Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reflections on Task-based Teaching

Write a reflection paper on the task-based teaching by making references to the following points in the articles by Caress (2002) and Littlewood (2004), both of which are uploaded on METUONLINE:

a) the ways of applicability and integration of task-based teaching into instruction in the teaching of EFL at various levels of proficiency and with students from different age groups in Turkey and in the teaching of various language skills
b) the possible advantages challenges, difficulties and obstacles in relation to the implementation of the task-based approach to young learners and the ways to cope with them
c) the impact of the implementation of the task-based approach on the rate of learner involvement and the rate and quality of learning in the EFL atmosphere

24 comments:

  1. I think task-based approach is a good way to teach English as a foreign language in Turkey. Teachers can implement task-based approach into various student profiles from youngs to adults. However, there may be some problems with the use of task-based approach, especially in the classroom environment in Turkish schools. As Carless(2002) states students involvement into production aspect of the activities may descrease if students are not volunteer to speak. Moreover, classrooms in Turkey are generally overcrowded and this might affect the quality of the implementation. Teachers may try to prevent these kind of problems by using preventive strategies like monitoring students while activities. If teachers achieve to get every students involved into activities, learner can develop their language skills much quickly. I think that group works and pair works in task-based approach decrease the workload of teachers, bıt teachers should put effort in especially language focus part. I believe that if the students cannot get the new knowledge during language focus part, the whole lesson goes in vain. To conclude, I can say that task-based approach is a different point of view in language teaching and teachers in Turkey need to use it in their lesson rather than just giving some abstract rules.

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  2. Actually, this article is parallel with the questions in my mind because I could not be sure what task-based approach was when our instructor introduced it with us. I thought that task should be a specific thing, but then as I searched I saw that everything could be a piece of task. However, I am still not sure what a task exactly is as it is in introduction of the article. In fact, the article focuses on the definition of ‘task’, and it tries to clarify the task for readers before it discusses how it is used or applied. Then the article talks about two dimensions of tasks: focus on forms and focus on meaning. I also think that both of them should be focused in a language class. We can make use of forms while we teach grammar and meaning mostly in communicative skills such as speaking; namely both tasks can be helpful for us in English language classes. For instance, we can apply ‘question and answer’ practices, substitution exercises, discovery and awareness-raising exercises in terms of form-based teaching, and some creative role-plays, problem-solving and discussion as tools of authentic communication focusing on meaning. However, in language classes in Turkey, form is more emphasized rather than meaning; enough importance is not given to communicative teaching; therefore, grammar is one step forward than speaking, listening or reading. In my opinion, all of them should be considered. Namely, as the article says, both dimensions should be combined.

    Of course, task involvement is quite important because task does not mean anything if any students do not involve in the lesson. Additionally, involvement does not mean all students are in the class. This is what Prabhu (1987) referred to as ‘mind-engagement’, and is implicit in William’s and Burden’s words ‘any activity that learners engage in’. I agree with them; students should be participants with their minds. Therefore, it is important to choose appropriate activities to involve students in the task and lesson.

    Is task-based approach really useful? I think it can be useful if it is combined with communicative approach as the article suggests. And also, it depends on the task used and student proficiency. So, if it is appropriate for the student level, it can be applied in language classes. And thus, that makes students more active in the class.

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  3. I think that task based approach is suitable in language learning, and it makes students active in the lessons. Especially for young learners, task based approach is really effective because young learners' motivation is disrupted easily, so task based approach makes them very active in their learning process, as young learners learn more by doing. Also, according to Littlewood (2004), in task based approach, they serve not only as major components of the methodology but also as units around which a course may be organized. These units provide a link between outside classroom reality and inside classroom pedagogy. At the interface with outside classroom reality, communication tasks enable the course to be organized around chunks of communication which reflect students' needs, interests, and experiences. For example, talking about qualities of good friend makes students active in their speaking courses, so task based approach is appropriate for students, as it makes them learn the language in a context that attract their attention, and that is related to their interests.

