur: Reactively (through negotiation of meaning orform) Pre-emptivelycf. Ellis, Basturkmen and Loewen 23. Implicit Focus-on-FormTwo principal procedures:2. Request for clarification (i.e. Speaker A says something that Speaker B does not understand; B requests clarification allowing A opportunity to reformulate)3. Recast (i.e. Speaker A says something that Speaker B reformulates in whole or in part) 24. An Example of an Implicit Focuson FormLearner: He pass his house.Teacher: He passed his house?Learner: Yeah, he passed his house.Recasts provide learners with theopportunity to uptake the correction butthey do not always make use of it. 25. Explicit Focus-on-Form Explicit correction (e.g. Not x, y) Metalingual comment (e.g. Not presenttense, past tense) Query (e.g. Why is can used here?) Advise (e.g. Remember you need to usethe past tense). 26. Example of Explicit Focus-on-FormLearner 1: And what did you do last weekend?Learner 2: I tried to find a pub where you dont see where you dont see many tourists. And I find oneTeacher: Found.Learner 2: I found one where I spoke with two English women and we spoke about life inCanterbury or things and after I came backTeacher:Afterwards (Seedhouse 1997) 27. Picas research Pica (2002) examined the extent to which learners and their teachers modified the interaction that arose in content-based instruction in order to attend to developmentally difficult form- meaning relationships (for example, English articles) - Pica reported very little attention to form. She commented one of the most striking findings of the study was that the majority of student non-target utterances went unaddressed in any way (p. 9). One reason for this was that the students utterances, although often ungrammatical, did not require any adjustment in order to be understood. In other words, the interesting and meaningful content that comprised these lessons drew learners attention from the need to attend to form. 28. Addressing the problemThree ways:1. Pica (2005) suggested that one way of addressing this is to develop focused tasks (especially information-gap tasks) that direct learners attention to form.2. Negotiation of form i.e. teachers didactically address form even though no communication breakdown has occurred.3. Reviewing the linguistic problems learners experienced in the post-task phase of the lesson. 29. The Post-Task PhaseThree main options: Repeat performance Reflection on performance of the task Attention to form 30. Repeat Performance Research shows that when learners repeat a task their production improves in a number of ways (e.g. complexity increases, propositions are expressed more clearly, and they become more fluent). A repeat performance can be carried out under the same conditions as the first performance (i.e. in small groups or individually) or the conditions can be changed. 31. Reflecting on the TaskPerformanceStudents present an oral or written report:-summarising the outcome of the task.-reflecting on and evaluating their own performance of the task.-commenting on which aspect of language use (fluency, complexity or accuracy) they gave primacy to-discussing communication problems-reporting what language they learned from the task-suggesting how they might improve their performance of the task. 32. Attention to FormOptions inc