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S uhK ra e c es P re t n f o t oe nT a h r’ ec pi so o TL BT
S oH S e i o a( u )Ym
Samsung Art and Design Institute
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This small scale case study investigates EFL teachers’ perceptions of task-based language teaching (TBLT) in South Korea. The study (1) presents an overview of TBLT; (2) investigates EFL teachers’ views of TBLT in the South Korean context; and (3) addresses issues which need further attention if TBLT is to be adequately implemented in South Korea. In this study, 10 EFL teachers in South Korea were interviewed and asked on their opinions on using TBLT in their classrooms. The findings centered around five themes, the first being positive and the rest being negative: (a) increase in class participation, (b) incompatibility with text-centered exams, (c) time constraints, (d) lack of language proficiency, and (e) lack of support. Based on the findings, suggestions on how to implement TBLT into the South Korean context are addressed as well as areas that need further research. Keywords: Task-based language teaching, task-based materials, EFL curriculum, EFL policy
I nrd cin .It u t o o
Since the mid-1990s the Ministry of Education in South Korea has strongly encouraged its teachers to use communicative and task-based teaching when teaching English (KICE, 2008). The National Curriculum explicitly states English classes are to be student-centered, activity centered and lessons-centered and should be conducted in English (ibid.). However, many public school teachers continue to have teacher-domi-
30 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT
nated lessons with explicit text explanations (Nam, 2005). The motivation behind this small scale study was to investigate this contrast between educational policy and classroom practices. This study aims to understand South Korean teachers’ perceptions of TBLT. It seeks to answer the following questions: (1) How do English teachers in South Korea perceive task-based language teaching? (2) Why do English teachers in South Korea choose to use or not use task-based language teaching in their classes?
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2.1 Definition of TBLT
TBLT is a communicative approach to language teaching, in which tasks are used to facilitate language acquisition (Ellis, 2003; Nunan, 2004). Although there is no single definition of task, most studies agree that the main feature is expressing meaning (Richards & Rodgers, 2001; Ellis, 2003; Nunan, 2004; Long & Robinson 1998; McDonough & Chaikitmongkol, 2007). Bygate, Skehan, and Swain (2001) provide a pedagogical description of task: “an activity, susceptible to brief or extended pedagogic intervention, which requires learners to use language, with emphasis on meaning, to attain an objective” (p. 11). Nunan (2004) describes a task as “a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form.” (p. 10). According to Skehan (as cited in Kumaravadivelu, 2006, p. 65), there are two extremes of tasks: structure oriented tasks and communicatively oriented tasks. The structure oriented approach, also referred to as the weak form of TBLT (Skehan, 2007; McDonough & Chaikitmongkol, 2007), emphasizes the linguistic form, while the communicatively oriented approach, also referred to as the strong form of TBLT (ibid.), emphasizes meaning over form.
2001) and to facilitate L2 learning (Skehan. as found in McDonough and Chaikitmongkol’s (2007) study of a task-based EFL course in Thailand. 1996. With focus on form. 2001).2 TBLT in EFL Contexts Much of the research on TBLT has been in an ESL context. Nevertheless. 2. Bax.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 31 Proponents of TBLT argue that through tasks. In countries where teacher-fronted classes are the norm. 2001. learners’ attention is drawn to linguistic form in the context of meaning. but it has received an increase in interest from EFL countries in recent years. 1998). something which is more common in student-centered lessons. both students and teachers may need some time to adjust to the interactive approach of TBLT. 2007). The teachers in their study were not confident in their ability to implement the course and expressed concerns about having to deal with unanticipated situations and questions. Ellis. .). that is. In both cases. 2007). 1998. The students reported more grammar instruction and target language forms were needed in their task-based course. Focus on forms involves analyzing linguistic items out of context and focus on meaning does not involve analysis (Long & Robinson. They also wanted more teacher support and guidance. 2007. focus on form (McDonough & Chaikitmongkol. Meaning-based activities are done first and are then followed by attention to the linguistic features. particularly after attempts to implement communicative language teaching (CLT) have been met with resistance and varying degrees of success (Li. Littlewood. Willis & Willis. communication of meaning is of prime concern and linguistic items are analyzed in the context of meaning (ibid. 60). Such attention to linguistic analysis in a meaning-based approach is argued to reflect the cognitive learning processes found in real life situations (Richards & Rodgers. Ellis. implementation of TBLT in EFL contexts has not been without its difficulties. Skehan (2007) explains that the weak form of TBLT facilitates language knowledge (or ‘competence') and performance and the strong form facilitates movement through developmental stages (p. 2003. tasks promote language learning.
