Task Based Language Teaching
Foreign language teaching has gone through a number of methodologies and approaches; each purporting to be better than the other. The grammar translation method or rote learning maintains supremacy as the means of teaching. This approach focuses on the repetition of grammatical forms, imitating the speaker, and involves translating sentences from the target language to the native language. How many of us can recall the endless lists of verb tables and vocabulary? In fact, any oral language practice was simple repetition of sentences,
A recent approach to language teaching takes a view of using language as a means of communication. The Communicative Approach, as it is called, focuses on teaching contextual functions and notions. Reading, speaking and listening skills are emphasized in activities since they occur together in the real world and the rules of grammar become an outgrowth of what students learn.
There is no set way of using the Communicative Approach. It largely depends on whether the teacher wishes to emphasize fluency or accuracy. There are also different versions of the approach, which have become methods in themselves. One such method is Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT).
This method has students focus on activities that students would naturally engage in on a day-to-day basis: real world tasks. The tasks are designed for students to engage in language use to make transactions, to socialize and even for enjoyment, which are all a part of everyday interactions.
Task Based Language Teaching involves collaboration. Students must work together on tasks either in pairs or in groups in order for the communicative objective to be met. After all, language is meant to be exchanged. Task Based Language Teaching does offer a lot of potential in the classroom for changing how students learn as well as their overall attitude to languages. Importantly, the role of the teacher has changed. He/she no longer transmits knowledge to the learner but encourages the learner to use the knowledge that they have and through tasks to build that knowledge. The role of the learner changes too. Students become self-directed. They determine how to approach the task and may even understand the subject matter in different ways.
To read more about TBLT, please visit the Language Lizard blog at http://blog.languagelizard.com/2017/07/07/task-based-language-teaching-tblt/
Author: Anneke Forzani is President and Founder of Language Lizard LLC, which offers bilingual books, dual-language audio products and multilingual resources to teachers, librarians and bilingual families. Language Lizard also provides free multicultural lesson plans to promote tolerance and cultural understanding in diverse classrooms.