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  1. 1. TBL Task Based Learning
  2. 2. APPROACH • Theory of language TBL is mainly motivated by a theory of learning. However, there are several assumptions about the nature of language: • Language is primarily a means of making meaning • Multiple models of language inform TBL • Lexical units are central in language use and learning. • “Conversation” is the central focus of language and the keystone of language acquisition.
  3. 3. Language is primarily a means of making meaning TBL emphasizes the central role of MEANING in language use. “Meaning is primary […] the assessment of a task is in terms of OUTCOME. […] Task based instruction in NOT concerned with language display” (Skehan 1998:98)
  4. 4. Multiple models of language inform TBL • Advocates of TBL draw on STRUCTURAL, FUNCTIONAL and INTERACTIONAL models of language. • Structural criteria is employed by Skehan , for example, when determining the linguistic complexity of tasks: “Language is seen as less – to – more complex in fairly traditional ways. […] Linguistic complexity is interpretable as constrained by structural syllabus considerations” (Skehan 1998: 99)
  5. 5. • A Functional classification of tasks is proposed by Berwick. He distinguishes between Task goals (educational goals with a clear didactic function) and social goals (those which require the use of language simply because the of the activity in which the participants are engaged in) • Foster and Skehan (1996) propose a three-way functional distinction of tasks: • Personal • Narrative • Decision – making
  6. 6. • Finally, Pica (1994) distinguishes between interactional activity and communicative goals. TBL draws on all three models of language theory.
  7. 7. Lexical units are central in language use and language learning • Vocabulary has been considered to play a more central role in second language learning and, here, includes: • Lexical phrases • Sentence stems • Prefabricated routines • Collocations
  8. 8. Skehan incorporates this perspective: “[…]Linguists and psycholinguistics have argued that native language speech processing is very frequently lexical in nature. […] Speech processing is based on the production and reception of whole phrase units larger than the word […] which do not require any internal processing. […] Fluency concerns the learner's capacity to produce language in real time” (Skehan 1996b: 21-22)
  9. 9. • Theory of Learning TBL shares assumptions about the nature of language learning underlying Communicative Language Teaching, but some additional principles play a central role: • Tasks provide both the input and output processing necessary for language acquisition • Task activity and achievements are motivational • Learning difficulty can be negotiated and fine- tuned for particular pedagogical purposes
  10. 10. Tasks provide both the input and output processing necessary for language acquisition • Tasks, it is said, provide full opportunities for both input and output requirements, which are believed to be key processes in language learning • Plough and Gass (1993) have included “negotiation of meaning” as a necessary element in acquisition. • Tasks are believed to foster processes of negotiation, modification, rephrasing and experimentation that are at the heart of second language learning.
  11. 11. • Tasks are considered to be the pivot point for stimulation of input-output practice, negotiation of meaning and transactionally focused conversation.
  12. 12. Task activity and achievement are motivational Tasks are also said to improve learner motivation and therefore promote learning, because they: • Require the learner to use authentic language • Have a well defined dimension and closure • Are varied in format an operation • Include physical activity • Involve partnership and collaboration • May call on the learner's past experience • Tolerate and encourage a variety of communication styles
  13. 13. Learning difficulty can be negotiated and fine- tuned for particular pedagogical purposes • Specific tasks can be designed to facilitate the use and learning of particular aspects of language • Long and Crookes(1991) state that tasks “provide a vehicle for the presentation of appropriate target language samples […] and for the delivery of comprehension and production opportunities of negotiable difficulty”
  14. 14. • Skehan (1998) suggests that in selecting or designing tasks there is a trade off between cognitive processing and focus on form: if the task is too difficult, fluency may develop at the expense of accuracy. • Tasks can be used to “channel” learners toward particular aspects of language.
  15. 15. DESING • Objectives Goals in TBL are ideally to be determined by the specific needs of particular learners. The selection of tasks, according to Long and Crookes (1993), should be based on a careful analysis of the real world needs of the learners.
  16. 16. • The syllabus TBL is more concerned wit the process dimensions of learning than with the specific content and skills that might be acquired through the use of these processes. A TBL syllabus specifies TASKS Nunan (1989) suggest a syllabus with two types of tasks: • Real world tasks: designed to practice or rehearse those tasks that are found to be important and useful in the real world (Example: booking a flight) • Pedagogical tasks: they have a psycholinguistic basis in SLA theory and research but do not necessarily reflect real world tasks. (Example: information gap task)
  17. 17. The order of tasks has also to be determined. “Task difficulty” has been proposed as a basis for the sequencing of tasks, but the concept itself is difficult to determine. Honeyfield (1993) offers these considerations: 1) Procedures (what learners have to do to derive output from input) 2) Input text 3) Output required (including language, skills, discourse knowledge and world knowledge) 4) Amount and type of help 5) Role of teachers and learners 6) Time 7) Motivation 8) Confidence 9) Learning styles