these studies also recognize the benefits of the approach and report that teachers and students have generally responded positively. 2005. which originates from the West. p. Ho and Wong (as cited in Littlewood. The use of tasks can also be adapted to review taught linguistic items (İlïn. In a study of three EFL primary classes in Turkey. İnözü. can be incompatible with public assessment demands and conflict with educational values and traditions in non-western contexts. 246). as cited in Littlewood. but further research of TBLT in the EFL context is needed for more conclusive results. at least to this writer. 2. particularly since the Ministry of Education in South Korea has been encouraging its public school English teachers to use communicative and task-based instructions in class since the mid-1990s (KICE. The research that is available has been at the high school and university level and there is no known research at lower levels. the 7th National Curriculum . & Yumru. but remains sparse. 2003. the Ministry of Education has replaced the grammatical-structural syllabus with a communicative syllabus and placed greater importance on the spoken form (Paik. The positive results from these studies look promising. In a continual effort to shift from the still prevalent grammar and text oriented English education. 2008). The teachers in their study were aware of the purpose of task-based learning. 2004). In the 6th National Curriculum (1995-1999). 2007. They acknowledge the importance of TBLT in developing learner autonomy and transferable skills (McDonough & Chaikitmongkol. This lack of research is surprising. but used tasks at the end of lessons to present language items because this was expected. 2007. 2007) and providing opportunities for students to practice using English (Ho & Wong.3 TBLT in South Korea Research in TBLT in South Korea has increased in recent years. and Yumru (2007) point out that the tasks used in the classes they observed were predominately language practice activities focusing on form rather than meaning. p. Despite some problems in implementing TBLT in EFL contexts. 2007). Chang. Yim. 246) also report that approaches such as TBLT. İnözü. İlïn.32 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT Perceptions of the purpose of task-based learning may also differ.
Ko (2008) advocates the advantages of its collaborative learning style. In her report of South Korean college students’ reaction to TBLT. Perhaps more far-reaching than the National Curriculum is the annual Korean Scholastic Aptitude Test (KSAT). p. She reports that most English classes at the high school and university level in South Korea are usually teacher-fronted and focus on reading comprehension. 2008). and sentence transformation. within which reading comprehension weighs most heavily (ibid. even though this is in direct conflict with the communicative and task-based approaches prescribed in the National Curriculum. Nevertheless.). her research findings show that college students were reluctant to participate in group work. 2008). as cited in Littlewood. The students in her study complained about the large number of tasks and the amount of time required to complete them. grammar. 2005). English high school classes focus almost solely on preparing students for this exam. They felt that having the teacher directly teach the language points would be a better use of time. 246). teacher-centered classes focused on written form remains common (Nam. the discrepancy between the guidelines of the National Curriculum and the need to prepare students for the national exams raises issues about how to use a TBLT approach in the South Korean setting. Teachers are thus pressured by students. high school teachers are reported to spend little time on developing productive skills (Choi. 2002).Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 33 (2000-2006) reiterated the previous curriculum’s emphasis on spoken English and provided specific guidelines in the structure of the syllabus (Chang. The multiple-choice format of the KSAT and other EFL tests is reported to have the negative backwash effect of South Korean students wanting to improve test taking strategies at the expense of gaining genuine language proficiency (Choi. Not surprisingly. the students were unsure they could trust their answers and wanted concrete input from . Since the English section of this high stakes exam does not involve actual direct speaking or writing components. Furthermore. the scores from which determine its test takers’ future education and career opportunities. However. 2007. parents and school authorities to ignore the mandates of the National Curriculum and teach to the test (Shim & Baik. The studies that have examined TBLT in the South Korean context have had mixed results.
