Applied Linguistics and ELT
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Task-based instruction

Task-based instruction | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
This article is organised in five main sections. First, the sub-area of task-based instruction is introduced and contextualised. Its origins within communicative language teaching and second language acquisition research are sketched, and the notion of a task in language learning is defined. There is also brief coverage of the different and sometimes contrasting groups who are interested in the use of tasks. The second section surveys research into tasks, covering the different perspectives (interactional, cognitive) which have been influential. Then a third section explores how performance on tasks has been measured, generally in terms of how complex the language used is, how accurate it is, and how fluent. There is also discussion of approaches to measuring interaction. A fourth section explores the pedagogic and interventionist dimension of the use of tasks. The article concludes with a survey of the various critiques of tasks that have been made in recent years.
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Abstract

 

This article is organised in five main sections. First, the sub-area of task-based instruction is introduced and contextualised. Its origins within communicative language teaching and second language acquisition research are sketched, and the notion of a task in language learning is defined. There is also brief coverage of the different and sometimes contrasting groups who are interested in the use of tasks. The second section surveys research into tasks, covering the different perspectives (interactional, cognitive) which have been influential. Then a third section explores how performance on tasks has been measured, generally in terms of how complex the language used is, how accurate it is, and how fluent. There is also discussion of approaches to measuring interaction. A fourth section explores the pedagogic and interventionist dimension of the use of tasks. The article concludes with a survey of the various critiques of tasks that have been made in recent years.

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Seeing what they meant: transcribing as a route to noticing

Seeing what they meant: transcribing as a route to noticing | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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This paper describes a reflective noticing activity in which pairs of adult learners of English for Academic Purposes transcribed their own performances of a routine classroom speaking task. Working collaboratively, they then discussed and edited the transcripts, making a large number of changes, which were overwhelmingly for the better. These edited transcripts were passed on to the teacher, who made further corrections and reformulations, and then discussed the changes with the learners. Analysis of the process and product of these cycles of work suggests that collaborative transcribing and editing can encourage learners to focus on form in their output in a relatively natural way. It also underlines the role of the teacher in this sort of post-task intervention, especially in the area of vocabulary.

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Legislation by Hypothesis: The Case of Task-Based Instruction

Legislation by Hypothesis: The Case of Task-Based Instruction | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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Task-based instruction (TBI) is frequently promoted as an effective teaching approach, superior to ‘traditional’ methods, and soundly based in theory and research. The approach is often justified by the claim that linguistic regularities are acquired through ‘noticing’ during communicative activity, and should therefore be addressed primarily by incidental ‘focus on form’ during task performance. However, this claim is based on unproved hypotheses, and there is no compelling empirical evidence for the validity of the model. Many advocates of TBI reject proactive syllabus design on doctrinaire grounds, while commonly misrepresenting ‘traditional’ classroom practice. While TBI may successfully develop learners’ command of what is known, it is considerably less effective for the systematic teaching of new language. This is especially so where time is limited and out-of-class exposure unavailable, thus making heavily task-based programmes inappropriate for most of the world's language learners. The polarization of meaning-based and form-based instruction is unconstructive, and reflects a recurrent pattern of damaging ideological swings in language teaching theory and practice.

  
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A Critical Analysis of the Advocacy of the Task-Based Syllabus

A Critical Analysis of the Advocacy of the Task-Based Syllabus | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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 Ron SheenTESOL QuarterlyVol. 28, No. 1 (Spring, 1994), pp. 127-151 AbstractA basic premise of this article is that the frequent paradigm shifts in the field of second and foreign language teaching have not resulted in significant progress in language learning. The fault seems to lie in the overstatement of criticisms directed at existing paradigms and the failure to challenge the validity of the advantages imputed to replacements. It is suggested that a new paradigm shift is gaining momentum in the proposals for the task-based syllabus; if we wish to prevent another unproductive revolution, we must submit those proposals to critical scrutiny. Such scrutiny will reveal that the criticisms of the synthetic syllabus (i.e., of conventional methods) and of method comparison research are largely unjustified when seen in the light of largely ignored research findings. It is concluded that the priority for advocates of the task-based syllabus should lie in the necessity to demonstrate the greater effectiveness of such an approach over those of a more conventional nature.
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Communicative and task-based language teaching in East Asian classrooms

