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Designing tasks: Finding the optimal degree of challenge.

EFL Methodology.

Antonio Gómez Vélez

on 28 October 2014

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Transcript of Designing tasks: Finding the optimal degree of challenge.

Designing tasks:
Finding the optimal degree of challenge.
Antonio Gómez Vélez
October 2014
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Chinese Proverb
A communicative task
"a piece of classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing and interacting in the target language while their attention is principally focused on meaning rather than form"
A task is an activity "where the target language is used by the learner for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome."

How often do we as teachers ask our students to do something in class which they would do in everyday life using their own language?
Probably not often enough.
If we can make language in the classroom meaningful therefore memorable, students can process language which is being learned or recycled more naturally.
The activity reflects real life and learners
focus on meaning, they are free
to use any language they want.
The aim is to create a need
to learn and use language
Types of tasks
TBL Framework
TBL advantages
• Students are free of language control.
• A natural context is developed from the students' experiences.
• Students will have a much more varied exposure to language.
• The language explored arises from the students' needs.
• Students spend a lot of time communicating.
• It is enjoyable and motivating.

Students practice all the language skills in a highly integrated,
communicative fashion while learning content such as
science, mathematics, and social studies.
The focus of a CBI lesson is on
the topic or subject matter.
CBI advantages
• It can make learning a language more interesting and motivating.
• Students can also develop a much wider knowledge of the world.
• CBI is very popular among EAP (English for Academic Purposes).
• Help students to develop very valuable thinking skills.
• Help students to develop their collaborative skills.
CBI potential problems
• Some students may feel confused or may even feel that they aren't improving their language skills.
• Particularly in monolingual classes, the overuse of the students' native language during parts of the lesson can be a problem.
• It can be hard to find information sources and texts that lower levels can understand.
• Some students may copy directly from the source texts they use to get their information.

It is an instructional method that provides students
with complex tasks based on challenging questions
or problems that involve the students' problem solving,
decision making, investigative skills, and reflection.
PBL is a different teaching technique
that promotes and practices new learning habits,
emphasizing creative thinking skills.
Project work
It focuses on content learning rather than on specific language targets.
It is student-centred.
It is cooperative rather than competitive.
It leads to the authentic integration of skills and processing of information from varied sources mirroring real-life tasks.
It culminates in an end product, but the value of the project lies not in the final product but in the process of working toward the end point.
It is potentially motivating, stimulating, empowering and challenging.
Other examples
Content-Based Instruction is now
Content and Language Integrated Learning
Why CLIL is important?
How does CLIL work?
Knowledge of the language becomes the means of learning content.
Language is integrated into the broad curriculum.
Language is improved through increased motivation.
CLIL is based on language acquisition rater than enforced learning.
Language is seen in real-life situations.
CLIL is long-term learning.
Fluency is more important than accuracy.
Reading is the essential skill.
Advantages of CLIL
Introduce the wider cultural context
Prepare for internationalisation
Access International Certification and enhance the school profile
Improve overall and specific language competence
Prepare for future studies and / or working life
Develop multilingual interests and attitudes
Diversify methods & forms of classroom teaching and learning
Increase learner motivation.

CLIL Lesson Framework
A successful CLIL lesson should combine the following elements:
Content: specific elements of a defined curriculum.
Communication: use language to learn while learning to use language.
Cognition: thinking skills: concept formation, understanding and language.
Culture: exposure to alternative perspectives.
CLIL Lesson Framework
Listening: normal input activity.
Reading: major source of input.
Speaking: focuses on fluency.
Writing: lexical activities for grammar recycling.
CLIL Lesson Framework
Integrate language and skills, and receptive and productive skills
Lessons are often based on reading or listening texts / passages
The language focus in a lesson does not consider structural grading
Language is functional and dictated by the context of the subject
Language is approached lexically rather than grammatically
Learner styles are taken into account in task types.
CLIL Lesson Framework
Four-stage framework:
Processing the text.
Identification and organization of language: diagrams.
Language identification.
Tasks for students.
CLIL Lesson Framework
Typical listening activities:
Listen and label a diagram/picture/map/graph/chart
Listen and fill in a table
Listen and make notes on specific information (dates, figures, times)
Listen and reorder information
Listen and identify location/speakers/places
Listen and label the stages of a process/instructions/sequences of a text
Listen and fill in the gaps in a text
CLIL Lesson Framework
Typical speaking activities:
Question loops - questions and answers, terms and definitions, halves of sentences
Information gap activities with a question sheet to support
Trivia search - 'things you know' and 'things you want to know'
Word guessing games
Class surveys using questionnaires
Students present information from a visual using a language support handout.
Level: 4th ESO / Bachillerato
School resources: books (graded readers), video, magazines and Internet.
Pre-task preparation: Movie clip with the sound turned off (conversation between two people).
Pre-task activity:
Do you use English outside the classroom?
What ways can you practise English outside the classroom?
Stage one - Running dictation.
Task 1: Getting to know your own resources
Task 1: Getting to know your own resources
Stage two: Worksheet 2.
Stage three: Resource room - complete the task.
Stage four: Compare and share.
Stage five - Feedback.
Task 2: Getting to know your teachers.
Level: 3rd/4th ESO
Time: a week.
Pre-task activity: Talk about an English teacher.
What was her name?
Where was she from?
How old was she?
Do you remember any of her lessons?
What was your favourite activity in her class?
Task 2: Getting to know your teachers
Stage one: Worksheets 3&4.
Stage two: Interview and record.
Stage three: Interview other teachers and record.
Stage four: Compare and final answers on the superlative questions.
Stage five: Feedback and reflection.
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