Content based, task-based, and participatory approaches
Practice II – 2014
It integrates the learning of language with the
learning of some other content, often
academic subject matter.
“Language across the curriculum” movement
(1970s) to integrate the teaching of
reading and writing into all other subject
1) The subject matter content is used for language
2) Teaching should build
on students’ previous
3) Learners are motivated when they perceive
the relevance of their language use. It is a means
to an end.
4) The teacher ‘scaffolds’
the linguistic content.
6) Vocabulary: easily
acquired with contextual
5) Language: learned effectively when used
to deliver interesting information.
7) Students need language support.
8) Learners work with cognitively demanding
language & content.
9) Communicative competence: ability to read,
discuss & write about content from other fields.
It aims to provide learners with a natural
context for language use.
Learners have plenty of opportunities to
1) Activities have a perceived purpose
and a clear outcome.
2) Teacher goes through a pre-task with
the students before they work individually.
3) The demand on thinking made by the
activity should be i + 1.
4) Teacher needs to know how involved the
students are, so as to make adjustments in their
perceptions of relevance and their readiness
5) Teacher uses whatever language necessary
to ensure students’ comprehension.
6) Teacher supplies the correct target form.
7) Students complete a task and engage in
authentic speaking and listening which enables
them to develop their comprehension and
8) Students receive feedback based on the
content. The focus is on meaning.
9) Students have input into the design & the
way of completing the task. This gives them
more opportunity for authentic, meaningful
It was originated in the early ‘60s with the work
of Paulo Freire.
Goal: to help students understand
the social, historical, or cultural
forces that affect their lives & to
help empower Ss to take action
and make decisions in order to
gain control over their lives.
1) What happens in the classroom should
be connected with what happens outside
that has relevance to the students.
2) The curriculum is the result of
an ongoing context-specific
3) Education is most effective when it is
experienced-centered. Ss are motivated
by their personal involvement.
4) Knowledge becomes a tool to help
students find a voice so as to act in the
world (social & political beings).
5) Focus on linguistic form occurs within a focus
on content. Language skills are taught in
service of action for change.
6) Students can create their own materials,
which can become texts for other students.
7) Goal: Ss evaluate their own learning and
direct it themselves.
The three approaches share the basic
assumption of learning to communicate by
Their differences lie in what they use as a
starting point to communicate:
Content-based uses the content from other subjects.
Task-based uses different tasks to promote communication.
Participatory approach uses the experiential knowledge of