Communicative and task-based language teaching in East Asian classrooms | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
As educators and governments in East Asia aim to increase the number of people in their population who can communicate effectively in English, national policies and syllabuses have moved increasingly towards various versions of communicative language teaching (CLT) and task-based language teaching (TBLT). This paper reviews, on the basis of published reports, some of the practical and conceptual concerns that have affected the implementation of CLT and TBLT in primary and secondary schools of East Asia. It discusses some ways in which teachers have responded to the challenges by adapting new ideas and developing methodologies suited to their own situations. It proposes a methodological framework which may help such adaptation. The experiences and concerns described in the paper may be shared by teachers anywhere who move from a teacher-centred approach to one in which the learners play a more active, independent role.
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Some misconceptions about communicative language teaching

Some misconceptions about communicative language teaching | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it

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Although communicative language teaching is accepted by many applied linguists and teachers as the most effective approach among those in general use, there are still a number of misconceptions about what it involves. This article sets out four of the main misconceptions, discusses why they have arisen, and why they can be so described. In doing this, the article attempts to define some important characteristics of communicative language teaching as it is practised at present.

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Similarities and differences in teachers’ and researchers’ conceptions of communicative language teaching: does the use of an educational model cast a better light?

Similarities and differences in teachers’ and researchers’ conceptions of communicative language teaching: does the use of an educational model cast a better light? | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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This study seeks to document teachers’ conceptions of communicative language teaching (CLT) and to compare their conceptions with a composite view of CLT assembled, in part, from researchers’ accounts of the distinctive features of CLT. The research was prompted by a review of the relevant research literature showing that, though previous studies in this area have pointed to some significant differences between teachers’ and researchers’ conceptions of CLT, the results are still inconclusive. In this study, usual methods for accessing teachers’ understandings of CLT, such as observation and questionnaire, have been replaced by one that examines teachers’ practical theories that guide their use of CLT approaches in classrooms. Semi-structured interviews and video-stimulated recall interviews were used to gain access to teachers’ practical theories of CLT. The interview data show that while these teachers collectively have internalized most of the elements of communicative approaches, there are many individual variations. The data also show that these teachers have integrated aspects of communicative approaches into an overall view of teaching that incorporates many features not normally mentioned in the second language literature.

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Taking communication to task? A critical review of recent trends in language teaching

Taking communication to task? A critical review of recent trends in language teaching | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
(2003). Taking communication to task? A critical review of recent trends in language teaching. The Language Learning Journal: Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 33-42. doi: 10.1080/09571730385200061
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Work in the area of task-based language instruction has called into question certain central tenets of communicative language teaching. This article reviews recent research into task-based pedagogy and reflects on its implications for the foreign language classroom. Following a review of perceived weaknesses in the so-called communicative approach, the article examines the task-based critique of the traditional presentation-practice-production lesson paradigm and describes an alternative framework based around classroom tasks. A task-based approach is shown to accord better with what we know about second language acquisition than conventional ‘synthetic’ language syllabuses. However, attention is also drawn to a number of concerns with the approach as currently propounded, in particular its neglect of language learning as a cognitive process of skill acquisition. The article concludes by suggesting that tasks in the communicative classroom should be linked to a more consistent focus on form and to more guided practice than is currently envisaged by ‘strong’ versions of task-based teaching.

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Communicative language teaching in the 21st century The ‘principled communicative approach’

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Center for Applied Linguistics- Digests

Center for Applied Linguistics- Digests | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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'CAL Digests are a series of short reports that highlight current topics of interest covering a variety of subjects related to language learning, cultural orientation, and linguistics. Created between 1992 and 2011, these resources are still widely used by researchers, students, and all those interested in issues relating to language and culture.'

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"Teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding learner autonomy" by Simon Borg and Saleh Al-Busaidi

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This paper describes a project about the beliefs and practices regarding learner autonomy (LA) held by English language teachers in a university language centre. A distinctive feature of this project was the manner in which professional development workshops for the teachers were informed by prior research about these teachers’ perspectives on LA. Following a brief rationale for the project, we outline its research component before illustrating how this shaped the teacher workshops. The model for relating research and professional development we illustrate here is one that we believe can be applied more generally in supporting teacher development and institutional change in ELT.

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Teachers as Course Developers

Teachers as Course Developers | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
This is a book about how language teachers themselves rather than curriculum specialists develop and implement their own courses. The paperback edition illuminates the process of course development through the narratives of six ELT teachers who have designed courses in widely varying contexts worldwide. Graves provides a framework for course design and examines how these six teachers have utilized or departed from the framework in meeting the challenges of their particular situations. Each narrative is followed by an analysis and a set of tasks that direct the reader's attention to a particular aspect of the framework.
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Syllabus Design: A Process Syllabus 

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What is Critical Pedagogy?

What is Critical Pedagogy? | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
“21st Century Schools, Anne Shaw, critical pedagogy, Douglas Kellner, curriculum.”

