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Task-Based Language Teaching

Task-Based Language Teaching 任务型语言教学

Task-Based Language Teaching 任务型语言教学
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Second Language Acquisition and TBLT What is TBLT What Are Tasks? Why do we use TBLT? Task Analysis Planning Classroom Work Principles of task design Performance Assessment & TBLT

Second Language Acquisition Research
? “Practice makes perfect” does not always apply to learning grammar. ? They( students) often fail to use it correctly when expressing themselves freely. This temporary mastery seems to happen when they are paying conscious attention to form, but not when they are trying to communicate and paying attention to meaning. ? Jane Willis


1. 语法知识的记忆不能保证语言使用的正确
? Knowledge of grammatical rules was no guarantee of being able to use those rules for communication. Learners who were able to identify instances of rule violation, and who could even state the rule, frequently violated the rules when using language for communication. ? David Nunan (1999)

2. 语言知识加交际的机会比仅仅讲语法更能提 高学生使用语言的流利程度与语法的准确度

? Grammar + opportunities to communicate lead to greater improvements in fluency and grammatical accuracy than grammar only. Montgomery & Eisenstein (1985)
? (1985年作了一个实验,实验组教语法,但课外有实践 的机会。另一组只讲语法。结果实验组交际能力强。而 语法测试的成绩也比单讲语法的班好,虽然他们学的语 法少。)

3. 学习者的参与与语言熟练程度的提高关系极大

? Learner participation in class is related significantly to improvements in language proficiency. ? Lim (1992)

4. 基本上以“交际”为导向的课堂教学,但同 时也有明确的语法讲解,要比只注重语法教学 或回避语法讲解的沉浸式教学都更好

? Classrooms that were basically “communicative”for explicit grammatical instruction, were superior to both traditional classrooms that focused heavily on grammar, and to immersion programs that eschewed explicit grammatical instruction.

5. 当学习者积极地参与用目的语进行交际的尝试 时,语言也被掌握了。当学习者所进行的任务使 他们当前的语言能力发挥至极点时,习得也扩展 到最佳程度 ? Language is acquired as learners actively engaged in attempting to communicate in the target language. Acquisition will be maximized when learners engage in tasks that “push” them to the limits of their current competence.

Four conditions of language learning
? Exposure ( rich, comprehensible input, language in use) ? Use ( of the language to do things, exchange meanings) ? Motivation ( to process and use the exposure: listen & read the language; speak and write it) ? Instruction ( chances to focus on form )

What is Task-Based Language Teaching
? Focuses on the construction, sequencing, and evaluation of particular goal-related action complexes that learners carry out either by themselves (see Prabhu?s model 1987) or jointly (see Kumaravadivelu 1993) ? (Candlin & Murphy 1987; Nunan 1989)

? The task-based approach aims at proving opportunities for the learners to experiment with and explore both spoken and written language through learning activities which are designed to engage learners in the authentic, practical and functional use of language for meaningful purposes. (香港中小 学英语大纲)

? What are tasks?

? 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,


? 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。

? 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 focused on mobilizing their grammatical knowledge in order to convey meaning rather than to manipulate form.
? 交际型任务是一种涉及到学习者理解,运用所学 语言进行交流的课堂活动。学生的注意力主要集 中在语言的意义上,而不是语言的形式上。

Listening to a weather forecast and deciding what to wear Look 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

? Tasks can have variety of starting point. They may draw on learners? own input, eg personal experience, general/world knowledge, or intellectual challenge; they may be based on written text, recordings of spoken data, or visual data; they could be activities like games, demonstrations or interviews; they could be a combination of several of these.

? 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.

Role-play activities
? Very often in role-play situations there is no actual outcome for students to achieve, other than to enact their roles. Students have to think of suitable things to say to each other, but they are unlikely to be exchanging real meaning. ? Jane Willis

? listening

to a weather forecast and deciding what to wear
The learner will listen to a weather forecast and identify the predicted maximum temperature for the day.

The learner will listen to an aural text and answer questions afterwards on whether given statements are true or false.

The essential difference between task and exercise
? Task Task has a nonlinguistic outcome ? Exercise An exercise has a linguistic outcome
任务活动与语言练习有着本质的区别。任务活 动所谋求的效果不是一种机械的语言训练,而 是侧重在执行任务中学生自我完成任务的能力 和策略的培养,重视学习者在完成任务过程中 的参与和在交流活动中所获得的经验。

? Success in the task is evaluated in terms of achievement of an outcome, and tasks generally bear some resemblance to real-life language use. ? A task-based approach sees the language process as one of learning through doing--- it is primarily engaging in meaning that the learner?s system is encouraged to develop. ? ( Long and Crooks 1993)

Why do we use TBLT?
? The tasks will engage students, challenge them, and allow for contingent interaction. According to Csikszetmihalyi (1993:xiv)
? They have concrete goals and manageable rules. ? They make it possible to adjust opportunities for action to our capacities. ? They provide clear information about how well we are doing. ? They screen out distractions and make concentration possible

Meaning and form
? The meaning versus form (or fluency versus accuracy) debate is no longer a discriminating factor among teaching approaches because meaning and form are assumed to be essential for learning (e.g., Long, 1991; Long & Robinson, 1998).

