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Overview of a framework for task-based teaching 3
Specialists and policy makers in the area of American education have developed a framework for the task-based teaching recognized in section 1 above. In fact, such a sophisticated teaching method cannot achieve its targeted goals without the involvement of specific guidelines specifically established for the teachers.
In this section, a framework for the CLT will be reviewed, with an aim of describing how the task based language teaching applied in elementary classroom will be enhanced in order to yield the desired outcomes. This framework provides a description of the key issues in the teaching model introduced in lower elementary schools.
This will include enabling both the target and pedagogical skills. This section provides an outline of the procedures that elementary school teachers will apply to develop integrated syllabus.
In the process of designing the syllabus, focus on material design will be an area of the main emphasis. Moreover, the principles for the procedures are going to be established.
The Task Framework
The target tasks or real-world tasks are the point of departure for TBLT. These tasks are several things that human beings do every day, such as using language, including writing, reading, exchanging ideas and socializing.
These have been recognized as the four macrofunctions of a language. According to this model, language is used for three basic purposes; they are exchange of goods and services, socialization as well as enjoyment.
Teachers and policy makers in elementary education must develop effectiveness as they seek to develop pedagogical tasks by transforming the real-world tasks described herein. According to Richards and Rodgers (23), such tasks in language teaching are better achieved when they are considered and placed as a continuum from the rehearsal to activation tasks.
Rehearsal is an important task in teaching language in lower elementary levels. Rehearsal is actually a rationale behind the transformation of real world targets in language toward pedagogical tasks. For example, when teaching communication skills, a teacher may ask a student to take part in the task of writing his or her personal profiles.
Students will be asked to exchange their reports with their partners in order to see how different their answers are. From this task, it is evident that the task has been transformed from the real world task (the process of job seeking) to language teaching in class.
This framework is designed to provide the students with an opportunity to involve them in rehearsing some performance done outside the classroom, but which will activate their language skills in the classroom. In this case, learners will progressively move from reproductive use of language to creative language use.
The creative use of language is a state in which the learners are able to recombine some familiar words, expressions and language structures in a fresh way.
It is important to note that the learners will be in a good position to maximize their language acquisition when they begin to use the language in a creative way because they are required to use their emerging skills and resources in language. This is known as activation rationale in language teaching.
Considerations for syllabus design
In most cases, task based teaching approach faces a major problem because it consists of a random collection of tasks that have not been tied together. To tie these tasks together in an appropriate manner, it is necessary to consider two things.
First, the teacher may tie these tasks in terms of lessons or units of work through task chaining principle. Within the syllabus, it involves macrofunctions, grammatical elements and microfunctions they express.
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To enhance the process of task tying, there is need for an effective syllabus design. The syllabus is designed in a manner that expresses the task and the three elements of a task. For instance, in the task section, the teacher will make the students assume that they are in a party, where their partners will introduce three new friends.
In this case, the macrofuction is to socialize; the microfunction of the task is to exchange personal information while the grammar elements of the task include “stative” verbs such as “yes” or “no”. The following is an example of a syllabus design:
|At a party a partner, three friends introduced||Socializing||Personal information is exchanged||Demonstrative verbs: Yes/No |
Syllabus content: Tasks and Functions
Tasks and functions of a task are related. A single task is always underpinned by at least one function. Tasks are normally made of a function and another element such as context.
Tasks allow grammar and functions to be activated within a give context of communication. Unlike the normal things done in a language, functions of a task appear more abstractive realizations.
Within the context of the syllabus, it is normally important for the leaner to share with others as they get oriented to the transformation of the real-life target to classroom experience with the task-based language and grammar elements.
However, task-based syllabus, unlike synthetic syllabuses, allows a wide range of opportunities for naturalistic recycling. In this case, grammatical and functional elements must appear in a number of times within a wide and diverse range of contexts.
In particular, such a syllabus is important and good for second language learners as it allows them to restructure and develop an in-depth understanding of the grammatical issues in question.
Research has shown that a leaner’s ability to use a particular form of grammar several times and over a longer period of time will progressively increase his or her accuracy rates. However, research has also shown that the mastery of language does not proceed in a liner fashion from zero state to native-speaker state.
Sometimes, the learners’ ability may stabilize, while at other times, the ability gets from good to worse. This is primarily because linguistic items do not exist as isolated entities, but rather any item is likely to be influenced by a number of factors.
Accordingly, learners must undergo a “linguistic metamorphosis” since language acquisition is a long and organic process (Richards and Rodgers 47). The syllabus for task-based teaching is based on this model in order to allow the leaner to enrich their language.
Task-based language teaching applied in elementary classroom from grade 1 to 3 is better developed within the context of a framework that takes into consideration the tasks, their functions and grammar elements.
The task-based framework allows the teacher to take into consideration the process of transforming real-life tasks to pedagogical and grammar skills. Within this context, developing a syllabus that will take into consideration this framework must be based on the theoretical aspects of language acquisition.
Richards, Jack and Theodore Rodgers. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.