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Copy of new ellis prezi

Task-based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstandings

Deborah Vereecke

on 11 November 2013

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Transcript of Copy of new ellis prezi

Task-based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstandings
Ellis, R. (2009). International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19 (3)
A collaborative Prezi by Juliana Seriani and Deborah Vereecke
LAL 5670
Second Language Instruction
York University
Professor Geoff Lawrence
November 6, 2013
Rod Ellis - Department of Applied Language Studies, University of Auckland, NZ.
- TESOL professor Anaheim University (on-line courses)
- Leading TBLT theorist
Henry G. Widdowson - Professor at the University of London
- Applied Linguistics Advisor to Oxford University Press
- Leading CLT expert

Ellis (2009) What is a Task?

a) Should focus on
b) Should contain some sort of
c) Learners should rely on
own resources
to complete activity
d) There is a
clearly-defined outcome
other than just using language
Situational Grammar Exercise
a) Task-supported, not task-based
b) Follows a presentation-practice-production format (PPP)
c) Focus is on language use
d) Final stage often called a task
More Misunderstandings

g) Attention to grammar during post-task phase limited to conscience-raising
h) TBLT addresses grammar and neglects vocabulary and pronunciation
i) TBLT emphasizes output and fails to ensure rich input
j) Role of teacher limited to facilitator/manager
k) TBLT suited to acquisition-rich environments only
l) Insufficient evidence to support TBLT
Is it TBLT?
Problems Implementing TBLT
Advantages of TBLT
Making Connections
a) Natural learning inside class
b) Emphasis on meaning over form without neglecting form
c) Offers rich input of target language
d) Learner-centred with teacher direction
e) Caters to developing communicative fluency but doesn't ignore accuracy
f) Can be used alongside more traditional approaches
a) Structural (emphasis on knowledge building rather than skills development)
b) More difficult with larger class sizes
c) Tasks must be tailored to proficiency levels
d) Tasks need to be trialled (Yikes!)
e) Teachers need clear understanding of what 'task' is
f) Teachers & students need to understand why task being performed
g) Teachers must be involved in development of task materials

Definition of a Task
Activity 1
Misunderstandings about TBLT
Advantages of TBLT
Problems Implementing TBLT
Activity 2: Class Discussion
Michael Swan - Writer of English Language
Teaching and Reference materials
- Modern Languages Professor at Oxford University
- Director and co-founder of Swan School of English in Oxford

b) Semantic vs. pragmatic meaning
Widdowson - Tasks prioritize pragmatic meaning and neglect semantic meaning

Ellis - Two problems with this argument
i) mistaken claim that TBLT fails to address
semantic meaning
ii) TBLT was developed as a way of ensuring that instructional and acquisitional processes were properly matched.
Richards (2010):
The nature of competence and performance. Experienced teachers would have a more developed "repertoire of techniques".
Swain & Deters (2007):
Greater opportunities for "languaging" (thinking and explaining in their own words) in TBLT, resulting in a deeper cognitive processing of vocabulary and grammar structures.
Kumaravadivelu (2006):
TBLT a post-method pedagogy or language learning approach. It is not linked to any one particular methodology.
Also, "vexing question" of how to make sure learners focus some attention on grammatical forms.
Garrett (2009):
Access to CALL (or MALL) can influence task design.
Stoller (2004):
TBLT a type of Content-based Instruction and useful b/c of its "dual commitment to language and CBI".
Hinkel (2006):
TBLT and CBI most widely used integrated teaching models, but TBLT not yet demonstrated to be superior to traditional methods.

Belcher, D.D. (2006). English for specific purposes: Teaching to perceived
needs and imagined futures in worlds of work, study, and everyday life.
TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 133-156
Ellis, R. (2009). Task-based language teaching: Sorting out the
misunderstandings. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19
(3), 221 - 246.
Garrett, N. (2009). Computer-assisted language learning trends and
issues revisited: Integrating innovation. The Modern Language
Journal, 93, 719 - 740.
Hinkel, E. (2006). Current perspectives on teaching the four skills.
TESOL Quarterly, 40 (1), 109 - 131.
Johnson, K.E. (2006). The sociocultural turn and its challenges for second language
teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 235-257
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). TESOL methods: Changing tracks,
challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40 (1), 59 - 81.
Richards, J. (2010). Competence and performance in language teaching.
RELC Journal, 41 (2), 101 - 122.
Robinson, P. (2009). Syllabus design. In M.H. Long & C.J. Doughty (Eds.), The
handbook of language teaching (pp. 294-310). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Seedhouse, P. (1999). Task-based interaction. ELT Journal 53, 149 - 156.
Sheen, R. (2003). Focus-on-form: a myth in the making. elT Journal 57, 225 - 233.
Stoller, F. L. (2004). Content-based instruction: Perspectives on
curriculum planning. Annual Review of Aplied Linguistics, 24, 261 -
Swain, M. & Deters, P. (2007). "New mainstream SLA theory: Expanded
and enriched. The Modern Language Journal, 91, 820 - 836.
Swan, M. (2005). Legislating by hypothesis: the case of task-based instruction.
Applied Linguistics 26, 376 - 401.
Widdowson, H. (2003). Defining issues in English language teaching. Oxford University
Misunderstandings about TBLT
a) The definition of a task
b) Semantic vs. pragmatic meaning
c) Impoverished interaction
d) Task-as-workplan vs. task-as-process
e) Inadequate coverage of grammar
f) Attention to form
c) Impoverished interaction
c) Impoverished interaction
Seedhouse - The performance of task causes over-reliance on context
and leads to pidginized and indexicalized language