reducing the number of tasks. Even English teachers reported they lacked spoken English and avoided using it in class (Li. English tests results in South Korea have a significant role in its test takers’ educational and work opportunities (Choi. They . and only 15% are done in pairs and 5% in small groups. 2000). 2008). and lack of authentic material (Choi. However. he questions its usefulness in EFL settings where written test results are more important than communicative ability. large amount of textbook material that needs to be covered in class.1 Subjects Ten participants were involved in this small scale case study. However. check understanding and compare answers in task-based lessons.Meh d I I to 3. As mentioned earlier. With such a large number of tasks to be completed individually. Jeon (2005) reports that the task-based material reflected a communicative approach to language learning in accordance with the regulations of the 7th National Curriculum. and allowing enough time for both the students and teachers to get familiar with the approach. 1998). his data show that about 80% of tasks are completed individually. With regards to tasks in South Korean high school English textbooks. I. She points out the usefulness in using the mother tongue to negotiate. the students reported feeling that they lacked the English proficiency to complete the tasks and to interact in groups. Other constraints include large class size. To deal with the deficiency in spoken English. Jeon’s data do not support his claims that the textbooks reflect a communicative approach.34 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT the teacher after their discussions. so that lessons contain both a student and teacher-centered element. In her study with high school students. Lee (2006) suggests using L1 with task-based lessons. Park (1999) argues that in South Korea there may be little motivation to improve one’s productive skills. Ko suggests adapting TBLT to the local South Korean context. Park (1999) acknowledges the importance of activities involving negotiation of meaning.
GE = general English. S = Speaking.5 2. R = reading. They ranged from the ages of 25 and 36. Below average F Middle school G3 (6M) In South Korea. M High school G3 (4Y) F Private lg school Gr. G2 (4Y). 8. TABLE 1 Background of survey participants Partici Sex pant Type of school 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Teaching experience Grade/type of class and length of time F Private lg school TOEFL (6M) Middle school Various (6M) F Middle school G2 & G3 (4Y) High school G3 (1.5Y). G2 (4Y). S&L Average/Above F Private lg school (1.5Y) F Middle school G1 (3Y). G3 (6M) Above average G1 (1Y). L = listening) . They were all native speakers of Korean with an intermediate to advanced level of English proficiency. Gr = grammar. and another two at both.5Y) G1 (3.5Y). and 12 for high school. GE. with three of them at a middle school. and 9 for middle school and grade 10. (lg = language. W = writing.5 8 2.5 7 6. R. F Middle school G3 (2Y) F High school G1 (1Y). three at a high school. Eight of them had experience teaching at a public school in South Korea. G2 (1Y) High school G1 (6M) G1 (1Y).5 5 8. 11. with an average of over 5 years.5Y) Standard of students Average Average Above average Average Above average Average Average Average Average Total years 1 5. The American equivalent would be grade 7. Their teaching experience varied from 1 to 8.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 35 were experienced ELT teachers doing their master’s in an ELT related field. G3 (5. TOEIC (2.5 Below average/Average Gr. R&W (1. and one had taught at a middle school and a private language institute.5 years.5Y). iBT TOEFL (2Y) average F High school G1 (8Y). G = grade. Two of the participants had taught elementary and middle school students at a private language institute. G2 (1Y). there are 3 grades in middle school and in high school.5 4.