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  5. Task-based language teaching method can be quite successful in Turkish EFL context because we need much more emphasis on meaning rather than form to solve the students’ problems related to productive aspects of the target language. We raise the students who perfectly know all the grammar and rule-based elements of the target language; as a result, they become quite successful in written examinations. However, we always ignore the productive skills and communicative sides of English and these drawbacks cause the rearing of bad communicators in the end. That is why task-based language teaching approach can be a good solution to these problems in our country when it is used alongside communicative approach as the article written by Littlewood suggests (2004). I think when the students are motivated to complete an assigned task which has a function in the target language, they indirectly acquire so many important and pragmatic rules through learning by doing. This also means that they do not have to memorize all the abstract rules and be bored with formal instructions all the time. However, it is quite significant to select the tasks which will be assigned to the students. They should have an implicit aim and teach something in the target language while they are also capable of drawing the students’ attention. In this method, pair and group work activities have also great importance and this increases the level of cooperation and interaction between the students. Nevertheless, there may be some possible obstacles in front of this method in Turkey as stated in the article written by Caress (2002). First of all, generally we have crowded classrooms and so noise and indiscipline problems may occur at any time. Moreover, the students always want to get away with speaking English; therefore, during the tasks, they will always want to speak Turkish and this shows the loss of the meaning belonging to the assigned tasks which aims to improve communicative skills of the students in the target language as well. This can be prevented through constant monitoring of the teacher but if the teacher has so many students in a classroom, this again makes his/her work much more difficult. Furthermore, the students should be willing to complete the task and involve in the activities. If they do not spend their time on the task, this means that they so not learn anything. But still, this method has many advantages which may help the students to be more proficient in many aspects of English.

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  6. As far as I am concerned, task-based approach is a good way to teach English as a foreign language in Turkey. Teachers can implement task-based approach into various student profiles from youngs to adults.Task-based language teaching method can be quite successful in Turkish EFL context because we need much more emphasis on meaning rather than form to solve the students’ problems related to productive aspects of the target language. We raise the students who perfectly know all the grammar and rule-based elements of the target language; as a result, they become quite successful in written examinations.However, there may be some problems with the use of task-based approach, especially in the classroom environment in Turkish schools. As Carless(2002) states students involvement into production aspect of the activities may descrease if students are not volunteer to speak.

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  7. Task-Based Teaching or Task-Based Approach is a relatively new term used for teaching of EFL context. With the emergence of Communicative Approach, which supports giving emphasis to speaking of the target language rather than its form, TBT became important among teachers and scholars. It basically means that making students use the target language by engaging them with some tasks to accomplish or finish. I think it’s an effective approach in terms of focusing on using the language and triggering speaking among the students because in Turkish classes, there is a problem of “using the target language”. Many students are exposed to heavy grammar subjects and rules, but they are not encouraged to speak in that language or teachers don’t give emphasis on speaking. Thus, it ends up with students who know a lot but speak none. Therefore, TBT is useful for EFL contexts. However; there are some issues that need to be taken into consideration before applying this approach. As the article of Carless (2002) states, noise and indiscipline, use of mother tongue, and pupil involvement could be problematic.
    In Turkey, classes are crowded, which leads even a small whisper into a noise because there are so many students. It is not like 10-15 students in a one classroom and Task-Based Teaching needs a lot of interaction and speaking. Students generally work in groups and sometimes do discussions. Therefore, it creates some noise, but Carless suggests that taking some precautions could lower the noise. For instance, he suggests teachers that they should state what students are expected from during the activity beforehand. He also says that teachers could reward the ones who behaved properly or select one team captain in order to maintain silence. Another concern is how much English students use during the activity. Especially in low levels, I know my experiences that students tend to use Turkish instead of English while doing a task. For that, teachers could use English all the time as a role model for students and encourage them for speaking in the target language. This strategy could be applied in almost any levels. “How many students participate in the task actively?” is another question because in a classroom, every student is different. Therefore, teacher could encourage the less speaking students and make the dominant ones more silent. This way, teacher can be sure that everybody involves in the task quite equally.
    How about young learners? They are quite different from adult learners in terms of the way they learn the language. They are kinesthetic learners, so they are moving, speaking, shouting, jumping and running around! I think TBT is perfect for young learners because of that. Students actively participate in the lessons because they have to accomplish a task and they compete with each other from time to time. They are doing something that they like at the same time they use the target language. However; if the class size is so big, it would create some noise and discipline problems such as I mentioned above, so teacher need to supervise them all time and make sure that they use the target language while doing the task.
    All in all, TBT enhances teaching’s efficiency I think. As the article of Littlewood (2004) suggests, TBT could be seen as a development in communicative approach. Teacher could engage students with different activities while making them use the real language. Isn’t speaking the reason what we are learning the language, anyway?

