The Development of Task-Based Activities for Culture-Related English Lessons

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Name: Natthaorn Natthakornsakul
Name (in Thai):ณัฐฏ์ฐาอร ณัฎฐากรสกุล Student ID: 5587768620 The Development of Task-Based Activities
for Culture-Related English Lessons to Enhance Students’ Communicative Skills การพัฒนากิจกรรมการเรียนรู้สำหรับการสอนบทเรียนวิชาภาษาอังกฤษ ที่มีเนื้อหาเกี่ยวข้องกับวัฒนธรรมโดยใช้วิธีการสอนแบบเน้นงานปฏิบัติเพื่อพัฒนาทักษะการใช้ภาษาอังกฤษเพื่อการสื่อสาร

Background of the study

The idea that foreign language teaching has a cultural dimension is not a new one (Saluveer, 2004). It is widely accepted that one of the main aims of foreign language teaching today is to develop learners’ ability to communicate with each other across linguistic and cultural boundaries (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEF), 2001: 3). Therefore, language learning today does not only focus on learning the language, but also learning other cultures. As English has become a global language, teaching and learning English in Thailand has become challenging since they have passed through EFL context and gained more EIL status. However, English learning in Thailand has not been very successful so far because most learners lack the opportunity to learn English in an English environment and for interaction in daily life (Wiriyachitra, 2003, p. 25). Hence, Thais’ level of English proficiency is low comparing to our neighbors in ASEAN: Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam (EF EPI English Proficiency Index) Another possible reason is that English lessons in Thailand are not challenging and interesting enough to motivate students to learn (Biyeam, 1997 cited in Wiriyachitra, 2003). As mentioned above, language and culture are closely linked; the teaching of culture is seen as an integral and organized component of language courses. Many English textbooks include various cultural topics from different cultures into the lesson such as greetings, cuisine, festivals, tourist attractions, superstitious beliefs. Although those topics provide students with new cultural aspects in language learning, they are not considerably related to Thai students’ background knowledge. Including Thai culture into the lessons would be more meaningful to them. According to Buttjes and Byram who proposed the comparative approach of teaching culture in 1991, the comparative approach emphasizes that foreign language and culture learning should relate to learners’ own. They claimed that instead of providing learners with “one-way flow of cultural information”, they should be encouraged to reflect their own and foreign culture.

Moreover, to improve learning conditions in the classroom, task-based activities are extensively used in English classes to ensure that students’ training is relevant to real world situation and also provide students with more opportunity to learn the language in a more meaningful context. According to David Nunan, task-based language teaching focuses on activating students’ learning skills through systematic instructional sequences that will enable them to reproduce and manipulate language models learned in class, and gradually begin to use the language creatively to express their thoughts.

In this way, learning culture-related English lessons through task-based activities would allow students’ communicative skills to grow along the learning process.

Research questions
1. Is the course designed with TBL approach effective for teaching culture-related English lessons to improve students’ communicative skills? 2. Do the students have positive attitudes towards teaching English with culture related content in general? 3. Do the students have positive attitudes towards task-based activities used for culture related English lessons?

Objectives of the study
1. To develop a course with TBL approach for teaching culture-related English lessons. 2. To improve...
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