Very clearly structured 2006 conference presention - given with lectern and mic and no slides - in Busan, Korea, by Rod Ellis. The video is online at the Asian EFL Journal website, accessible with the login member and password busan2006 (which are helpfully posted on their video page).
Ellis explains what task-based language teaching (TBLT) is and why it is relevant to teaching English in Korea, illustrates with Korean students
and discusses criticisms of the TBLT approach
Ellis identifies 3 dimensions of language teaching
- goals (learning objectives)
- content (Type A versus Type B syllabus)
- methodology (accuracy vs fluency)
He introduces the notion of the Type B syllabus, which specifies learning activities or tasks, but not the language to be used. "Language is a by-product of the tasks."
TBLT aims to develop knowledge of language for natural communication, using a series of message-focused tasks, and the methodology is fluency, "saying what you want to say" rather than "using the language accurately." However, there is an accuracy side to the methodology of TBLT.
1. develop implicit knowledge incidentally through the effort to communicate (an attempt to recreate the same conditions in the classroom as for L1)
2. allow automatisation - unless you experience trying to communication in "real operating conditions" (like outside the classroom) you will never use the language fluently
What is a task? 4 criteria
1. goal-directed (not a linguistic purpose)
2. primary focus on meaning (using language)
3. participants choose linguistic resources (unlike Type A frameworks which provide language resources)
4. task has clearly defined outcome
Unfocused versus focused tasks: unfocused tasks are not designed to use a particular language feature, which focused tasks are oriented towards a particular grammatical structure, although primary focus is always on meaning. No situational grammar activities, to practice a particular structure.