TBL (Task based learning)


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TBL (Task based learning)

  1. 1. TBL Task Based Learning
  2. 2. What is Task Based Learning • Task-based language learning (TBLL), also known as task-based language teaching (TBLT) or task-based instruction (TBI) focuses on the use of authentic language and on asking students to do meaningful tasks using the target language. Such tasks can include visiting a doctor, conducting an interview, or calling customer service for help. Assessment is primarily based on task outcome (in other words the appropriate completion of tasks) rather than on accuracy of language forms. This makes TBLL especially popular for developing target language fluency and student confidence.
  3. 3. Definition of a Task • According to Rod Ellis (2007), a task has four main characteristics: • A task involves a primary focus on (pragmatic) meaning. • A task has some kind of ‘gap’. • The participants choose the linguistic resources needed to complete the task. • A task has a clearly defined outcome.
  4. 4. Historical Background • Task-Based Learning, one of the most talked- about recent methods, can be traced back to the ‘strong’ Communicative Approach, where teaching is done entirely through communicative tasks. There is no set grammar syllabus. Focusing on language use after a task has been completed is widely accepted as an aid to acquisition, and task repetition gives students the chance to practice new language.
  5. 5. The Communicative Approach • The Communicative Approach grew out of sociolinguistics in the 1970s and the view that there is more to communication than just grammar and vocabulary. Communication involves ‘communicative competence’ – the ability to make yourself understood in socially appropriate ways. • Nowadays most teachers and students take the need for real communication in class for granted, but English as a Foreign Language (EFL) history clearly shows that this has not always been the case! Within the Communicative Approach itself the precise role of communication is debated. The so-called ‘weak’ form of the approach sees communicative activities as opportunities for students to practice new language and develop fluency. A weak version of language teaching using this approach might simply mean adding more opportunities to communicate to a traditional grammar based curriculum.
  6. 6. GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF TBL *It`s based on the use of tasks. *Students learn by interacting. *It`s focused on the use of authentic language. *Errors are part of a natural learning. *The focus is on process rather than product.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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)
  9. 9. 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)
  10. 10. • 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
  11. 11. • Finally, Pica (1994) distinguishes between interactional activity and communicative goals. TBL draws on all three models of language theory.
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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)
  14. 14. • 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
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. • Tasks are considered to be the pivot point for stimulation of input-output practice, negotiation of meaning and transactionally focused conversation.
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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”
  19. 19. • 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.
  20. 20. 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.
  21. 21. • 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)
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. Types of Tasks • According to…  Breen: a language learnig task is a structured plan for the provision of opportunities for the refinement of knowledge and capabilities entailed in a new language and its use during communication. Such a work plan will have its own particular objective, appropriate content which is to be worked upon and a working procedure…a simple and brief exercise is a task; any language test can be included within the spectrum of tasks.
  24. 24.  For Prabhu, a task is “an activity which requires learners to arrive at an outcome from given information thriugh some process of thought, and which allows teachers to control and regulate that process. E.g.: reading train timetables and deciding which train one should take to get to a certain destination on a given day.
  25. 25.  Crookes defines a task as “a piece of work or an activity, usually with a specified objective, undertaken as part of an educational course, at work, or used to elicit data for research.”  Willis proposes six task types. She labels her task examples as follows: 1. Listing 2. Ordering and sorting 3. Comparing 4. Problem solving 5. Sharing personal experiences 6. Creative tasks
  26. 26.  Pica, Kanagy and Falodun classify tasks according to the type of interaction that occurs in task accomplishment and give the following classification:  Jigsaw tasks: these involve learners combining different pieces of information to for a whole. E.g.: Learners in three groups hear different versions of an encounter with aliens. Together with other learners, they complete comprehension questions based on all three descriptions of the encounter.
  27. 27.  Information-gap tasks: one student or group of students has one set of information and another student or group has a complementary set of information. E.g.: Learner A has a biography of a famous person with all the place names missing, whilst Learner B has the same text with all the dates missing. Together they can complete the text by asking each other questions.  Problem-solving tasks.  Decision-making tasks: students are given a problem for whichthere are a number of possible outcomes and they must choose one throgu negotiation and discussion.  Opinion exchange tasks: learners engage in discussion and exchange of ideas. They do not need to reach agreement.
  28. 28. Other characteristics of tasks: 1) One-way or two way: whether the task involves a one-way exchange of information or a two-way exchange. 2) Convergent or divergent: whether the students achieve a common goal or several different goals. 3) Collaborative or competitive. 4) Single or multiple outcomes. 5) Concrete or abstract language. 6) Simple or complex processing: whether the task requires simple or complex cognitive processing. 7) Simple or complex language. 8) Reality-based or not reality-based: whether the task mirrors a real world activity or is a pedagogical activity not found in the real world.
  29. 29. Learner Roles Primary roles that are implied by task work are: GROUP PARTICIPANT: many tasks will be done in pairs or in small groups. MONITOR: in TBL, tasks are not employed for their own sake but as a means of facilitating learning. Class activities have to designed so that students have the opportunity to notice how language is used in communication. RISK-TAKER AND INNOVATOR: many tasks will require learners to create and interpret messages for which they lack full linguitic resources and prior experience. The skills of guessing from linguistic and contextual clues, asking for clarification and consulting with other learners may also need to be developed.
  30. 30. Teacher Roles SELECTOR AND SEQUENCER OF TASKS: a central role of the teacher is in selecting, adapting and/or creating the tasks themselves and then forming these into an instructional sequence in keeping with learner neeeds, interests and language skill level. PREPARING LEARNERS FOR TASKS: activities might include topic introduction, clarifying task instructions, helping students learn or recall useful words and phrases to facilitate task accomplishment and providing partial demonstration of task procedures.
  31. 31. The Role of Instructional Materials Materials that can be exploited for instruction in TBLT are limited only by the imagination of the task designer.  Realia: the use of authentic tasks supported by authentic maerials wherever possible. The following are some of the task types that can be built around such media products:  Newspapers E.g.: students prepare a job-wanted ad using examples form the classified section.  Television E.g.: after watching an episode of an unknown soap opera, students list characters and their possible relationship to other characters in the episode.  Internet E.g.: students initiate a “chat” in a chat room, indicating a current interest in their life and developing an answer to the first three people to respond.
  32. 32. PROCEDURE
  33. 33. Example of a TBL lesson plan PRE-TASK • What do you think is the strangest animal in the world? Discuss in pais. TASKS • What do you think the platypus is like? Draw and write the names of the parts of the body. • Each compares their drawing with their friend’s. • The teacher shows a picture of a platypus to the students. They compare the picture to the one they have drawn.
  34. 34. • The teacher now displays another picture of this animal with some new vocabulary included (adjective+part of the body). Students should see this picture for half a minute and then include to their drawings as many vocabulary as they can remember. They compare their results in pais and hey report results to the class. • In pairs, students discuss what characteristics they think this animal may have according to his body (habitat, alimentation, reproductive cycle, etc). • Students watch a fragment of a documentary and find out information about the platypus. On a second watching, they should complete a chart with the required information. • Students report results to the class.
  35. 35. LANGUAGE FOCUS • Students do some practice on the new vocabulary and collocations learnt thoughout the lesson. While correcting, the teacher goes back to the topic and engages students in conversation.