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  8. a) I think, task based teaching is a useful method especially for teaching communicative skills in a language. In my opinion, while speaking can be learnt and developed with this method, it may not be so efficient in teaching writing skills. When it comes to the age level of students, I believe that conducting this method with young learners may be a bit hard, since this method requires the ability to make inferences instead of giving rules of language directly, and to do this, a student needs some degree of development and experience. However, I think the level of proficiency does not matter so much to use TBT. In Turkey, implementation of TBT depends on the aim of language learning and the instruction the language is taught in. As Carless states, in school settings where lack of resources and the obligation to follow examination-based syllabi exist, teachers may have great difficulties conducting TBT.

    b) One of the difficulties of TBT for teachers, is noise and discipline problems with young learners. To solve such problems, it is suggested that the rationale behind group/pair activities and teacher's expectations of the students should be communicated clearly and reminders about noise level should be made. Another problem may be related to the use of mother tongue. Since the students' use of their mother tongue will not help them develop their enhlish, the teacher should use english as far as possible to encourage them to speak english, too. Also, if some students do not participate in the lesson as much as others, the teacher can solve this by trying to give each students a different role at different times.

    c) I believe implementation of task based teaching will increase learner involvement because it requires use of real language by students instead of teacher centered teaching. The quality of learning, on the other hand, depends on different factors such as students level of proficiency/age, teacher's experience or the variety of resources.

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  9. Task-based learning approach can be a good alternative for the Turkish educators. Because in Turkey, the instructions are based on grammar teaching and activities on grammar, the students easily get bored and distracted. In order to keep them on task, we need some different approaches which can easify the students’ learning process and make them motivated to learn. In this manner, task based approach is quite suitable for Turkish students who know the target grammar very well but have considerable difficulties in communication in the target language. Through this method, the students will expose to the target language in many ways. For instance, they will be exposed to a whole range of lexical phrases, collocations and patterns as well as language forms. The students will be free to use the language and they will learn the language in meaningful context which will not be unnatural. An addition, this method is enjoyable and motivated because the students learn by doing and their language experiences will not be based on just grammar. Unlike grammar exercises that are focused directly on the structure and comprehension questions that are too boring and monotonous, task based learning provides students with both a framework of structures, forms and words to be used and a good reason or purpose to complete the activities. Task based learning increase the teacher-student and student-student interaction in the classroom and provides the students with a communicative language learning atmosphere. As Littlewood (2004) suggested through the communicative language practices that task based approach triggered, the students gain authentic communication skills, which is the core of knowing a language.
    However, as Caress (2002) suggested in his article, in Turkey it may be difficult to apply such an approach because of the large class sizes, cramped classrooms, lack of appropriate resources, teachers who are not trained in task-based methodologies and traditional examination syllabi which is implemented in the schools of Turkey. That is why, in order to apply this approach in Turkish context, it is needed the re-examination of the system and some involvements to achieve it. This method may have some other drawbacks. It puts much emphasis on communication through pair works, information gap activities and these require intensive use of target language. In such a situation if the students are in the appropriate level to express themselves in the target language, they may feel depressed. Thus, teacher may come across some problem in terms of applying this approach because the students feel demotivated due to the intensive use of target language. Another problem may be about the students’ interaction in the target language. Students may not produce the target language during the free practice stage because they find they are able to use existing language resources to complete the task.
    Nevertheless, if it is used effectively, task based approach is an applicable method in Turkey because Turkish students who are bombarded with grammar throughout their experiences in language learning need some other methods to motivate them and prepare them situations requires authentic communication skills.

