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3.Task-Based Language Teaching

Task-Based Language Teaching

1. Revision
1) What are the differences between the traditional foreign language teaching and language use in real life?
2) How can we bridge the big gap between these two?

2. Task-based Language Teaching
Besides CLT, there has been another language teaching approach which has become more and more popular from late 1980s, that is, Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT).

2.1 What is the relationship between the TBLT and CLT?
? “TBLT” is a further development of CLT. It shares the same beliefs, as language should be learned as close as possible to how it is used in real life. ? “TBLT” has stressed the importance to combine form-focused teaching with communicationfocused teaching.

2.2 Definition of task
A task is a piece of work undertaken for oneself or for others, freely or for some reward. It is meant what people do in everyday life, at work, at play, and in between. (Long 1985:89) 任务是人们在日常生活中所从事的有目的的活 动。

What people do in everyday life:
painting a fence, dressing a child, filling out a form, buying a pair of shoes, borrowing a library book, taking a driving test, making an airline reservation, writing a check, finding a street destination, etc.


? A task is an activity or action which is carried out as the result of processing or understanding language ( i.e. as a response). (Richards, Platt and Weber 1986:289) 任务=人们在学习、理解、体会语言之后所 开展的活动。

Listening to a weather forecast and deciding what to wear Looking at a set of pictures and decide what should be done Responding to a party invitation Completing a banking application

Describing a photograph of one’s family




2.3 Four components of a task

Purpose: Exchanging personal information

Context: Questionnaire on learning habits
Teacher role: Monitor and facilitator Learner role: Conversational partner Setting: Classroom / pair work Process: 1) Reading questionnaire

2) Asking and answering questions about learning habits

2.4 What are not tasks?
? Tasks do not include activities which involve language used for practice or display, such as ‘ Describe the picture using the words and phrases from the list below’ or ‘ Ask your partner if he likes the food listed here using the forms Do you like…? Yes, I do/ No, I don’t. where there is no outcome or purpose other than practice of prespecified language.

focus situation outcome language form no situation meaning


real-life situation accomplishment of task

correct form

practice of assigned form choice of form and content immediate correction delayed correction


Check if they are tasks or not:
Activity 1: Listen to Alex and Joe. Number the

Activity 2: Listen again. Fill in the blanks with the correct verbs from the box.

Activity 3: On a piece of paper, write about your life in ten years. Don’t write your name on the paper. Put all the students’ paper together. Take turns reading the papers, Then guess who wrote them.

Activity 4: Read the letter to Aunt Chen’s

column and then write some advice.

Activity 5: Listen and choose the correct picture.

Activity. A dangerous moment
Student A Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your life was in danger? Describe the situation to your partner. Tell him/her what happened. Give an account of how you felt when you were in danger and afterwards. Student B

Listen to your partner’s narration about a dangerous moment in his/her life. Draw a picture to show what happened to your partner. Show him/her your picture when you have finished it.

2.5 Definition of TBLT
Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT) refers to an approach based on the use of tasks as the core unit of instruction in language. 任务型教学就是以具体的任务为学习动力或 动机,以完成任务的过程为学习的过程,以 展示任务成果的方式(而不是以测试的分数) 来体现教学的成就。
—陈 琳 王 蔷 程晓堂(2002:104-105)

所谓任务型语言教学,其核心思想就是要模 拟人们在社会、学校生活中人们运用语言所 从事的各类活动,把语言教学与学习者在今 后的日常生活中的语言应用结合起来。 —转引自张琳琳(2004)

Involvement Inquiry Induction Incorporation

learning by doing


learning for using learning by using learning then using

Four dimensions of teaching and learning tasks represented by the “four eyes” : Involvement (参与), Inquiry (探究), Induction(归纳), Incorporation (整合).

2.6 Features of TBLT
1. An emphasis on learning to communicate
through interaction in the target language.

2. The introduction of authentic texts into the

learning situation.

3. Provision of opportunities for learners to

focus, not only on language itself, but also
on the learning process. 关注语言的本身,也关注学习的过程 4. An enhancement of the learners’ own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning. 学习者的个人经历对语言学习具有重要意义

5. An attempt to link classroom language

learning with language activation outside
the classroom. 试图把课内的语言学习与社会的语言活动结 合起来。

2.7 Three phases in a task-based lesson

1.Pre-task phase;
2.While (During) -task phase; 3.Post-task phase

Pre-task phase:
Some options:

? ?


On general cognitive demands of the task 对任务要求的总体感知 An emphasis on linguistic factors 关注语言因素 Supporting learners in performing a task similar to the task they will perform in the during-task phase of the lesson 让学生做一些在后面完成任务时需要的准备工作 Non-task preparation activities --- brain storming 大脑风暴 --- mind map 思维图

While-task phase:
Some options: 1. Structure: whole-class vs. small group work; individual or interaction 2. Set a time for completing the task. 3. Vary the number of participants. 4. Introduce a surprise element. 5. Tell students they will have to present a report to the whole class. ? pair and group work are seen as central to taskbased teaching

Post-task phase:
Some options: -- to provide an opportunity for a repeating performance of the task(提供再做任务的机会) -- to encourage reflection on how the task was performed(反思任务是怎样完成的) -- to encourage attention to form(关注语言的形式)

2.8 Appropriateness of TBLT in the Chinese context?
a. Beginning with production, TBLT might weaken the input and language form practice. b. It is very difficult for the designers to select, grade and sequence the tasks scientifically.

c. It neglects the differences between different cultures.

TBLT places a high demand on the teachers and classroom conditions (the teachers’ English proficiency, the big class size, the limited class time, the lack of language situation, the test-oriented language learning, the assessment system,etc.).


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