& Morrison. Manion. However. Manion. open-ended and non-directive to allow participants to answer freely and to avoid influencing their responses (Mackey & Gass. The interviews were semi-structured and conducted in a systematic and consistent order. all of them chose to speak in English. All sixteen respondents were interviewed. but five of the interviews were discarded as the participants did not have adequate teaching experience to be able to answer the questions. The questions began with broad general questions and narrowed down to more specific ones to avoid being too direct and leading. An initial list of interview questions was made and used in a pilot interview. To make the participants as comfortable as possible the interviews were carried out in the familiar setting of their classrooms (Cohen. requesting volunteers to participate in the research. 2007). & Morrison. 2005). The recording for one interview was lost and the data from that interview was not included in this research. Sixteen responded. which lasted an average of 21 minutes. An email was sent to the 89 students attending the master’s program.2 Procedures The data in this research paper are from semi-structured interviews with ten participants. they were told to feel free to use their mother tongue or code-switch whenever they wanted so as to not be linguistically disadvantaged or reduce the quality of the data they provided. were recorded and transcribed verbatim to allow repetitive listening and in depth analysis. This allowed the interviewer to guide the conversation. The other participants had at least one year of teaching experience with the same set of either middle school or high school students in a classroom setting for at least one term. but only ten interviews were used in this study. digress. As the participants’ first language was Korean. Only the researcher had access to the data. but participants were given the option . and clarify answers (Mackey & Gass. 2007). 2005).36 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT 3. The data and participants remained confidential and were assigned a non-recognizable identification number. All the interviews. The interview questions were clear. A sample list of questions can be found in Appendix 1. and to probe further. while also putting the participants at ease early on the interview (Cohen.
This disassembling and reassembling of the data allowed me to identify evidence that could support or disconfirm some theories (Cohen. & Morrison. and (e) lack of support. Analysis of the data revealed that the teachers’ views on implementing TBLT in their classrooms centered around five themes. They are only the opinions of those ten participants. the data was analyzed. of which four held very positive views.R s l V e ut s All ten South Korean teachers were familiar with TBLT.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 37 to verify it at any time. After conducting all the interviews. 2007). Manion. Each transcript was analyzed to identify sections that pertained to these themes. (b) incompatibility with text-centered exams. but two intended to when they returned to their workplace. Due to the nonrandom selection of interviews and the limited scope and depth of the interviews. The following . the first being positive and the rest being negative: (a) increase in class participation. The number of times the participants referred to these new themes in the interviews was recorded. These themes were then further reanalyzed and regrouped into five themes as shown in Table 2. Recurrent themes and salient comments emerged from the data analysis. An inductive approach was taken in which general themes emerged from the data rather than being predefined and tested beforehand (Cohen. Five participants had experience using the approach. Manion. Data from the different participants were pooled and analyzed further. The other five participants had not used the approach. having studied it on their MA program. (c) time constraints. the data in this research report assignment does not necessarily adequately reflect the views of all EFL teachers in South Korea. but they may resonate with the views of others. However. & Morrison. (d) lack of language proficiency. data from the pilot interview and my prior knowledge about TBLT and the Korean education system provided some awareness of the issues that may be addressed. at least at the theoretical level. 2007). I. The data and categories were then reanalyzed and refined by grouping related themes and renaming them.
4. many of the students cannot have the chance to do something in the class. The approach allows students to be individually involved in what would otherwise be teacher-fronted whole group activities. For the large group..2 Incompatibility with Text-Centered Exams All ten teachers reported that the text-centered exam structure was a large constraint in using TBLT. Teachers who have used the approach reported that their ‘passive’ students became ‘passionate’ and ‘excited’ with task-based activities. I think is just one solution for those environments. it’s very effective because I cannot cover all the contents in one class. nine out of ten of them believed it would increase class participation. 4.1 Increase in Participation Although only half of the teachers have experience using a task-based approach in their classrooms. the students were able to ‘use’ language. So naturally. They reported that low motivation and a passive attitude were serious problems in their classes. rather than learn about it. (Teacher #10) The teachers associated TBLT with students having greater confidence in speaking in English and a more positive attitude towards learning English. the most important being the annual Korean Scholastic Aptitude Test. the students can have the time and opportunity to do something in the class. They commented that through TBLT. of which the English section does . They saw the approach as a way to increase student participation and apply what was learned in class. which are typical of South Korean public schools. One teacher saw TBLT as a solution to teaching multi-level classes with 30 to 35 students. They believed having students work together to complete tasks would get them interested and actively involved. it can be very helpful for them to participate in the content.. but TBLT.38 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT sections present the findings related to each category. In the large class and in the South Korean public school environment. By giving them some tasks related to the content.