A successful pedagogical task:
? (a) focuses students’ attention on the structure of the language by demonstrating that language form contributes to meaning, ? (b) motivates learners to heighten the complexity of the linguistic means they use to accomplish task objectives.

A successful task sequence leads learners to:
? (a) communicate with limited resources, ? (b) become aware of apparent limitations in their knowledge about linguistic structures that are necessary to convey the message appropriately and accurately, and finally, ? (c) look for alternatives to overcome such limitations.

Four dimensions of teaching and learning tasks represented by the “four eyes”
? involvement ? inquiry ? induction ? incorporation

The components of a task
? 目标 (Goals) ? 信息输入( Input Data) ? 语言信息( Verbal data) 如:a dialogue, reading passage, etc. ? 非语言信息(Non-verbal data ) 如:picture, etc. ? 活动 (Activities)







Exchanging personal information


Questionnaire on sleeping habits

Activity: 1) Reading questionnaire
2) Asking and answering questions about sleeping habits

Teacher role: Monitor and facilitator
to specify what is regarded as

successful completion of the task

Learner role: Conversational partner Setting:
Classroom / pair work #

? 1. 强调通过交流来学会交际 ? An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language.
? 2. 将真实的语言材料引入学习的环境 ? The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.

3. 关注语言的本身,也关注学习的过程
Provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language, but also on the learning process itself. 4. 把学习者个人的经历作为课堂学习的 重要因素 An enhancement of the learners’ own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning.

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。

( David Nunan 1991)

Task Analysis
? Determine the objectives: Determining the final tasks so early in the planning process is the crucial and most striking factor of the framework. Everything to be done in the unit will derive from the final tasks. This way, we can really say that it is the tasks to be carried out at the end of the unit that generate the language to be used (learnt or recycled) and determine the procedures to be followed.

Two primary purposes for conducting a task analysis:
? 1) to develop instruction or training to support the learning of tasks identified by the task analysis; ? 2) to develop some form of assessment to determine if learners have learned the tasks in question. In order to develop training and tests that are congruent with the objective (i.e. require the same level of cognitive, affective, or psychomotor performance), the designer needs to know what type of task is being learned. (Jonassen, 1999. p25)

? Gagne’s Taxonomy. Three types of tasks or objectives: knowledge, skills, or ability. ? (A taxonomy is a hierarchical classification scheme that organizes objects or phenomena into categories. )

Planning the final tasks
? Final tasks are communication tasks at their highest point of communicativeness, at a level that is realistic and achievable by the students in a given class. They will serve as indicators of the development of communicative competence in a given class.

Final tasks in which the students in the classroom interact
? There is a tangible end product:
? posters, letters to penfriends, pool information on everybody?s birthdays and produce a poster to be kept in the classroom. ? Make a plan for a school outing and carry out plans and go on an outing. ? Carry out a class survey on ?who does the housework at home?? ?

Enabling tasks
? They act as support for communication tasks. Their purpose is to provide students with the necessary linguistic tools to carry out a communication task. ? They can be as meaningful as possible, their main focus is on linguistic aspects (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, functions, discourse) rather than on meaning. ? They are overt language learning experiences, whose aim is to enable students to communicate as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Some types of classroom work that maybe classified as enabling task
? a. Presentation of necessary new language ( functions, grammar,vocabulary, phonology, discourse features checking that the new language has been understood ? b. Controlled pre-communication practice or awareness-raising tasks usually focused on accuracy

Communication Tasks
? A communication task is a piece of classroom work during which learners? attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form, that is on what is being expressed rather than on the linguistic forms used for expressing it. ? As far as possible, resembles activities which our students or other people carry out in everyday life. As far as possible, resembles activities which our students or other people carry out in everyday life.

? The communicative task should have a sense of completeness, being able to stand alone as a communicative act in its own right with a beginning, a middle and an end. ( Nunan 1989:10)

Categories of learned capabilities (or objectives):
?Intellectual skills – subdivided into discriminations, concepts, and rules ?Problem solving – combining rules or concepts to creatively solve complex problems ?Cognitive strategies – skills in managing one?s learning and thinking processes ?Verbal information – memorization of facts and bodies of information ?Motor skills – executing sequences of bodily performances such as dancing, balancing, or handling tools ?Attitudes – an emotional and cognitive propensity to choose a certain course of action (e.g. “choosing to stay late after work.”)

? Task classification is the act of identifying and labeling task according to the specific type of learning outcome: e.g. ? 1) tasks require memorization; ? 2) tasks require students to apply a rule.

? Merrill’s Instructional components. (1983) ? Tasks included remember, use, and find. ? Content included facts, concepts, rules, and principles.(Facts can only be remembered, but concepts, rules, and principles could be used (applied) or found)

Planning classroom work
? Three features for the design of all tasks: clarity, flexibility, and feedback ? Three kinds of demands tasks place on learners: learning, content, and action demands

Task training sequence
? describe the overall training goals ? describe the flowchart of the tasks to be learned ? teach learners to name and identify work objects and actions ? point out important task-relevant cues

? teach the necessary task-related information ? teach specific procedures associating stimuli and response ? teach decision-making strategies and problem solving ? allow for practice of motor response


(Miller, 1962) (p41)

Three Pedagogical Goals for Task-based Approaches
? Accuracy 准确程度
? Accuracy concerns how well language is produced in relation to the target language

? Complexity 综合程度
? Complexity concerns the elaboration or ambition of the language which is produced. How far do learners rely on prefabricated phrases and established routines, and how far do they need to expand their language resources to meet the communicative challenge?

? Fluency 流利程度
? Fluency concerns the learner?s capacity to produce language in real time without undue pausing or hesitation. It is likely to rely upon more lexicalized modes of communication, as the pressure of real time speech production are met only by avoiding excessive rule-based computation ? (skehan 1994)

Principles: The authenticity principle 言语、情境真实性原则
? The linguistic data that learners work with are authentic. ? The relationship between linguistic form and communicative function are clear to the learner. 任务的设计要提供给学习者明确、真实的语言 信息。学习者应该清楚语言形式和语言功能之 间的关系。使学习者在一种自然、真实或模拟 真实的情境中体会语言、掌握语言的应用。

The form-function principle 形式-功能性原则
Teaching language in ways that make form and function relationships transparent 任务的设计注重形式和语言功能的结合。旨 在使学习者掌握语言形式的同时,培养其自 我把握语言功能的能力;每一阶段任务的设 计都具有一定的导入性,学生在学习语言形 式的基础上,通过系列任务的训练,能够自 己进行推理和演绎,从而理解语言的功能, 并在交际中进行真实运用。

The task dependency principle 任务的阶梯性原则
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. 学习单元中任务的设计由简到繁,由易到难, 层层深入,并形成由初级任务向高级任务以及 高级任务涵盖初级任务的循环。在语言技能方 面,遵循先听、读,后说、写的设计顺序,使 教学阶梯式地层层递进。

Learning by doing 做中学原则
Learning by doing motivates students to fulfill their potential. Learners master the language by using it communicatively in the classroom, although they still have to learn grammar and memorize vocabulary. 自始至终引导学生通过完成具体的任务活动 来学习语言,让学生为了特定的学习目的去 实施特定的语言行动,通过完成特定的交际 任务来获得和积累相应的学习经验。

Good learning tasks should:
1 enable learners to manipulate and practice specific features of language

2 allow learners to rehearse, in class, communicative skills they will need in the real world 3 activate psychological/psycholinguistic processes of learning 4 be suitable for mixed ability groups
5 involve learners in solving a problem, coming to a conclusion

6 be based on authentic or naturalistic source material
7 involve learners in sharing information 8 require the use of more than one macroskill 9 allow learners to think and talk about language and learning 10 promote skills in learning how to learn 11 have clear objectives stating what learners will be able to do as a result of taking part in the task

12 utilize the community as a resource

13 give learners a choice in what way they do and the order in which they do it.
14 involve learners in risk-taking 15 require learners to rehearse, rewrite and polish initial efforts

16 enable learners to share in the planning and development of the task 17 have built into them a means of evaluating the success or otherwise of the task #

Task function:

? to provide a purpose for a classroom
activity 为课堂活动提供具体、清晰的目标

? to make language teaching more


Task types 任务的类型
? Closed task
one single correct answer or a restricted number of correct answers no single correct answer

? Open task ? Core task ? Extended task

Performance Assessment and TaskBased Language Teaching
? A learning-outcomes taxonomy is used to classify different types of learned capabilities, each of which can be labeled as a learning outcome. The distinguishing characteristic of each outcome is the type of performance exhibited by someone who has developed the skills which enable that outcome – someone who has acquired a rule can apply the rule to solve problems. The external performances indicate the internal capability acquired by the learner.

Task-Based Assessment
? Performance assessment is defined as systematic attempt to measure a learner?s ability to use previously acquired knowledge in solving problems or completing specific tasks. ( Stiggins 1982) ? It seems that task accomplishment is the ultimate focus for evaluating human performance. It follows that that L2 performance assessment and task-based approaches to language teaching and assessment will likely share a greatly deal of theoretical and practical common ground. ( Norris 1998 )

A Five-step Plan for Selecting Assessment Tasks
? 1 Establish what the teacher?s specific instructional goals are because it is important that the chosen assessment task actually matches the instructional outcome(s) it is designed to measure. ? 2 Identify the specific, discipline-based content are skills that students are expected to attain and determine whether the task adequately represents or utilizes them.

? 3 Insure that the task is fair and free of bias, allowing student to demonstrate their true progress and abilities without being disadvantaged by some extraneous element in the task, lack of prior knowledge, unequal access to resources or materials, and so forth. ? 4 Decide which of the three possible forms the tasks will take ( the choice should depend mainly on the type of skills and content that needs to be covered:

? a. Authentic, real-world tasks ( which have the advantage of generating greater motivation and offering greater transferability than traditional tasks) ? b.

Thank you!


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