TASK-BASED INSTRUCTION Teresa Pica, PhD Presented by Reem Alshamsi & Kherta Sherif Mohamed Outline What is Task-Based Instruction? Characteristics of TBI Approach Historical Background Task-based Syllabus Development Major Contributions Critiques Future Directions Teresa Pica, PhD Ph.D. (Educational Linguistics) University of Pennsylvania, 1982. Areas of Expertise Second language acquisition Language curriculum design Approaches to classroom practice Classroom discourse analysis She is currently director of the TESOL program What is Task-Based Instruction? Activities that engage the learner in meaningful, goaloriented communication to solve problems, complete projects and reach decisions. (Pica, 2008) Characteristics of TBI Approach 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language. The introduction of authentic texts (teaching materials) into the learning situation. The provision of opportunities for learners to focus not only on language, but on the learning process itself. Considers the learner’s own personal experiences as an important part of classroom learning. Classroom language learning is linked with language activation outside the classroom. (Nunan, 1991) Task-based Instruction allows for... Learner attention, comprehension, and production: As learners carry out a task, they will: Build skill base over time Practice language skills in L2 Obtain feedback on their comprehension Draw inferences about L2 rules and features Develop the accuracy of their output (Pica, 2008) What is the “task” in Task-Based? Classroom work which involves learners in comprehending, manipulating, producing, or interacting in the target language... (Nunan, 1989) A task is an activity which requires learners to use language, with emphasis on meaning, to attain an objective (Bygate, Skehan, & Swain, 2001) Types of Tasks Listing Ordering and Sorting Comparing Problem-solving Sharing personal experiences Creative tasks (Willis, 1996) Task Components Content Materials Activities Goals Students Social Community (Shavelson & Stern, 1981: 478) Example: For example: In task-based learning, students can present their work in poster format to present and reflect upon the language they have learned through the process of achieving their task goal. (Samuda, 2001) Historical Background Early developments in task-based instruction reflected principles and practices found in communicative language teaching. These theories described the ways in which instructional activities could promote development of language for “authentic use” (Allwright, 1979) Historical Background: Prabhu’s work in Bangalore, India Bangalore Madras Communicational Teaching Project (CTP) “Bangalore Project” the first large scale project to use tasks as the foundation for instruction. Prabhu advanced the idea that form is best taught when attention is given to meaning. (Prabhu, 1980) Prabhu’s Cognitive Classification: Prabhu distinguished between 3 unique task formats based on the type of cognitive operations the tasks involve: 1. 2. 3. Opinion Gap Information Gap Reasoning Gap “A task could be characterized by a single format or an integration of two or three...” (Prabhu, 1987) Task-based Syllabus Development Procedural Syllabus: Language-learning as simulated as students work to meet task objectives (Prabhu, 1987) Process Syllabus: Language-focused tasks are warranted by learners’ needs and wishes and include a role for learner contribution to syllabus and task design (Breen 1987; Candlin 1987) A task-based syllabus should reflect principles of authenticity (Long & Crookes, 1992) Major Contributions: Task-based Language Teaching as a means to Second Language Acquisition (SLA) The concept of the “task” used successfully in both classroom and research contexts: The “task” seen as a vital, versatile instructional tool and research instrument Tasks viewed as an important aspect of psycholinguistic, socio-cultural, and pedagogic processes of second language learning (Pica, 2008) Major Contributions: L2 Learning through Implicit Grammar Teaching The most effective tasks promote incidental learning of L2 form (i.e grammar) by making message communication the principal activity needed to attain task objectives. Tasks draw learners’ attention to language form incidentally as the need arises during task implementation. (Long, 1991) “Focus on Form” The demand for the completion of the task sets up the conditions for participants to focus their attention on their linguistic and communicative shortcomings and needs and thus engage in what Long calls “focus on form” incidentally. (Long, 1991) Teaching the “Authentic” Experience “Tasks came to be characterized by objectives and outcomes that reflected authentic experiences of everyday life and required use of language consistent with communicative practices outside the classroom...” Why? (Pica, 2008: 72) Current Research in TBI Direct instruction on specific forms is more likely to lead to L2 grammar learning when forms are simple and deal with explicit knowledge Difficult and complex forms however, require implicit and inferential learning environments such as those established through task-based projects. (Ellis, 2002) Current Research in TBI Language learning develops independently of instruction Learners acquire language according to their own inbuilt internal systems regardless of the order in which they are exposed to particular structures Learners do not acquire language as a structural system first and then learn how to use this system, but rather discover the system itself in the process of learning how to communicate (Finch, 2006; Ellis, 2003) Critiques of TBI Approach Approach to task specification and selection fails to account for sequences and processes of language learning Assesses learner’s proficiency at the end of a task rather than overall outcomes (i.e. language use outside the classroom). Meets students communicative needs without focusing on the form non-authentic classroom settings Future Directions? roles of tasks in classroom: Can tasks shown to facilitate individual students’ grammatical needs in controlled contexts be used to assist groups of students in language classroom? Can language teachers extend languagelearning tasks to address their students needs as well? Can programs be developed, designed, and evaluated with tasks as their central unit? Future Directions Teaching language and technology Debate: Should instruction assist the purpose of communication? OR should it coordinate it? Designing the task to achieve goals beyond the classroom – how?