By complaining that they could not use TBLT because of the test format. but we have to teach grammar and vocabulary. TABLE 2 Reported benefits and difficulties in implementing tBLT Initial Categories Final Categories No. of mentions1) 9 Benefits Opportunities to use English Increase in participation Positive attitude towards studying English Application to real life Difficulties Education system Incompatibility with assessment Incompatibility with text-centered exams 10 Incompatibility with the textbook Lack of time to veer from curriculum Time constraints 8 Lack of time to use tasks based approach Large. (Teacher #4) The teachers repetitively expressed the importance of helping their students achieve higher grades and better scores. but it doesn’t. All the teachers felt that the pressure and expectation to get their students ready for these crucial tests overrode the need to work on their English proficiency. [On the test]. multi-leveled classes Teachers Lack of language proficiency Lack of language proficiency 10 . If the KSAT tested communication skill. This can be seen in this teacher’s response: The problem is I want to teach communication. One private language school teacher stated that they had more pressure to improve their students’ test scores than regular school teachers because their students were paying customers and were there specifically to get better grades. the teachers had the underlying belief that the approach would not be appropriate in preparing their students for the test. we just have to figure out what the better answer is.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 39 not involve any direct speaking or writing components. it would be good. They reported that their school tests modeled the KSAT’s multiple choice format and text-focused content to help prepare their students for the national exam.
. . and colleagues Lack of support Resistance from parents and bosses Resistance from colleagues 6 4.40 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT Inexperience with TBLT Not convinced TBLT is a good approach Students Lack on language proficiency Lack of need for English Preference for traditional teaching style Parents. Another teacher stated: The important thing is efficiency.3 Time Constraints Another recurrent theme was lack of time. but I have to teach a lot of things... I have to convey that information. the teachers felt a teacher-fronted approach was much more efficient. (Teacher #9) The teachers also reported that they were too busy to prepare additional tasks to incorporate in their lessons. I know it’s my lame excuse. bosses. It’s not task-based designed. Many viewed it as time consuming. They reported the national textbooks were not suitable for TBLT and if they wanted to make their lessons more task-based.The teacher has to invest more time and at the same time. With the textbook. they would have to make additional material. (Teacher #5) 1) The maximum number of mentions possible for each of categories is 10. The collaborative nature of a task-based approach required time for students to discuss and work together. One teacher complained “I do not have enough time to cover all the content that I am required to cover within the given time” (Teacher #7). To maximize the limited class time. finish the course and have them assessed. For each lesson they had to cover a large amount of information and the teachers struggled to get through it all. that amount of information. teachers have to develop tasks.It’s hard to balance the task and the regular curriculum. Eight of the teachers complained that they had a full curriculum which allowed for few diversions..
I doubt its effectiveness because [for] TBLT.. Furthermore.. it’s a bit indirect. For beginners teacher should be explicit. (Teacher #1) Perceived lack of language proficiency for both the teachers and the students were large constraints for using TBLT. proficiency is a requisite. or both. But for beginners.. themselves. 4. either on the part of the students. It would be very helpful for advanced learners but for [the] average student.4 Lack of Language Proficiency All the teachers cited lack of speaking proficiency as a major problem. Even though they learned that kind of lesson using TBLT. the view that the government approved textbooks are inappropriate for TBLT indicates that policy makers need to take greater care in how they implement educational policies. Although the teachers were taking graduate level courses in English. such as TBLT. Even very proficient speakers expressed a lack of confidence in speaking in front of their students in English. they themselves felt they lacked the communicative and strategic competence to conduct their classes in English. Other teachers reported that their students preferred the traditional teacher-centered approach where the teachers taught in Korean. making it difficult to use collaborate and student centered forms of learning.. (Teacher #2) These teachers who voiced concerns about the students being either too low to use TBLT tended to be those who did not have much experience with the approach. some teachers felt their students’ language ability was too low for such an approach and questioned its effectiveness. However. . As TBLT requires collaborative group work to complete the tasks.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 41 The Ministry of Education has made great attempts to promote task based language learning in English education. [the students] really wanted to repeat that class using [the] traditional method. the curriculum requires a large amount of information to be covered.
