ELTABB Journal Volume 1 - Page 12

When designing the main task itself, course developers should consider various options, such as whether they will impose a time limit (this can provide extra motivation, although it can also lead to poor task achievement), whether learners will have access to input data (e.g. research notes for a discussion), and how teachers should (not) react to learners making errors during a task (should we correct anything we judge to be an error by immediately ‘recasting’ it, or is it enough to provide this ‘reactive focus on form’ post-task?) Following the completion of the main task, it is important to have learners reflect upon their and others’ performances (self- and peer-evaluation) and for both learners and teacher to give feedback on language and task performance (‘focus on form’) plus, possibly, even for learners to do exercises on discrete points of vocabulary and grammar use (in TBLT terminology, to ‘focus on forms’). Another option would be for learners to repeat the task (we almost always do things better the second time, though it may be worth modifying the task slightly or having learners swap roles in order to increase motivation). Learn by doing Once the course is ready, in the form of a series of task cycles, try it out, seeking feedback as you go in order to further improve its effectiveness. Although a TBLT approach may seem demanding, I firmly believe that the rewards (for both teachers and students) are well worth the effort. Also, of course, things become easier the second time around… Happy developing! References Council of Europe (2008) Structured overview of all CEFR scales. http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/ elp-reg/Source/Key_reference/ Overview_CEFRscales_EN.pdf [accessed: September 9, 2013]. Ellis, R. (2009) ‘Task-based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstandings’, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19: 221-246. Krashen, S. (1982) Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon. Lantolf, J. (2000) ‘Second language learning as a mediated process’, Language Teaching, 33: 79-96. Long, M. (1983) ‘Native speaker/non-native speaker conversation and the negotiation of comprehensible input’, Applied Linguistics, 4 (2): 126−41. Schmidt, R. (1990) The Role of Consciousness in Second Language Learning. London: Edward Arnold. Skehan, P. (1998) A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Matthew Plews Mat Plews teaches English for Academic Purposes at Humboldt University, Berlin. His professional interests, alongside TBLT, include second-language acquisition, learner motivation, CEFR-based continuous assessment and Virtual Learning Environments. In total, he has been teaching for over 20 years, working in both EAP and EFL contexts. LIBERO PURUS SODALES MAURIS, EU VEHICULA LECTUS VELIT NEC VELIT: www.apple.com/iwork