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  10. Task based learning has become a popular alternative in language teaching. As Littlewood (2004) suggests, Task Based Learning can be a successful in raising students’ productive skills and communicative aspects of language. However, there are some concerns about the implementation of the method in Turkey. In Turkey we have so many large sized and cramped classrooms that it may require a lot of time and effort. Also, traditional teachers are not trained in task based methodologies and unfortunately we have many teachers with limited language proficiency. Especially with young learners, the implementation of the method can create noise and discipline problems during group activities and pair work as suggested by the article by Carless (2002). Since young learners lose their attention and interest in activities so easily, it may be difficult to keep them engaged in the tasks and prevent off-task behaviours. So the successful implementation of the method should raise students’ involvement. For this aim, the teachers can develop more inclusivity in the classroom, by encouraging all the students not only those who are interested in the task but also those who get confused or bored with the activities. The teacher should provide the confidence to students to create or use real language as a whole class. The teachers can also monitor pupil contributions encouraging the more unwilling students. Another issue is the use of the mother tongue by pupils during tasks. As suggested by Carless (2002), the use of the first language or code-switching from the target language to the mother tongue or vice versa is a common feature in EFL. The teachers should also promote the use of the target language during tasks by being good language models themselves. The teacher should use the target language as far as possible when interacting with their classes. So they can be successful in creating an ‘English atmosphere’ in their classes.
    Should we implement task based learning in EFL classes in Turkey? I think, yes. However, the factors that affect the quality of learning and teaching should be taken into consideration beforehand.

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  11. I think task-based teaching is a good way of teaching because in task-based teaching teachers use some kinds of activities which can be generally used in daily life situations. Therefore, it can be used for any kind of students from different ages, different proficiency levels. Since in turkey classrooms are overcrowded, this type of teaching can be problematic in practice. However, teachers can use different things to use task-based approach such as group activities. I think when the students are motivated to complete an assigned task which has a function in the target language, they indirectly acquire so many important and pragmatic rules through learning by doing. This also means that they do not have to memorize all the abstract rules and be bored with formal instructions all the time. However, it is quite significant to select the tasks which will be assigned to the students. They should have an implicit aim and teach something in the target language while they are also capable of drawing the students’ attention. to conclude, I can say that task-based teaching is a good way of teaching.

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  12. I think task-based teaching is useful and successful when it is used appropriately and effectively by a teacher who really knows what task-based teaching is. Task-based teaching is appropriate and it can be integrated in English classes for different students at different levels. Also by using task-based teaching different language skills can be taught in Turkey but especially speaking, listening and communicative skills are emphasized in task-based teaching as mentioned in Carless’ article. When the instructions and tasks are simplified, task-based teaching can be used in beginner and elementary level students and with young learners. The teacher should find simple tasks but these tasks should require suffcient use of target language. With more challenging and difficult tasks and instructions, task-based teaching can be used in elementary and advanced level students and older learners. These tasks should include more use of target language. In Turkey, grammar is emphasized more and given more importance but by using task-based teaching the teacher can also emhasize listening, speaking and communicative skills. There are different activites and for task-based teaching such as substitution exercises, discovery and awareness-raising activities, question and answer practice, information gap activities, personalized questions, structured role play, simple problem solving, creative role paly, more complex problem solving and discussion as stated in Littlewood’s article. Task-based teaching can be very useful with young learners. When the teacher gets the young learners’ attention with a suitable task, they involved in the actvity very much and they learn the target language by enjoying and inductively. They can learn different language skills with the task-based teaching such as listening and speaking. For young learners listening and speaking are more important than grammar, reading and writing. Therefore, using task-based teaching for teaching speaking and listening purposes is very useful for young learners.

