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]

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
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
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
“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
Student evaluation sheet: “Self-Check: WHAT
What some students disliked and thought did not
go well:
“Felt the speed was too fast”
“Felt overwhelmed by amount of material”
“Had difficulty absorbing the information because of the fast
“Had difficulty expressing my opinions after watching the
VII. TBLT Materials: Second Iteration:
Incorporating Student Feedback
General conclusions decided upon by group
members when drafting second iteration of
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
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
Estaire, S. and J. Zanón. (1994). Planning
Classwork: A Task Based Approach. Oxford:
Nunan, David. (2004). Task-Based Language
Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University

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