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Task Based Language Teaching

Task Based Language Teaching

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Published by natassayannakouli
General overview on task based language teaching
General overview on task based language teaching

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Published by: natassayannakouli on Sep 05, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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TBLT-Anastasia Yannakouli
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:Task Based Language Teaching first appeared in the vocationaltraining practices of the 1950s. Task focused here first derived fromtraining design concerns of the military regarding new militarytechnologies and occupational specialties of the period. Task analysisinitially focused on solo psychomotor tasks for which littlecommunication or collaboration was involved. In task analysis, on-the- job, largely manual tasks were translated into training tasks. However,task analysis dealt with solo job performance on manual tasks, attentionthen turned to team tasks, for which communication is required.APPROACH:Task Based Language Teaching refers to an approach based on theuse of tasks as the core unit of planning and instruction in languageteaching. TBLT proposes the notion of “task” as a central unit of planningand teaching. A task is an activity or goal that is carried out usinglanguage, such as finding the solution to a puzzle, reading a map andgiving directions, making a telephone call, writing a letter, or reading aset of instructions and assembling a toy. “Tasks generally bear someresemblance to real life language use”(Skehan 1996). Some of its proponents present it as a logical development of CommunicativeLanguage Teaching since it draws on several principles that formed partof the communicative language teaching movement in 1980s. Foexample:
Activities that involve real communication are essential folanguage learning.
TBLT-Anastasia Yannakouli
Activities in which language is used for carrying out meaningfultasks promote learning.
Language that is meaningful to the learner supports the learning process.SOME OPINIONS ON TBLT FROM THE LEADERS OF THEMETHOD:Berwick in 1988 notes that “
task goals are principally educational  goals, which have clear didactic function” and “social goals, whichrequire the use of language simply because of the activity in which the participants are engaged”.
Long and Crookes in 1991 claim that “
tasks provide a vehicle for the presentation of appropriate target language samples to learners and  for the delivery of comprehension and production opportunities of negotiable difficulty”.
Krashen has long insisted that “
comprehensible input is the onenecessary and sufficient criterion for successful language acquisition.Others have argued, however, that productive output and not merely input is also critical for adequate second language development”.
TBLT-Anastasia Yannakouli
The key assumptions of task-based instruction are summarized by Feez(1998) as:
The focus is on process rather than product.
Basic elements are purposeful activities and tasks that emphasizecommunication and meaning.
Learners learn language by interacting communicatively and purposefully while engaged in the activities and tasks.
Activities and tasks can be either:Those that learners might need to achieve in real life.Those that have a pedagogical purpose specific to the classroom.
Activities and tasks of a task-based syllabus are sequencedaccording to difficulty.
The difficulty of a task depends on a range of factors including the previous experience of the learner, the complexity of the task, thelanguage required to undertake the task, and the degree of supportavailable.OBJECTIVES:There are few published examples of complete language programsthat claim to be fully based on most recent formulations of TBLT. Theliterature contains mainly descriptions of examples of task-basedactivities. However, as with other communicative approaches, goals inTBLT are ideally to be determined by the specific needs of particular learners. “Selection of tasks should be base on a careful analysis of thereal-world needs of learners” (Crookes 1993).

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