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  13. However, there can be some difficulties in using task-based teaching with young learners. First of all, the teacher must know exactly what task-based teaching is. There are different opinions about task-based teaching as mentioned in Littlewood’s article. The teacher should be familiar with these opinions in order to use task-based teaching effectively and she should be educated in this area. Secondly, there can be some challenges result from the students. These are noise and indiscipline, the use of the mother tongue and pupil involvement as listed by Carless. The task given to the students may need noise but if the students aren’t controlled, the noise can disturb other classes and learning environment. The teacher can show some symbols to the students when they exceed the noise limit and she keep the noise in average amount. The teacher shouldn’t restrict the task. Some students may finish the task early and they may spoil the discipline in the classroom. The teacher should have a contingency plan for these early finishers to keep them involved in the task. When the students use their mother tongue during the task, the teacher should try to learn why they prefer using their mother tongue. If the students use target language since they don’t know the meanings of some words in the target language, the teacher should help them to find these words in the target language and to use them. If the students use their native language to chat rather than doing the task, then the teacher should motivate them to do the task. Sometimes the task may not be very attractive for some of the students and very attractive for some of the students. Therefore, some of the students can be reluctant to participate in the lesson and some of them can be very willing to participate in the lesson. In these situations, the teacher shoul discourage the willing students without offending them and encourage the reluctant students as suggested in Careless’ article.If a teacher who uses task-beasd teaching wants that the impact of the implementation of the task-based approach on the rate of learner involvement and the rate and quality of learning is positive, then he/she should find interesting, suitable and attractive tasks for the students. Also these tasks should involve the requirement for using the target language. Otherwise, using task-based teaching would be nonesense. The effectivety of task-based teaching is based on the teacher.

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  14. Before the application and integration of the task based teaching into the class environments, the teacher should know the definition and the logic of the task based approach. In fact it was difficult process for me to figure out the meaning of the task based approach until we saw a lot of examples from the videos and presentations. When I look them, I can realize that the task based approach is very effective in students’ learning. The students are at the center and they are responsible with their own learning. As the first step they do the aimed activity, they see what they use and realize what they learn. The article talks about the two different focuses of task based approach: form and meaning. Thus, in order to apply the task based approach the teacher should be careful about these points, there should be a balance between them. However, in Turkey the teachers focuses on form rather than giving importance to the meaning and communication. In the task based lesson the center is the students but the teacher has an important place. In every step of the lesson s/he should observe the students and give feedback to them. In the process of implementing the task based approach there may be some problems. Since the classes in Turkey are too crowded, it can be difficult for the teacher to deal with the grouping issue. Another problem is that the students may not participate to the activities which are important for them in task based approach. As stated in the article the involvement of the students to the activities is a crucial thing, so the teacher should supply the participation of the students. In the task cycle part, the students have an active role, they do the activity; however, in the language focus part the teachers have a big role for the students to grasp the subject. Task based approach is different kind of teaching to the language and if it is applied correctly, it can be effective for the students’ language learning.

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  15. Students’ involvement in an activity is task-based. Students should be involved in the activities as much as possible. Littlewood defines two dimensions of tasks: focus on meaning and focus on form. Focus on form deals with non-communicative learning and focus on meaning deals with communication. In Turkey, it is most of the time focus on meaning, I think. The reason why I’m saying is that most of the time uncontextualized grammar exercises or substitution drills are used in a classroom. If we move towards authentic communication which is the extreme part of focus on meaning, it will be more beneficial for students’ personal, interpersonal and also cognitive development other than communicative development. Whatever task is used the important thing is to involve students in the activities. Motivation plays an important role to achieve it. With young learners, while trying to involve them in activities, some discipline problems might occur. For example, they cannot understand the instructions, so they start to talk among themselves. This creates a noise in the classroom and hinders the implementation of the task. Another thing which is inevitable to happen is the use of mother tongue by the pupils. They have the tendency to code switch from target language to their native language. Teachers should create an environment which encourages students to use the target language. If the teacher uses code-switching, students get the idea that they can also use code-switching. Teachers should avoid using it as much as possible. The important thing in implementing task-based activities is that all of the students should participate in the activities equally. For instance, in group works, generally only one of the students produces the language as the spokesperson. They discuss among themselves, but in the end only one of them has the opportunity to give a speech. Different roles should be assigned to students to give them enough opportunities for language production. Another thing that we should concern with young learners is that some texts should be provided with drawing and colouring activities. If they just draw or colour the pictures, they cannot do any practice on language production in terms of linguistic aspects. The written part of the activities should be given at first, and then the drawing and colouring activities should be given. Students might spend so much time with the drawing part if it is given at first and it might not require students to use the target language. In order to avoid these, the drawing and colouring activities should be given after the written part of the activity.