For example. especially since they . taking a business-like approach rather than an educational one.. The teachers also expressed resistance from fellow colleagues who did not use such an approach.. (Teacher #6) When probed further. were said to have the interests of the parents in mind and not education per se. so they can see what the students are doing. Four of the five who had experience using TBLT reported that they had encountered this as a problem. and it was difficult for them to suggest using new approaches. students move around. they’ve installed CCTV. but did not know how to resolve the problem. they might complain. The parents feel sometimes they’re playing. and colleagues. Those teaching at a private language institute reported that their bosses.. when the students go back home and the parents ask what they’ve done.5 Lack of support Six teachers also reported experiencing resistance from parents. They alluded that older teachers were less open to change.. Many of the teachers expressed frustration at the situation. If my colleagues don’t agree with teaching English with TBLT. it looks like they’re playing. that can be one of the problems because they want to do the same thing. the students say something exciting.In my [private language institute].. while the other two hypothesized that this would be a problem. bosses. As one teacher stated: I have to work with another colleague for my grade. One teacher described her experience as follows: My boss doesn’t like [TBLT]. parents of students and bosses criticized their teaching methods because they felt that they were not teaching. The teachers complained that when they used tasks and activities. the teachers expressed that because they were generally younger and less experienced than their colleagues. This sometimes resulted in relational tension. For them. during the group work..If my students like my approach much more than theirs. (Teacher #8) Keeping the parents and bosses happy often meant taking a teaching approach that involved a transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the students.42 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT 4.And the parents.
tranquility is very important – not to bother other classes. Because most were unable to control the noise level of their classes. During the summer time it was very difficult for me to control their noise level.I l t sa d i t i s c o ao The findings reported in this research paper may have implications for the implementation of TBLT in other EFL contexts. including TBLT’s incompatibility with tests and lack of time. Although the obstacles make it difficult to implement TBLT.. so it can be very noisy. Data from the interviews revealed that. Sometimes they shout “This is not the answer.1 Assessment Reform Exam scores in South Korea are of immense importance in determin- . To help in the smooth implementation of TBLT in South Korea. in general. 5. In Korean classroom sentiment. they gave up on using a TBLT approach. Sometimes students got uncontrollable delving into what they’re doing. sometimes 8 groups.. attention should be given to the issues below. Sometimes the other teachers complained “What’s wrong with this class?” (Teacher #3) Again all the teachers reported that the older.. language ability and support are large deterrents. obstacles.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 43 tended to be less proficient in English. but have similar difficulties in implementing it. This must be the answer. more senior teachers tended to be the ones who complained about their ‘noisy’classes.” There are around 7 groups. V mpiain n Lmi t n . six of the ten teachers intend to use the approach in future classes. the teachers thought that TBLT would be an effective way to involve students in the class and they would like to use the approach. A more common concern from colleagues was the noise from TBLT lessons. However. Many policymakers and practitioners in different countries acknowledge the benefits of a task-based approach.
Such socio-cultural differences need to be carefully recognized and accounted for before trying to implement practices originating from different cultures (Bax. as cited in Littlewood. there are only four indirect speaking items and one to two indirect writing items (Choi. many high stake school exams in South Korea follow the KSAT multiple-choice format. Teachers will continue to be pressured by students. but in transmitting authoritative knowledge from teacher to students in an efficient and effective manner. the mandates of the National Curriculum are nullified. construct or apply knowledge.44 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT ing one’s future education and career opportunities.2 Adapt not Adopt Although the understanding of education is changing in South Korea. This view of the learning process and the role between teacher and student is contrary to the ideologies behind TBLT (Ellis. it is still viewed more as a process of accumulating knowledge and less as a process of constructing and using knowledge. Of the fifty items on the English section of the KSAT. 5. Policy makers must realize the contradictions of the educational policies and form of assessments. Without a radical change in its assessment methods. 1995. p. It is essential to include a spoken component to the KSAT and other high stake exams in South Korea if teachers are expected to use TBLT. 2003. which focus on oral communication and collaboration. 2007. 2002). 2008). it should be adapted to the local context. in their classrooms. of which reading and listening items carry the heaviest weight. Policy makers and practitioners alike should take an ‘ideological’ attitude to teaching. Without such changes. teachers will be hard pressed to do anything but teach to the test. collaborative-interactive approach of TBLT. which are not seen to help improve test results. Coleman . The focus of teaching is often not in getting students to create. As the culture of learning in South Korea conflicts with the student-centered. Currently. The preoccupation with high test scores has resulted in a dismissal of teaching approaches. 2003). Hu. such as TBLT. 246). not adopted. parents and school authorities to ignore the mandates of the National Curriculum and teach to the test (Shim & Baik.
