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Task-based Language Teaching


Task-based Language Teaching
---Wang Aihua

Questions
? 1.Task-based teaching studies the characteristics of different sorts of activities. In this action, what kind of benefits would you expect? What kind of students would you produce? ? 2. Go back over the various ways of conveying language we have illusatrated. Consider whether each is better described as inductive or deductive. ? 3."Language teaching " is seen as the process whereby the learner is taught how to say what he has decided he wants to say. What attempt can you put the learners in a situation where they will have a desire to communicate.

Question 1
? 1.Task-based teaching studies the characteristics of different sorts of activities. In this action, what kind of benefits would you expect? What kind of students would you produce?

Task-based Teaching
? 1. Introduction ? 2. Definition of task ? 3. Task design principles

1. Introduction
? Task-based Language Teaching is an influential teaching approach which was first started and radically established since 1980s. In fact, it is a further development of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). It is first advocated by N.S.Prabhus, and then a lot of studies and experiments have been done on it by many other researchers and linguists. It is becoming popular in China, beginning in 1990s; Chinese language educators began to introduce the approach to English teaching and challenged the traditional language teaching in 2001.

1. Introduction
?
TBLT has been tried owing to the fact that so much second or foreign language classroom practice is teacher-dominated and focuses on forms. TBLT uses tasks to stimulate real communication in the target language in classroom, therefore creating a real purpose for language use and providing a natural context for language study.

2. Definition of Task
? Prabhu(1987)regarded that “A task is an activity which required learners to arrive at an outcome from given information through some process of thought, and which allowed teachers to control and regulate that process.”

2. Definition of Task
? Nunan ( 1989 ) thought “ The communicative task is a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form.” Also he analyzed the framework of communicative tasks from the following six aspects: 1) goals; 2) input; 3) activities; 4) settings; 5) learner role; 6) teacher role.

2. Definition of Task
? While, Skehan(1998) defined a task as an activity in which 1) meaning is primary; 2) learners are not given other people's meanings to regurgitate; 3)there is some sort of relationship to comparable real-world activities ; 4) task completion has priority , and 5) the assessment of the task is in term of outcome.

2. Definition of Task
? Richards(2001)considers a task as an activity or a goal that is carried out using language, such as finding a solution to a puzzle, reading a map and giving directions, making a telephone call, writing a letter, or reading a set of instructions and assembling a toy.

2. Definition of Task
? From the above varied definitions, we can easily find out at least three basic features of one task: 1) to attain an objective 2) meaning is emphasized; 3) communication-oriented and requiring the language to be used.

2. Definition of Task
? To sum up, task could be defined basically as follows: ? A task is an activity that requires learners to use the target language, with meaning at the core, to achieve an objective.

2. Definition of Task
? Examples of tasks: 1.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. 2.You are at a job interview and want to get this job very Much. Answer the questions posed by the interviewer played by another student.

2. Definition of Task
? Task versus exercise ? However, task is different from exercise. Compared with exercise, task has a nonlinguistic outcome while the latter has a linguistic outcome. A distinction can be made between tasks and exercises: tasks are the activities where focus is on meaning while exercises are activities where focus is on form. Littlewood (2004) thinks activities can be classified according to a continuum with varying degrees of focus on form and meaning with two ends labeled as exercises and tasks. The continuum can be roughly divided into five parts.

2. Definition of Task
From this table, it can be seen that authentic communication, which refers to tasks, and non-communicative learning, which refers to exercises, stand for two extremes, between which there exist three intermediate parts marking a gradual shift from focus on forms to focus on meaning. Thus, it is obvious that an exercise differs from a task in that the former is for learners to acquire grammatical knowledge, while a task serves as a means to develop learners’ linguistic abilities through communicative activities.

3. Task Design Principles
? ? ? ? ? 3.1 Authenticity 3.2 Form-function 3.3 Task dependency 3.4 Learning by doing 3.5 Scaffolding

3.1 Authenticity
? The linguistic data that learners work with should be authentic. Task should provide learners with explicit and authentic information from the real world. The relationship between linguistic form and communicative function are clear to the learner. ? Also, the language environment and language form need to be coherent with the practical language function and regular pattern so that learners can experience and master language in a real or simulated situation. And it is important to combine the tasks with learners’ personal experience and social life.

3.3 Task Dependency
? Nunan (1999, 2004) suggests task dependency as another principle in TBLT. He (2004: 35) thinks within a lesson, one task should grow out of and build upon the ones that have gone before. In this way, a series of tasks in a lesson or unit of work forms a kind of pedagogical ladder, each task representing a rung on the ladder, enabling the learner to reach higher and higher levels of communicative performance (Nunan 1999: 30). It seems that principle of the task dependency serves as an instructional sequence of a series of tasks and learners are led step by step till they finish the last task in this sequence.

3.4 Learning by Doing
? The teachers should direct learners to learn language by performing specific activities, to conduct language activities for the special purposes and enjoy the happiness of success through completing certain communicative tasks. ? Learning by doing motivates students to fulfill their potential and enhance their interest as well as enthusiasm in learning. Learners master the language by using it communicatively in the classroom, although they still have to learn grammar and memorize vocabulary.