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  16. I believe that task based learning is the more applicable style in teaching foreign language in Turkey. According to Carless it has some difficulties such as
    π large class sizes
    π cramped classrooms
    π lack of appropriate resources
    π teachers not trained in task-based methodologies
    π teachers with limited language proficiency
    π traditional examination-based syllabi
    However it is not impossible to solve these problems. For example, it is easy to involve the students in tasks if they are enjoyable and interesting enough to draw their attention. Additionally, it is possible for a teacher to start a lesson by an activity which s/he prepares and then explains the grammar rules the students used in the activity from the book provided by the school or the Ministry.
    Task based learning provides the teacher by bigger chance to create their own activities and even their own styles instead of sticking to one single book or a rule.

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  17. Task-based teaching can be used as a means of education in not only teaching a language but also teaching other courses. As we understand from the name this approach supports tasks in teaching the subject. While performing the tasks students involve in the task and the subject itself. This approach provides the involvement of students to the lesson. We point out that when the teacher gets the attention of the students, students can easily understand the subject. In task based teaching students not only pay attention to the subject but also live the content of the task. They can easily learn the subject. Task based teaching gives importance to form and meaning as stated in the articles and this balance provide an effective teaching and learning atmosphere. Students see and use the form and by performing the task understand the meaning of the target form. In the implementation of the task-based teaching in Turkey, we can encounter many obstacles. One of them is the average student number of the classroom in the Turkey. We have too many students in a classroom to perform a task with them. This is one of the most important problems that teachers encounter while using task-based teaching in their lessons. Another important problem for the implementation of the task-based teaching is the work place for the students. Students cannot perform every task in a classroom environment and schools do not provide necessary equipment and the environment for the implementation of the task based teaching. In the task based teaching the active involvement of the students has a crucial role. If the students do not pay attention to the task and do not want to be active in the task part, we can encounter a very huge problem in the implementation of the approach. In order to prevent this inactiveness of students, teacher should control the classroom and monitor the students during the activities. If students do not want to perform the tasks then they cannot learn anything. However, task based teaching can be one of the solutions of language teaching crisis in our country. According to Littlewood (2004) communicative language teaching can be used with task based teaching. I think this combination of the two approaches can solve the meaning problem in language teaching in our country. We pay attention to form rather than the meaning and speaking. This division in the language makes Turkish students unable to speak and understand the language. With the communicative language teaching, task based teaching provide both form and meaning features.

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  18. At the very beginning of introducing of task based teaching to EFL classrooms, there were a lot of questions about how it should be implemented. Teacher weren’t sure about how they should teach their subjects with the help of task based teaching. Task mean differs from one writer to another, for example some of them think that communicative purpose isn’t a necessary part. Williams, Burden, and Breen think like that way. Other writers such as Stern suggest that communication in task based teaching has an important role in EFL classrooms.

    When we think of Turkish EFL classrooms, it is hard to implement task based teaching. For example, classrooms in Turkey can be very crowded and teacher may have difficulties while monitoring students. However, if teachers manage to apply this task based method, it will be helpful for students to gain language skills more. In addition, students have a chance to interact with each other while doing pair or group activities in task based teaching. It is also useful for young learners because they actively involve in activities and they don’t lose their attention easily with the help of this method. In task based approach, teachers have also an important role. They have to provide information in language focus part so that the students can easily understand the subjects.

