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Task Based Language Learning - TBLL

This presentation identifies assessment as one of the major challenges of task-based language teaching. The so-called backwash effect causes teachers to adapt their curricula to exams that are easy to administer (gap texts, translations, etc.).

Eva Buchert

on 14 June 2013

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Transcript of Task Based Language Learning - TBLL

Eva Buchert, Laura Eckloff, Yannick Bals, Levinia Mikschi

WS 2012/2013 FLT Yvonne Karacic
Task-based Language Learning (TBLL)
Defining "task":
Everything we do in the classroom is underpinned by beliefs about the nature of the learning process and the nature of the teaching act. Language is more than a set of grammatical rules with sets of vocabulary. It is a dynamic resource for creating meaning.
Syllabus of today`s presentation:
introduction to TBLL
designing a task
the PPP Method
examples of TBLL tasks
airport project
Guidelines to define a task
What kind of activity is a task?

Willis and Willis (2007) offer the following criteria in form of questions:

Will the activity engage learners´interest?

Is there a primary focus on meaning?

Is there a goal or an outcome?

Is success judged in terms of outcome?

Is completion a priority?

Does the activity relate to real world activities?
A closer look at tasks:
Communicative language teaching

‘Task’ is the central part of TBL lesson
What is language ?

find a partner and discuss for a few minutes
Come up with your idea....
Definition and characteristics of TBLL
TBLL is based on the belief that students may learn more effectively when they are focused on the task, rather than on the language they are using. In the model of task-based learning described by Jane Willis, the traditional PPP (presentation, practice, production) lesson is reversed.

Richard/Rodger (2001): “activities in which language is used for carrying out meaningful tasks to promote learning“
Framework of communicative tasks
Teacher role
Learner role
Task based approach is part of the underlying language theory of the communicative approach to language learning
David Nunan defines a task as " 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 on form
Nunan (1989)
Presentation - Practice -Production
Aim: to teach a specific language form, grammatical structure, realisation of particular function or notion
PPP lesson:
Presentation stage
Practice stage
Production stage
Comparing TBL and PPP
TBL compared to PPP
holds back, job to
select and sequence tasks
presents specific form and conducts practice
using language they have
learnt from previous lessons/
other sources, holistic exp.
using forms they have
learnt in previous stages
produce form correctly
real world, encourage
coping strategies and creativity
vacuum, discourage pupils
from experimenting and working
things out for themselves
on communication task
on presentation
task gives context
invited to accommodate
target form
language exposure:
language exposure:
rich & varied
teacher can see what
knowledge students have and what
they need instruction on
teacher can think
that students have learned form
and are able to use it, when
they really can't
TBLL at a glance:
Overview of TBLL framework
How to design a task
Criteria by Legutke and Thomas (1993):
1. Topic relevance
2. Creating awareness
3. Learners' prior knowledge
4. Self-determination
5. Learners' motivation
6. Learners' language needs
7. Process relevance
Required abilities of teachers
defined by Skehan (1996)
Select and sequence tasks for supplemantary activities
Organize pre- and post-task activities
Adapt task difficulty during the task phase
Adapt task to individual differences
Efficiency researches
based on Ellis (2000); Willis/Willis (2001); Council of Europe (2001)
Learners need much time to plan and guidance by the teacher
An information exchange between the learners will increase the negotiation of meaning
The negotiation is also increased by unfamiliarity with the task, human or ethical types of problems and presen-tations
Not only the content but also the language skills are important
If there is a dialogue between the learners included in the task the learners will be able to independently develop certain linguistic features
Working with tasks
"Who does what with whom, on what content, with what resources, when, how, and why?"
Six types of tasks
by Willis (1996)
1. Listing
2. Ordering and sorting
3. Comparing
4. Problem solving
5. Sharing personal experiences
6. Creative tasks
Airport project
Three phases
1. preparation phase
2. exploration phase
3. interpretation/con-clusion phase
Preparation phase
simulating the interview situation in groups
reflection of the groupwork
discussion of topics which can be used
Exploration phase
interviews with foreign travellers, airport staff about the given topic
collecting materials like posters, stickers, signs, brochures
documentation (video, photos, etc.)
Conclusion phase
interpretation of the interviews
presentation of the conclusions
very large number of activities which can follow up, e.g. creating a poster, an exhibition for the whole school, etc.
Project Airport, Michael K. Legutke
Willis, James. A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Longman. 1996.
Müller-Hartmann, A.; Schocker-v. Ditfurth, M. Introduction to English Language Teaching. Klett. 2009.
Nunan, D. Task Based Language Learning. Cambridge University Press. 2004.
Examples of TBLL
in practice

Listing & Brainstorming
- people
- places
- actions
- things
- sequencing
- ranking
-recorded extracts to pictures
-texts to headlines
-> finding similarities
and differences
personal experiences

- summer break
- holidays
- family
Ordering &

- pollution
-consumer behavior
English G Activity Book 1/2. Cornelsen Verlag. 1995.
Full transcript