3.5 Scaffolding
? Proper concerns and supports should be given to learners in language teaching, just as scaffold for constructing a building. ? Language learning is a gradually developing process in which sufficient help given by teacher is significant for learner’s progress. Scaffolding is a process of ‘setting up’ the situation to make the child’s entry easy and successful and then gradually pulling back and handing the road to the child as he becomes skilled enough to manage it.

Task-based Teaching
? 1. Introduction ? 2. Definition of task ? 3. Task design principles

Question 1

? 1.Task-based teaching studies the characteristics of different sorts of activities. In this action, what kind of benefits would you expect? What kind of students would you produce?

Benefits
? 1 . It provides an interactive learning environment to promote interactive language learning and the opportunity for authentic use of the target language. Such interactive language learning experience is in congruence with the discourse-based second language acquisition theories which emphasize the role communicative interaction plays in second language learning.

Benefits
? 2. Task-based language teaching ensures the learnercenteredness. It challenges the traditional teaching model during which it is always teacher-centered and too much emphasis is laid on linguistic knowledge and grammar. With TBLT, the teacher can designs teaching tasks and get the students involved in the learning activities. So the students may cooperate with each other and think actively by practicing English. Here teacher may be a task-designer, a hierophant, a monitor, or an assess mentor. What role would the teacher play depends on the step of the task.

Benefits
? 3.In the course of accomplishing the assigned tasks by the teacher, students are required to cooperate or discuss with each other by communicating frequently, so learning now becomes more active and activities become more communicative, which may improve their ability of cooperative language learning a n d a u t o n o m o u s l e a r n in g a s w e l l a s communication.

Benefits
? 4. TBLT combines the input and output properly. Different linguistic features and integration of the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) could be easily acquired by learning by doing. So, TBLT may help enhance learners’ learning motivation and acquisition of the target language. In addition to that, it may as well develop students’ language awareness, enabling them to perceive and understand patterns and then apply them in their own speech and writing.

Students
? 1.Under the task-based language teaching, students play a central role in the completion of the task by real communication in the target language.Students learn better when provided with more opportunities in class to use the target language and it is the learner, not the teacher, who does most of the work in class.

Students
? 2.Students pay their great attention to meaning rather than form while they are involved in in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language in the completion of various tasks.

Students
? 3.For the students, the authentic material used in the completion of various tasks will sustain interest, increase enjoyment and build confidence, enabling students to communicate successfully and fluently.Besides, students’ abilities in creative thinking and problemsolving are well cultivated.

Question 2

? 2. Go back over the various ways of conveying language we have illusatrated. Consider whether each is better described as inductive or deductive.

? 1.Deductive& Inductive ? 1.1 Deductive teaching ? 1.2 Inductive teaching ? 2.Ways of conveying language

1.Deductive& Inductive
? Deductive and inductive refer to two distinct logical processes. ? Deductive reasoning is a movement from a generalization to specific. ? In the case of inductive reasoning, one stores a number of specific instances and induces a general law or rule or conclusion that governs or subsumes the specific instances.

1.1Deductive Teaching
? What is deductive teaching? ? A deductive approach to instruction is a more teacher-centered approach. This means that the teacher gives the students a new concept, explains it, and then has the students practice using the concept.

1.1Deductive Teaching
? The limitations and advantages of deductive learning. ? According to Bob Adamson, “The deductive method is often criticized because: ? a) it teaches grammar in an isolated way; ? b) little attention is paid to meaning; ? c) practice is often mechanical.” ? This method can, however, be a viable option in certain situations; for example, when dealing with highly motivated students, teaching a particularly difficult concept, or for preparing students to written exams.

1.2Inductive Teaching
? What is inductive teaching? ? The Socratic method, dating back to the early Greeks, emphasizes the importance of inductive reasoning and dialogue in the teaching process (Gil strap et al. 1975). Bruner (1960, 1962, 1966) emphasizes the importance of discovery learning and how te a c h ers c ou ld h e lp le a rn e r s be co me "constructivists" or "constructionists" or builders of their own knowledge.

1.2Inductive Teaching
? In contrast with the deductive method, inductive instruction makes use of student “noticing”. ? Instead of explaining a given concept and following this explanation with examples, the teacher presents students with many examples showing how the concept is used. ? The intent is for students to “notice”, by way of the examples, how the concept works.

1.2Inductive Teaching
? Inductive teaching methods: ? inquiry learning, ? problem-based learning, ? project-based learning, ? case-based teaching, ? discovery learning.

2.Ways of Conveying Language
? 2.1Explanation ? 2.2Dialogues \written texts

Question 2

? 2. Go back over the various ways of conveying language we have illusatrated. Consider whether each is better described as inductive or deductive.

Question 3

? "Language teaching " is seen as the process whereby the learner is taught how to say what he has decided he wants to say. What attempt can you put the learners in a situation where they will have a desire to communicate.

? 1.Adopt task-based languge teaching approach.Design tasks that can stimulate students' interest and involve their personal experience in real life, thereby making them have strong desire to express themselves. ? 2.Encourage students to express themselves actively by giving them appropriate and timely praise. ? 3.Create a lively class climate by engaging them in cooperation and interaction with other students in forms of group work.

Thank you!


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