    In my opinion, despite the fact that task based teaching has some deficiencies in itself, it can be useful and informative method for both students and teachers if they apply the method correctly and considering the students’ proficiency level and age. In addition, as it is stated in article, task based approach can be more effective when it is combined with communicative approach in EFL classes.

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  19. Task-based teaching is a useful way of teaching a foreign language. It developed after communicative language teaching method and they resemble each other. The task-based learning is student-centered. The students are expected to speak and actively involved with the activities. Both form-focused and meaning-focused activities can be used in task-based teaching. Teachers can use substitution exercises or question and answer practices if they want to focus on form mainly. If they want to focus on meaning they can use such activities as role-playing, problem solving, discussion etc. In our country, unfortunately, all of the teachers focus only on form and they neglect meaning part of the language. Thus, graduates know perfect grammar and they are good at reading and writing. However; they can’t speak with native speakers or understand them. The task-based teaching should be applied to students with different age group in our country, too. However; some problems may occur while adapting task-based teaching. First of all; as stated in the Carless’ article, there can be much noise in the classroom while students do their activities. Some school managements want silence in the school during the lessons. However; students make noise when they involved with the lesson too much, so some teachers don’t want students make noise and they don’t do many activities in classroom environment. On the other hand some teachers give more importance on discipline, so they don’t allow students speak in the classroom very much. The other problem is the use of mother tongue in the classroom while doing exercises. According to Carless, there are some reasons of students’ use of mother tongue in the classroom environment like involving with the task very much or trying to understand the given instruction about the tasks. To solve this, teachers should become sample for the students. They should speak appropriate English and they should encourage students to speak in the target language. However; in our schools, teachers can’t use English that effectively. They also make code-switching in the classroom, and students feel free to use mother tongue because their teacher also use it. Sometimes teachers can’t pronounce the words correctly and this can be another problem of our education system. In task-based teaching, teachers prepare group activities to make students speak to each other. However; this can lead a problem that some students don’t speak at all, but the other students can speak continuously. Some students don’t participate the lesson, they don’t want to speak and in a group active students speak every time. For this reason, teachers should observe those students who don’t want to speak and should encourage them about speaking. Thus, every student in the class participate the lesson.

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  20. Before discussing the task- based approach, we should know what “task” means. William Littlewood’s article starts with defining the task. In the article, Williams and Burden defines a task as “any activity that learners engage in to further the process of learning a language”. It means that it should exactly be carried out to learn the language. It also means that each student should engage in the task actively. Estaire and Zanon states that “task” has two main categories: communication tasks (focus on meaning instead of form) and enabling tasks (focus on grammar pronunciation, vocabulary etc). I think both of these tasks should be employed in classrooms. According to Willis, tasks are the activities where students use the language for the communicative purpose. We can see that there are still discussions about what the task is. However I liked the label that the writer states in his article: “communication-oriented language teaching.”
    I think task-based approach can be useful considering both communication and enabling tasks. For instance, the example of the task “qualities of a good friend” provides them with using different structures like present tense, adjectives etc in a meaningful context. Besides, students have a chance to use the language by speaking it in classroom.
    According to this article, task involvement can be problematic in heterogeneous classes. I agree with this idea, because every student has different learning style, intelligence etc. It is very hard to engage them in the same activity, especially in group works.
    Caress states that, noise and indiscipline can be a problem for carrying out the task-based lesson. This is really right thought, as it occurs also in our own classes. According to writer, this noise can be stem from the situations where students don’t know what to do, when the task is too difficult or easy, and when the task itself is noisy. He suggests that, to prevent the noise, the teacher should explain the reason of the task clearly before the activity, or they can select group leaders responsible from the noise.
    Second problem is the usage of mother tongue during the task. I think it is true especially in pair or group work. The task’s aim is to communicate, but when they speak in the mother tongue, the activity will be aimless. To solve this problem, teacher should monitor the students during the activity and warn them to speak just English. For example, one of our teachers accomplished this by saying that “the ones who speaks Turkish during activity will get minus” and monitored us carefully. This technique was very useful for us at that time. However, there are times when students get angry, excited and use their mother tongue. I think at those times, teacher can tolerate them.
    Pupil involvement is also an important factor to be considered in task based lesson. In group works, while some students speak much, some students may speak little. Or there are the dominant ones who don’t let others to speak. As a result of this, the activity will be useless for some students. To prevent this, it should be carefully considered before, whether the task could be done in groups, pairs or individually. The teacher should encourage the silent ones to speak by observing them during the activity.
    Lastly, coloring and drawing activities can be problematic in task based approach as they don’t contain target-language production much. The solution of this problem is to give students writing activity related to task.
    I think in Turkish schools, it can be very hard to implement this technique because of the reasons above including crowded classes. Besides, students are not used to this approach, so they can have some problems (like the ones as I mentioned before) during the activities. Teachers also don’t know this approach exactly and how it can be employed in classrooms. I think it should be employed not in all lessons but it can be used some times when the activities are appropriate for this approach.

