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What is task based learning? Task-based approach is a teaching technique that involves classroom activitiesand the understanding and application of the target language and interactionamong learners. It focuses on the meaning rather than the form of language andthe task itself should be a complete unit which can be related to fulfilling anindependent social activity. The purpose of task-based approach is to providelearners a natural and real environment to use language in which they will getmany opportunities to communicate in the target language when they are trying tocomplete the task so as to acquire those language skills.
Task-based approach has been widely applied since the 1980s. It profits fromtheories like Krashen’s second language acquisition, Vigotsky’s constructivismtheory and many others. Task-based approach is a dynamic and developingteaching method which advocates learning and training language knowledge andskills when completing tasks.Teachers are no longer just initiators but guides, nor are learners just receiversbutprincipal agents. Through this approach, learners will learn how to make full use oftheir own communicative ability to transfer from mother language to targetlanguage. It provides an opportunity for them to learn together and mobilizes theirpotential.
Stages1.Pre-task: Topics and tasks are introduced in pre-task stage. Teachers introducetasks to learners (Willis, 1996). They present necessary knowledge, explain therequirements and procedures of the task in details and help familiarize them withthe topic, vocabulary and expressions. In this stage, teachers should take theindividual differences among learners into account.2. Task cycle: Task cycle can be divided into three parts: task, planning andreport(Willis, 1996).i) Task. In this part, learners are given plenty of chances to express their ideas intarget language. The fluency of language is emphasized. Learners implementtasks in pairs or groups. Teachers supervise the process without interrupting theirspeech and correcting their errors so that the learners feel safe to express
b) Planning. This part is the preparation for report. Each group is getting ready toshow classmates their process and achievements of the task. Since learners haveto report publicly, emphasis of language naturally transfers from fluency toaccuracy. In this part, teachers should give suggestions and correct grammar.c) Report. Several learners report to the class while other learners should listencarefully and compare those reports. In this way, all the learners are involved. Atlast, teachers should be commentators to assess the implementation condition oftasks.
3. Language focus: Learning by doing motivates learners to fulfill their potential.Learners master the language by using it communicatively in the classroom, andthey still have to learn grammar and memorize vocabulary. Teachers leadlearners’ attention to language forms. Some exercises are necessary toconsolidate the learnt knowledge and improve their sensitivity to language form. Itis divided into two parts:a) Analysis. The purpose in this part is to help learners explore the usage oflanguage, become aware of syntax, phrase arrangements and vocabulary etc.; andhelp them to systemize the language features they observed in learning process,so as to discover new language knowledge.
b) Practice. It is necessary for learners to do some exercises under the guide ofteachers.This part makes the whole teaching procedure be accepted by learners moreeasily. It also functions as a conclusion of the whole teaching procedure.
REFERENCESWillis, J. (1996) A Framework of Task-based Learning. London: Addison-Wesley.