TBLT Materials Development as an Instance of Action Research Michael Foster Department of French University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign September 14, 2009 Contact: [email protected] I. Introduction General Overview of Task Development 1) Nunan (2004): Developing units of work 1) Schema Building 2) Controlled Practice 3) Authentic listening practice 4) Focus on linguistic elements 5) Provide freer practice 6) Introduce the pedagogical task Introduction (cont’d) 2) Ellis (2003) discusses Estaire and Zanón (1994)’s guidelines for planning units 1) Determining the theme 2) Planning the final task 3) Determining the unit objectives 4) Specifying contents to execute task 5) Planning and sequencing task components 6) Plan the task evaluation procedures II. Class Description Listening and Oral Comprehension (LOC) Class at the Intensive English Institute (IEI) at UIUC: Spring 2008 Level 4: Next to lowest level at the IEI 10 students total (8 Korean, 2 Taiwanese) LOC is Student-Centered * Students’ interests are considered when choosing tasks and topics LOC is Practical * Main task of a unit closely approximates real-life task III. TBLT Materials Development in LOC Class Overview of Unit: Movies and Movie Trailers Unit goals included: Main Task: Discuss movies and trailers using descriptive adjectives Express one’s own likes and dislikes Giving one’s opinion and defending one’s opinion Students created and recorded an audio movie critique of a fulllength movie that they watched. Students also responded to critiques created by their classmates. The unit was taught during four class periods, two of which were 50 minutes and then two which were one hour and 50 minutes IV. Examples of TBLT Materials: First Iteration Unit activity: “What to think about when creating a Movie Critique” (See hand-out) Example 1: “Let’s See How Much You Already Know” Example 2: “Emotions” Example 3: “Camera Shots (The Cinematography)” V. Peer Observations from Teaching the First Iteration Day 1: 04/08/08: Semantic Mapping “Students have difficulties thinking of related topics (due to lower level?)” “Teacher keeps suggesting things to students for the tree” (See Example #1: First Iteration on hand-out) Day 2: 04/09/08: Emotions “Students not really talking” “Better/easier example for iteration #2?” “Easier questions?” (See Example #2: First Iteration and Second Iteration on hand-out) Peer Observations (cont’d) Day 4: 04/14/08 “Students ask instructor questions about task directions; some aren’t sure about individual work; ask for clarification” VI. Student Feedback on First Iteration Student evaluation sheet: “Self-Check: WHAT DID I LEARN IN THIS UNIT” What some students disliked and thought did not go well: “I...” “Felt the speed was too fast” “Felt overwhelmed by amount of material” “Had difficulty absorbing the information because of the fast pace” “Had difficulty expressing my opinions after watching the movie-trailers” VII. TBLT Materials: Second Iteration: Incorporating Student Feedback General conclusions decided upon by group members when drafting second iteration of materials: Break up the innovation into smaller parts & focus on a specific part (i.e. group work) by preparing students with gradual questions More familiar video clips for good/bad acting Analysis of the language used in the classroom Think about changing the learning habits of students earlier in the semester VIII. Conclusions 1) Learning how to re-write materials according to students’ interpretations of the first iteration 2) Triangulation of The Teacher/Material Designer with Theoretical Issues and Practical Issues Teacher needs to be aware of implementing Nunan’s (2004) steps of materials development and how students receive the materials once they are taught Conclusions (Cont’d) 3) Teachers must be open to re-writing materials based on student feedback to the first iteration 4) Importance of collecting empirical evidence (i.e. feedback) of how the material was received by students Contributes to the professionalization of language teachers Justification of future development of TBLT materials 5) Dissertation research will focus on TBLT in French; Conversation Analysis (CA) and Learning Talk Analysis (LTA) will show how students are orienting to the topic in the target language IX. References Ellis, Rod. (2003). Task-based Language Learning and Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Estaire, S. and J. Zanón. (1994). Planning Classwork: A Task Based Approach. Oxford: Heinemann. Nunan, David. (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.