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  21. In the articles written by Caress (2002) and Littlewood (2004), there are some points which the teachers should take into consideration. Before preparing a Task-Based learning lesson plan, they should decide carefully which materials they will use during the lesson and they should know what a Task-based learning is. Thanks to my experiences, I think Task-based learning is very effective in English language teaching. Students are given more importance and they are at the center of the lesson. They learn implicitly rather than being exposed to explicit rules and methods. They acquire the new information and structures by experiencing them on their own. However, there may be some problems during a TBL environment. In order to have the students’ attention and prevent distraction among students, teacher should observe the classroom very carefully. He or she should choose the activities accordingly and the transitions must be relevant and smooth. Especially, in the language focus part, the teacher must be very effective in order for the students to understand and learn the subjects appropriately. In our country, there may be some problems related to the size of the classroom. Generally, the classrooms are very crowded in our country and this may arise problems while conducting a Task-based learning lesson.

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  22. In my opinion, task-based approach is a very effective way to teach English as a foreign language in Turkey. The implementations of task-based approach can be used almost for every student profile. However, there may be some problems with the use of task-based approach, especially in the classroom environment in Turkish schools. For example, Carless(2002) states that students' participation into productive aspect of the activities may descrease if students are not volunteer to speak. Another problem is that the classrooms in Turkey are generally overcrowded and this might affect the quality of the implementation. Teachers may try to prevent these kind of problems by using some strategies like monitoring students while activities. If teachers achieve to get every students involved into activities, learners can develop their language skills much quickly. I think that group works and pair works in task-based approach decrease the workload of teachers, but teachers should put effort in especially language focus part. I believe that if the students cannot get the new knowledge during language focus part, the whole lesson goes in vain. To conclude, I can say that task-based approach is a different point of view in language teaching and teachers in Turkey need to use it in their lesson rather than just giving some abstract grammar rules.

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  23. I think task based approach is really good if it is used by people who knows what it really is. In the task based teaching task has to be chosen carefully because it may make students get bored. In the Turkey, TBT may not be a good alternative because classes are overcrowded and it is hard to control everybody. But if the task, which is in the target language, is interesting then students will try to get role in the practice. Some disadvantage of this method can be; in the task based teaching students have to get involved in the activities an be active but some teachers are really strict in terms of discipline so they do not let students be active all the time.
    I think teachers have to use this method but by developing their own strategies with the help of this method.

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  24. Task based learning can be a good way to teach a foreign language with all skills. The skills are linked to each other and to teach them at the same time can be really good. However, there are some lack parts if we apply task based learning in Turkey. The classes in Turkey are so crowded and there may not be enough time for all students. On the other hand, some syudents may not want to participate in the activity. They may be bored or shy. Therefore, teachers should provide all students to participate in the activities.this can be difficult for crowded classes so some other changes are necessary for using this task based learning in Turkey.

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