Ellis- The over-reliance can be beneficial for two reasons
(i) if learners are beginners
(ii) the nature of interaction in TBLT depends on three factors:
proficiency level, the design features of the task and method of
d) Task-as-workplan vs. task-as-process
d) Task-as-workplan vs. task-as-process
Seedhouse (2005) - discrepancy between the predicted and actual language use
resulting from a task makes it impossible to plan a language course based on

Ellis - Relationship between task-as-workplan and task-as-process does exist
even though it is not perfect
Tasks could also be input-providing which makes it easier to ensure a
match between the target language and the language to be processed
during the task
e) Inadequate coverage of grammar
e) Inadequate coverage of grammar
Swan (2005) - TBLT "outlaws" the grammar syllabus

Ellis - There is a distinction between task-based syllabus and
task-based teaching

- Grammar may not be central to TBLT, but it is has an
important place in it
f) Attention to form
f) Attention to form
Sheen - The only grammar that happens in TBLT is that which causes problems in communication

Ellis - Attention to form can occur in a variety of ways not only through focus on form

Making more connections
Belcher (2006):
Necessity to direct the approach in ESP towards tasks rather
than theory
Robinson (2009):
Task-based instruction promote fluency, accuracy as well as
comprehension so task selection is not constrained by target
tasks identified at needs analysis.
Johnson (2006):
Superiority of task-based instruction over the traditional
teaching is not demonstrated empirically and research has little
to show on this

Sheen (2003). No subsequent production practice activities.

Ellis accuses Sheen of misrepresentation. CR not the only way to attend to grammar. Has published other suggestions, including explicit instruction and traditional practice exercises.

Swan (2005)

Ellis counters that this criticism makes the assumption that FOF refers only to grammar. Cites 3 studies showing FOF includes vocabulary and pronunciation. Accuses Swan of ignoring evidence.

Swan (2005): TBLT "provides learners with substantially less
new language than 'traditional' approaches".

Ellis counters. Makes the assumption that tasks are only
output-producing. Listening, reading should also be included in
the definition of tasks.
Cites research that listen-and-do tasks are effective means for
vocabulary acquisition. Extensive reading also merits attention
as task-based teaching.

Swan (2005): Teacher limited to facilitator/manager role instead of directly teaching and being a source of new language.

Ellis agrees there is a place for teacher-fronted activities. Disagrees that teachers are limited. Pre-tasks highly teacher-centred. Great teacher skill required during task performance in terms of pre-emptive and reactive FOF. Post-task phase can give opportunities for explicit teaching.

Swan (2005): Beginners need to be taught grammar in order to communicate

Ellis: TBLT does not necessarily require production right from the start. Input-providing tasks allow beginners to develop grammar necessary for speaking and writing. Teaching grammar to beginners of little use anyways. TBLT excellent for beginner learners, allowing grammar to be acquired gradually while actually communicating.

Swan (2005): No evidence to support TBLT.

Ellis cites studies in support and concludes that the 'noticing hypothesis' and 'teachability hypothesis' inform SL teaching: Noticing linguistic form is necessary to acquisition, and learners only acquire language features they are ready for. TBLT best suited to incidental learning.

h) TBLT addresses grammar & neglects vocabulary and pronunciation
i) TBLT emphasizes output & fails to ensure rich input.
j) Role of teacher limited to facilitator/manager.
k) TBLT only suited to acquisition-rich environments.
g) Post-task FOF limited to conscious-raising
h) TBLT addresses grammar & ignores vocab & pronunciation
i)TBLT emphasizes output & fails to ensure rich input
j) Role of the teacher
k) TBLT suited only to acquisition-rich environments
l) Legislation by Hypothesis
l) Legislation by hypothesis
How can teachers make sure students are not caught up so much in the "doing" of activity but more on the language features?
Can conscious raising activities be prepared in advance or are they spontaneous, the direct result of mistakes?
Are task-based activities a good choice if we want to teach grammar?
Discussion Questions
1. Are task-based activities a good choice for teaching grammar? Are you convinced?

2. How can teachers make sure students are not caught up so much in the "doing" of the activity but more on the language features? Should they?

3. Can conscious raising activities be prepared in advance or are they spontaneous, directed toward mistakes?

4. Do you think there is a relationship between TBLT and teacher identity?
Full transcript