Task Based Language Learning

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Task Based Language Teaching

Task Based Language Learning:The New Way

Task based language learning is kind of all the rage these days as part of the overall communicative approach. This focuses on having students being competent communicators as opposed to some of the older models like grammar translation or the audio-lingual method. If you’re not familiar with task based language learning, here is a brief introduction to it.

Task based language learning can be an excellent choice for large classes. A class of 20+ students makes it impossible for students to get enough speaking time if it’s a teacher-centred classroom.

Why I Love Task Based Language Learning

A Why

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. Students have to complete something, such as a presentation.

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 that 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.

  1. Listing. Various kinds of weather conditions.

  2. Ordering and sorting. Typical weather in spring/summer/fall/winter in a certain location.

  3. Comparing. Weather in country A vs. weather in country B.

  4. Matching. Weather condition pictures to the names.

  5. Problem solving. Pick a vacation destination. When will you go and why? What special things do you need to bring?

  6. Creative project. Research a natural disaster, make a poster about it and then do a presentation. Check out this Current Events Presentation I did with my students.

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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 ESL Classroom?

If you’re looking for some fresh, new ideas for your ESL/EFL classroom, then the book you’ll need to check out is: 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults


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