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Via Ana Cristina Pratas
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Three Approaches to Task-Based Syllabus Design

Three Approaches to Task-Based Syllabus Design | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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AbstractChoice of the unit of analysis in syllabus design is crucial for all aspects of a language teaching program. A variety of units, including word, structure, notion, function, topic, and situation, continue to be employed in synthetic, Type A, syllabuses. While each is relevant for analyses of the target language and its use, nativelike linguistic elements find little support as meaningful acquisition units from a language learner's perspective. Task has more recently appeared as the unit of analysis in three analytic, (primarily) Type B, alternatives: procedural, process, and task syllabuses. Each of these has certain limitations, too, but when the task syllabus is combined with a focus on form in task-based language teaching, the task receives more support in second language acquisition (SLA) research as a viable unit around which to organize language teaching and learning opportunities.
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The task-based approach: some questions and suggestions

The task-based approach: some questions and suggestions | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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This article first addresses the question of what tasks are. It suggests that rather than accept the common ‘communicative’ definition, we should return to a broader definition and then focus on key dimensions that distinguish (from the learner’s perspective) different types of task, notably degrees of task-involvement and degrees of focus on form or meaning. This approach helps us to conceptualize the complementary roles of form-focused and meaning-focused tasks in our methodology. It also shows the continuity between task-based language teaching and the broader communicative approach within which it is a development. Finally the article asks whether ‘task-based approach’ is really the most appropriate term at all for describing these developments in language pedagogy.

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The suitability of task-based approaches for secondary schools: Perspectives from Hong Kong

The suitability of task-based approaches for secondary schools: Perspectives from Hong Kong | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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Task-based teaching has a high profile within contemporary ELT, yet there are few analyses of the appropriateness of task-based approaches for school contexts. This paper aims to analyse the suitability of task-based teaching for Hong Kong secondary schools; and to derive some suggestions for the development of a version of task-based approaches feasible for this and other comparable school contexts. The research method for the study involved semi-structured interviews with 11 secondary school teachers and 10 teacher educators based on purposive sampling. An overarching finding is the need for adaptation and a flexible ‘situated version of task-based teaching’. The proposed adaptation includes: clarifying or enhancing the role of grammar instruction; integrating tasks with the requirements of examinations; and emphasizing reading and writing tasks in addition to oral ones. The study suggests a weak version of task-based teaching is likely to be most suitable for schooling and reinforces claims for the desirability of context-sensitive approaches.

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Task-based research and language pedagogy

Task-based research and language pedagogy | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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Two very different theoretical accounts of task-based language use and learning are critiqued and their relevance for language pedagogy discussed. One account, which will be referred to as the psycholinguistic perspective, draws on a computational model of second language (L2) acquisition (Lantolf, 1996). According to this perspective, tasks are viewed as devices that provide learners with the data they need for learning; the design of a task is seen as potentially determining the kind of language use and opportunities for learning that arise.Three different psycholinguistic models are discussed: Long’s Interaction Hypothesis, Skehan’s ‘cognitive approach’ and Yule’s framework of communicative efficiency. The second theoretical account of tasks is that provided by socio-cultural theory. This is premised on the claim that participants co-construct the ‘activity’ they engage in when performing a task, in accordance with their own socio-history and locally determined goals, and that, therefore, it is difficult to make reliable predictions regarding the kinds of language use and opportunities for learning that will arise. Socio-cultural theory emphasizes the dialogic processes (such as ‘scaffolding’) that arise in a task performance and how these shape language use and learning. Both theoretical approaches afford insights that are of value to task-based language pedagogy. The psycholinguistic approach provides information that is of importance for planning task-based teaching and learning. The socio-cultural approach illuminates the kinds of improvisation that teachers and learners need to engage in during task-based activity to promote communicative efficiency and L2 acquisition.

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Communicative Language Teaching: An Incomplete Revolution - Whitley - 2008 - Foreign Language Annals - Wiley Online Library

Communicative Language Teaching: An Incomplete Revolution - Whitley - 2008 - Foreign Language Annals - Wiley Online Library | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
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ABSTRACT  Communicative language teaching has been hailed as a revolution, and it has achieved a solid base of widely accepted principles setting it apart from previous paradigms. Yet its transmission from scholars to teachers has been hampered by unnecessary debate and confusion. This paper explores the reasons why the channels of diffusion in the field have been unsuccessful, and suggests that further progress depends on overcoming disunity and translating consensus into standard course materials appropriate to local teaching conditions

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Communicative language teaching for better teacher understanding

Communicative language teaching for better teacher understanding | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
Issues In Educational Research Vol 17(1), 2007: Mangubhai, Marland, Dashwood and Son - Framing communicative language teaching for better teacher understanding
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'Studies of the use of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approaches in foreign language classrooms have frequently raised doubts about the adequacy of elementary and secondary teachers' understanding of CLT and their use of this approach in classrooms at those levels. Reasons for this alleged state of affairs are reviewed, with one potential cause selected as the focus for further examination in this paper, namely the quality of written texts on the nature and use of CLT approaches as a learning resource for teachers. To assess the merits of this resource from the perspective of elementary and secondary teachers, a sample of written texts is analysed. This analysis reveals that the range of concepts used by individual authors to describe CLT and the use of CLT approaches in classrooms is somewhat limited and may not serve well the practical needs of teachers. To alleviate this alleged problem, a framework is proposed, within which, it is argued, the development of teacher understanding of communicative approaches can be achieved more effectively. Of course, this framework also has much wider applicability and could be used to facilitate teacher understanding of other approaches to teaching second languages.'

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Teaching a foreign language: one teacher's practical theory

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In recent decades, teachers of second languages in many countries, including Australia, have been encouraged to use an approach known as communicative language teaching (CLT). This approach advocates the development of communicative competence as a primary goal through the extensive use of the second language as a means of communication during classroom lessons. Understandably, education authorities and teacher educators are keen to know what teachers understand by CLT and how well they have incorporated this approach into their second language teaching. This exploratory study seeks to answer these questions in respect of one teacher, who claims to use a CLT approach. This is done by documenting her personal practical theory of CLT, using a framework adapted from a well-known approach to describing models of teaching. Access to the teacher's practical theories was gained through in-depth, semi-structured interviews and stimulated recall interviews involving use of videotapes of two of the teacher's lessons. The study establishes that the teacher's practical theory is an amalgam of many features of CLT approaches and of general teaching. The CLT components of the teacher's practical theory are largely consistent with features commonly listed in texts about CLT approaches, though there are some components of her theory that are not generally discussed in the CLT literature. The framework used in this study for representing the teacher's practical theories of CLT is also assessed and considered suitable for wider use.

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PDC in MFL: research for language teaching

PDC in MFL: research for language teaching | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
The Professional Development Consortium in Modern Foreign Languages (PDC in MFL) gives teachers access to eight key principles of teaching and learning languages, which are based on research evidence.  The Consortium was set up by researchers at the University of Reading Institute of Education and University of Oxford Department of Education. It is made up of classroom language…
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' Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do' by Simon Borg

' Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do' by Simon Borg | Applied Linguistics and ELT | Scoop.it
This paper reviews a selection of research from the field of foreign and second language teaching into what is referred to here as teacher cognition grammar teaching and literacy – are discussed. This review indicates that, while the study of teacher cognition has established itself on the research agenda in the field of language teaching and provided valuable insight into the mental lives of language teachers, a clear sense of unity is lacking in the work and there are several major issues in language teaching which have yet to be explored from the perspective of teacher cognition.
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'

Abstract

 

This paper reviews a selection of research from the field of foreign and second language teaching into what is referred to here as teacher cognition – what teachers think, know, and believe and the relationships of these mental constructs to what teachers do in the language teaching classroom. Within a framework suggested by more general mainstream educational research on teacher cognition, language teacher cognition is here discussed with reference to three main themes: (1) cognition and prior language learning experience, (2) cognition and teacher education, and (3) cognition and classroom practice. In addition, the findings of studies into two specific curricular areas in language teaching which have been examined by teacher cognition – grammar teaching and literacy – are discussed. This review indicates that, while the study of teacher cognition has established itself on the research agenda in the field of language teaching and provided valuable insight into the mental lives of language teachers, a clear sense of unity is lacking in the work and there are several major issues in language teaching which have yet to be explored from the perspective of teacher cognition.'

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'The textbook as agent of change' by Tom Hutchinson and Eunice Torres

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'Why does there appear to be apathy and even hostility to the ELT textbook in the literature? Why does it survive and prosper apparently in contradiction to the development of ideas in applied linguistics? In this paper, we first consider the role of the textbook in terms of its normal day-to-day use in teaching and learning English, and then consider its role in the process of change. We refer to data from a study carried out in the Philippines into the introduction of an ESP textbook. In the light of our analysis, we challenge some of the assumptions that underlie the anti-textbook view. We argue that the textbook has a vital and positive part to play in the everyday job of teaching and learning English, and that the importance of the textbook becomes even greater in periods of change. Finally, we consider the implications of a more informed and positive view of the role of the textbook, emphasizing, in particular, the need to see textbook creation and teacher education as complementary and mutually beneficial aspects of professional development.'

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