Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is an approach to language teaching that involves giving students a functional task to complete that develops their ability to use the language in authentic situations. In this post, we explore the philosophy and some principles of using this approach in a curriculum
TBLT is focused not on the end result or product but rather the process that is used to complete the task. In other words, it is not the final draft that matters most in TBLT but developing the skills of writing and editing. The task needs to be sequenced according to difficult and reflect the real-world whenever possible.
The goal in TBLT is to exchange meaning. This means that understanding each other is more important to adhere to all the rules of the language. Language is for making meaning. When people communicate they are able to scaffold each other’s language acquisition while talking.
The tasks in TBLT serve the purpose of helping learners to see the gaps in their knowledge. This discovery provides motivation to learn what is necessary to overcome the deficiency. Since the activities simulate the real world students can see that they really need to learn something as they can see the connection of the task with reality.
The learners’ job is to participate and take a risk in their learning. The teacher’s role is to motivate students, select task, and monitor students progress.
TBLT starts with a needs analysis. Tasks are then developed to help the students. Normally. the tasks mirror the real-world and are called real-world task. However, there are also pedagogical tasks which are not real-world but traditional learning activities. These are useful when students lack specific needs.
Some activities of TBLT includes the following.
- jigsaw-Break an activity into several parts and have each student do a different part and then combine
- Problem-solving-Solve a problem together
- Opinion exchange-Share thoughts on a topic
Materials used in TBLT can include many forms of realia such as TVs, newspapers, and other forms of communication. The goal is always to be as authentic as possible.
When using TBLT there are three common steps to teaching
- Introduce the task-This provides an overview of what is happening in order to motivate the students. You also explain what they will do.
- Provide support for task performance-Scaffold the students so they can complete the task.
- Post-task-Provide students with an opportunity to reflect
TBLT is most useful for teachers with extensive experience who have a large amount of resources available for use. Developing the teaching materials in TBLT is a major challenge because they often have to be original and need specific.
Regardless of this, for those who are looking for a different experience in language teaching TBLT is one option.