Online Lessons – Using Task-based Language Teaching – Part 3

The use of this current communicative approach is very common in the English lesson field. We always tend to use a task as the topic of the lesson and ask students to perform this task at the end of this lesson.

As the name states TBLT, also known as TBI (task-based instruction) focuses on the use of authentic language relying on meaningful tasks as the main item of planning, target language, and instruction in language teaching. For instance, conducting or participating in a job interview, visiting a doctor’s office, calling a restaurant to change your order (Part 2 article), etc.

Particularly, this approach is what I usually use for my lessons, and from there I keep changing approaches and techniques in order not to have a standardised way of teaching and, of course, to provide students with the element of surprise. 

Some of the advantages of this approach are:

  • The students’ needs will dictate what will be covered in the lesson instead of a coursebook or a ready breakdown.
  • In this case, students will have a much more diversified exposure to language, since they will see a wide range of lexical phrases, patterns, and collocations in context.
  • A natural context is developed based on the students’ backgrounds and experiences, which makes their English lessons more personalised and relevant. 
  • Thus, it will be more pleasant and enjoyable – which helps the learning moments to take place.

When the task achievement is motivational, it, therefore, promotes learning.   Well, this approach requires the students’ to use authentic language. The language they already use in their L1 or language they will use soon (travelling, etc). Also, the difficulties can be negotiated and fine-tuned

When working with language in a real contextualised set, we have to have in mind if the context is really real for our group of students – it’s easier to use this with private students, for obvious reasons, but not impossible to be successful with numerous classes. As a teacher, we will have to run a brief but thorough analysis of the real-world tasks while planning, otherwise, we will have a robotic repetition of exchanges, and run the risk of students not acquiring the target language, which is never the purpose. 

Also, the instructions of the task to be done have to be very clear, sequenced, and structured while teaching, or now, while recording or having a live lesson. Describe what students are going to use (in terms of material) and, if they are basic to intermediate level, have prompts on the board, so students can use them as a model for their tasks.

References: 

Richards, J. & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. CUP.

A task based Approach. Can be found on:  https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/a-task-based-approach 

 

Beatriz Solino de Francisco

Beatriz holds the Cambridge Train the Trainer and the DELTA Mods II and III(Teaching Exam Lessons). She has a Licentiate’s degree in English Language from PUC SP (2007). CPE level of proficiency and she has been teaching for 15 years. She is an Academic and Pedagogic Coordinator. She is currently doing a Company Management MBA at FGV.

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