Task-based language learning is an approach where the planning of learning materials and teaching sessions are based around doing a task. In education, a task refers to an activity where communication is necessary: for example; deciding something, solving a problem, designing or organising something, or telling someone to do something.
It is student-centred; Assign tasks in context (task-based approach), e.g. designing online/face to face tasks (written/oral tasks); simulation and development of real life tasks; completion of tasks and the language study is determined by what happens as the students complete them; it aims at the description, reflection and discussion of meaningful tasks; practice of areas which need more work.
The sequence of the tasks presented below are directly linked to the language learning context. Nonetheless, it can be adapted to other learning subject contexts as it can also appeal to different learning styles.
- Task 1. warmer: (Presenter) shows unusual real numberplates, in the American context, e.g. IDIDIT; NOTOLD, WAS HIS, etc, to (a) create stimulus and (b) to elicit vocabulary from the learners and make them speak;
- Task 2. Creation (pre-task): Learners read a story about a numberplate; Learners (in groups of 3 or even individually) should then choose a numberplate they think is interesting and try to guess the story behind the plate; they should post a short one paragraph story by a set date (if this is to be online, e.g. facebook, whatsapp). It could also be face to face, but the time given would be less.
- Task 3. all learners read their classmates' stories and must choose one and post an alternative explanation. Comments should be posted by a set date.
- Task 4. Presenter and learners will then discuss the results orally (or in an online forum); some language problems will also be highlighted and corrected.
The specific idea of numberplate was taken from the workshop presented by Jill Hadfield, 'Designing Online Taks'- at the 7th TBLTBarcelona (2017);
Willis, D. & Jane Willis (2013). Doing Task-based teaching. Oxford Handbook for Language teachers. Oxford: OUP.
Moore, Paul (2018). Task-based language teaching. In John I. Liontas (Ed.), The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching (pp. 1-7). Hoboken, NJ, United States: John Wiley & Sons. doi:10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0175