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Ellis Task Based Language Teaching Korea 20064016
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Ellis Task Based Language Teaching Korea 20064016


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  • 1. Task-Based Language Teaching Rod Ellis University of Auckland
  • 2. Three Dimensions of Language Teaching
    • Goal (i.e. ‘why’ the language is being taught)
    • Content (i.e. ‘what’ is taught)
    • - Type A syllabuses
    • - Type B syllabuses
    • Methodology (i.e. ‘how’ it is taught)
    • - accuracy
    • - fluency
  • 3. Task-Based Teaching Fluency (i.e. focus on message conveyance) Type B (i.e. a series of message-focused tasks) Ability to communicate Methodology Content Goal
  • 4. Rationale for Using Tasks
    • Developing implicit knowledge – learners can best develop implicit knowledge of a second language incidentally through the effort to communicate.
    • Automatization – learners can only gain in fluency by attempting to use the L2 in real operating conditions.
  • 5. Defining a ‘Task’
    • A task is a goal directed.
    • A task involves a primary focus on meaning.
    • The participants choose the linguistic resources needed to complete the task.
    • A task has a clearly defined outcome.
  • 6. Types of Task
    • Unfocussed tasks
    • a. Pedagogic
    • b. Real world
    • Focused tasks
  • 7. An Example of a Pedagogic Task
    • Four students – each has one picture and describes it to the rest of the class.
    • Students from the rest of the class ask the four students questions about their pictures.
    • One student from the class tries to tell the story.
    • If necessary Steps 2 and 3 are repeated.
  • 8. Some Typical Pedagogic Tasks
    • Information-gap tasks (e.g. Same or Different)
    • Opinion-gap tasks (e.g. Balloon debates)
    • Reasoning-gap tasks
    • Personal tasks
    • Role-play tasks
    • Note: Tasks can be dialogic or monologic; they can be performed orally or in writing.
  • 9. A Real-World Task
    • Look at the e-mail message below. Listen to Mr. Pointer’s instructions on the tape. Make notes if you want to. Then write a suitable reply to Lesieur.
    • Dear Mr. Pointer
    • Please send flight number, date and time of arrival
    • and I will arrange for someone to meet you at the
    • airport.
    • Lesieur.
  • 10. A Focused Task
    • Can you spot the differences?
    • B
  • 11. A Focused Task
    • Can you spot the difference?
    • A
  • 12. Two Approaches to Using Tasks
    • Use tasks to support a Type A approach.
    • - task-supported teaching (Type A)
    • - weak form of communicative language teaching
    • Use tasks as the basis for teaching
    • - task-based teaching (Type B)
    • - strong form of communicative teaching
  • 13. Designing a Task-Based Curriculum
    • Select task types according to general level.
    • Determine the themes/topics of the tasks
    • Grade tasks in terms of task difficulty
    • Specify language/skills/ text types required to perform the task.
  • 14. The Methodology of Task-Based Teaching
    • Three phases in a task-based lesson:
    • Pre-task phase
    • Main task phase
    • Post-task phase
  • 15. The Pre-Task Phase
    • Some options:
    • Allow the students time to plan.
    • Provide a model
    • Do a similar task
    • Pre-teach key linguistic items
  • 16. The Main Task Phase
    • Some options:
    • Whole-class vs. small group work
    • Set a time for completing the task.
    • Vary the number of participants.
    • Introduce a surprise element.
    • Tell students they will have to present a report to the whole class.
  • 17. The Post-Task Phase
    • Some options:
    • Students give a report.
    • Repeat task (e.g. students switch groups)
    • Consciousness-raising activities.
  • 18. Focussing on Form
    • Opportunities to focus on form arise in task-based teaching:
    • Definition:
    • Focus on form … overtly draws students’ attention to linguistic elements as they arise incidentally in lessons whose overriding focus is on meaning or communication. (Long 1991)
    • cf. Focus on form s
  • 19. Three Types of Focus on Form
    • Reactive focus on form (error correction)
    • Teacher-initiated focus on form
    • Student-initiated focus on form
  • 20. Reactive Focus on Form: An Example
    • T : What were you doing?
    • S: I was in pub
    • (2)
    • S: I was in pub
    • T: In the pub?
    • S: Yeh and I was drinking beer with my
    • friend.
  • 21. Dual Focus
    • Learner 1: And what did you do last weekend?
    • Learner 2: … I tried to find a pub where you don’t see – where you don’t see many tourists. And I find one
    • Teacher: Found.
    • Learner 2: I found one where I spoke with two English women and we spoke about life in
    • Canterbury or things and after I came back
    • Teacher: Afterwards …
  • 22. Swan’s Critique of TBLT TBLT does not claim this is the only way Response Critique Assumption
  • 23. Swan’s Critique of TBLT Agreed. TBLT serves as an approach for developing all aspects of an L2. Learning another language is as much about learning vocabulary as grammar TBLT prioritizes the acquisition of grammar. Incidental attention to form is extensive; some of it hits and some of misses. Enough hits to make it effective for acquisition. The evidence for developmental sequences is limited; if they do exist they also nullify incidental focus on form The existence of developmental sequences makes a structural syllabus unworkable. TBLT is not dependent on conscious noticing; it caters to both conscious and unconscious learning. Not all acquisition involves conscious attention to form. Conscious noticing of form is necessary for acquisition. It is not the only way; but it is the most efficient way to develop the implicit knowledge needed for fluent communicative use. There is no evidence to show that this is the only way acquisition takes place. Acquisition takes place on-line during communication, Response Swan’s Critique Assumption
  • 24. The Danger of Piginization
    • L1: 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).
    • But tasks can be structured to promote more complex and accurate interaction.
  • 25. The Teacher’s Role
    • Swan denigrates TBLT on the basis that the teacher is relegated to the role of manager and facilitator of interaction.
    • But the teacher can also be supplier of input and also a source of feedback. Not all TBLT lessons are learner-centred.
  • 26. Input and Output
    • Swan –
    • “ It remains true that TBI provides learners with substantially less new language than traditional approaches. This seems a serious weakness.”
    • Tasks can involve all four skills. Many tasks involve input only (i.e. are listening or reading tasks).
  • 27. Pedagogic Problems and Solutions Use small group work; allow planning time; learner training 2. Students unwilling to speak English in class. Devise activities that develop ability to communicate gradually. 1. Students lack proficiency to communicate in the L2 Solution Problem
  • 28. Problems with the Educational System and Solutions Use small group work; develop tasks suited to large classes. 3. Large classes Develop new more communicative exams 2. Examination system Review philosophy of education. 1. Emphasis on ‘knowledge’ learning Solutions Problems
  • 29. Conclusions
    • Task-based teaching offers the opportunity for ‘natural’ learning inside the classroom.
    • It emphasizes meaning over form but can also cater for learning form.
    • It is intrinsically motivating.
    • It is compatible with a learner-centred educational philosophy but also allows for teacher input.
    • It caters to the development of communicative fluency while not neglecting accuracy.
    • It can be used alongside a more traditional approach.