247). 2007) Non-communicat Form-focused (grammar exercises. pronunciation drills) ive learning Pre-communicati Focus on language. and experience. His framework is as follows: . Teachers should also pay heed to Carless’s (2004) suggestion to adapt their lessons to fit their own abilities. but oriented towards meaning (questionve language and-answer practice to which everyone knows the answer) practice Predictable range of language. teachers in South Korea can start with non-communicative learning tasks and pre-communicative language practice and build progressively towards more meaning-oriented communication.. Littlewood’s (2007) five category framework for TBLT would be appropriate in gradually introducing the approach in South Korea. but used to convey inCommunicative formation (activities in which recently taught language use language practice to exchange information or conduct a survey amongst their classmates) . Careful study of the local needs and context is necessary to ensure an appropriate methodology is applied and not simply transferred from one context to another (Bax. beliefs. to activities in which the focus is clearly on the communication of meanings (p. Within this framework.. through activities in which there is still focus on form but meaning and communication are also important. substitution drills.Soo Ha (Sue) Yim 45 (1996) describes an ideological attitude as one which recognizes socio-cultural differences and does not transplant teaching approaches from one context to another.a continuum from activities which focus on discrete forms with no attention to meaning. 1995). 1992). Failure to recognize these differences may result in ‘tissue rejection’ (Holliday. as well as the context and the socio-cultural environment. TABLE 3 Framework for tBLT (Littlewood. in which methodologies which were successful in context are rejected in another.
Policy makers and teachers in South . The education should include special training for teaching young learners (Nunan. Its attempts to do this by encouraging communicative and task based instruction in the classroom and shifting from the prevalent teacher-fronted grammar and text oriented English education has proven to be difficult despite fourteen years passing since first prescribing the approaches.3 Teacher Training Teachers who have little or no experience using TBLT may be reluctant to use the approach. but structured to cope with existing language resources (complex information-exchange activities. teachers should be provided opportunities to attend teacher training programs with qualified instructors and consultants (Li. Teachers should therefore be supported through encouragement from their workplace. content-based tasks. V. structured role-playing tasks) Meaning-oriented. Furthermore. large-scale projects) 5. Colleagues and bosses should acknowledge the benefits of TBLT.46 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT Structured communication Authentic communication Focus on meaning.R c mme d t n n I lme tt n I eo n ai sa d mpe nai o o As in many countries. If the Ministry of Education hopes to have teachers implement the task-based approach. 2003) as well as a component where teachers can not only learn theories. but also practice them in classroom settings. especially since there is greater risk in losing face and being unable to handle students’ questions. the socio-cultural context of South Korea as a whole needs to be accounted for. 1998). particularly in speaking. be supportive of the teachers’ efforts and be tolerant of constructive noise. focus on communication of messages. language forms unpredictable (problem-solving. the South Korean Ministry of Education hopes to improve its population’s English proficiency. of which English assessment is perhaps the most important. 1998) to help build the teachers’ confidence in speaking in English. This training should also include a language skills component which emphasizes speaking and listening skills (Li.
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12. 12. Peer reviewed: 2009. . 11. 05.com Received: 2009. 12.50 South Korean Teachers’ Perceptions of TBLT Sue Yim Samsung Art and Design Institute sooha. Accepted: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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