A Framework for Task-Based Language Teaching

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A framework for task-based language teaching

Introduction and overview
In the first section of this chapter, I introduce a framework for task-based language teaching. The framework defines and exemplifies the key elements in the model that underlies this book including real-world/target tasks, pedagogical tasks and enabling skills. The next section outlines a procedure for creating an integrated syllabus around the concept of the pedagogic task. The section that follows is devoted to materials design considerations. It provides a procedure that can be used for planning lessons, materials and units of work. In the final section, the principles underlying the procedures described in the body of the chapter are laid out.

A task framework
As we saw in Chapter 1, the point of departure for task-based language teaching is real-world or target tasks. These are the hundred and one things we do with language in everyday life, from writing a poem to confirming an airline reservation to exchanging personal information with a new acquaintance. These three examples, by the way, illustrate Michael Halliday’s three macrofunctions of language. Halliday argues that at a very general level, we do three things with language: we use it to exchange goods and services (this is the transactional or service macrofunction), we use it to socialize with others (this is the interpersonal or social macrofunction), and we use it for enjoyment (this is the aesthetic macrofunction). Typically, in everyday interactions, the macrofunctions are interwoven, as in the following (invented) example: A: Nice day. B: That it is. What can I do for you? A: I’d like a round-trip ticket to the airport, please. In order to create learning opportunities in the classroom, we must transform these real-world tasks into pedagogical tasks. Such tasks can be placed on a continuum from rehearsal tasks to activation tasks. 19

A framework for task-based language teaching A rehearsal task bears a clear and



References: Halliday, M. A. K. 1985. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold. Krashen, S. 1981. Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Krashen, S. 1982. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Krashen, S. and T. Terrell. 1983. The Natural Approach. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Kumaravadivelu, B. 1991. Language learning tasks: Teacher intention and learner interpretation. ELT Journal, 45, 98–117. Kumaravadivelu, B. 1993. The name of the task and the task of naming: Methodological aspects of task-based pedagogy. In G. Crookes and S. Gass (eds) Tasks in a Pedagogical Context. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters. Larsen-Freeman, D. 2001. Grammar. In R. Carter and D. Nunan (eds) The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Long, M. H. 1985. A role for instruction in second language acquisition. In K. Hyltenstam and M. Pienemann (eds) Modelling and Assessing Second Language Acquisition. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters. Long, M. H. and G. Crookes. 1993. Units of analysis in syllabus design: the case for task. In G. Crookes and S. Gass (eds) Tasks in a Pedagogical Context. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters. Long, M. H. and P. Robinson. 1998. Focus on form: Theory, research and practice. In C. Doughty and J. Williams (eds) Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Martyn, E. 1996. The influence of task type on the negotiation of meaning in small group work. Paper presented at the Annual Pacific Second Language Research Forum, Auckland, New Zealand. Martyn, E. 2001. The effects of task type on negotiation of meaning in small group work. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong. Nunan, D. 1995. ATLAS 4: Learning-Centered Communication. Student’s book 2. Boston: Heinle / Thomson Learning. Nunan, D. 1999. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston: Heinle / Thomson Learning. Richards, J. C. with J. Hull and S. Proctor. 1997. New Interchange: Student’s book 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rutherford, W. 1987. Second Language Grammar: Teaching and learning. London: Longman. Swain, M. 1995. Three functions of output in second language learning. In G. Cook and B. Seidlhofer (eds) Principles and Practice in Applied Linguistics: Papers in honour of H. G. Widdowson. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 39

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