The New Way
Task based language learning is kind of all the rage these days as part of the overall communicative approach, which focuses on having students being competent communicators as opposed to some of the older models like grammar translation or the audio-lingual method.
Why I Love Task Based Language Learning
I personally love task-based activities because they give students a reason to do something as opposed to just using the language in a meaningless kind of way such as in a “repeat after me” activity.
Learn what you want to Learn
The second reason I like task based activities is because they give students a chance to explore the language they want to know. Instead of me telling them what grammar and vocabulary they need to learn, students discover what they need to know during the process, figure it out (with some help from me sometimes), use it and then often remember it for the long-term because it was something they sought out for themselves.
6 Basic Task Types
The idea is that there is a topic that the class is based upon and then various tasks surrounding htat are created by the teacher. This is the list of tasks, from easiest to hardest. I’ll use the topic of weather for my example.
- Listing. Various kinds of weather conditions.
Ordering and sorting. Typical weather in spring/summer/fall/winter in a certain location.
Comparing. Weather in country A vs. weather in country B.
Matching. Weather condition pictures to the names.
Problem solving. Pick a vacation destination. When will you go and why? What special things do you need to bring?
Creative project. Research a natural disaster, make a poster about it and then do a presentation.
Even very low-level students can do task-based projects with numbers 1-4. These tasks might work well as a quick warm-up for your higher level students before you move into tasks 5-6.
Need more ideas for your classroom? This is the book you need to have in your library: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults