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Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching

ISBN: 978-0-470-65893-2
456 pages
September 2014, ©2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching (0470658932) cover image

Description

This book offers an in-depth explanation of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and the methods necessary to implement it in the language classroom successfully.

  • Combines a survey of theory and research in instructed second language acquisition (ISLA) with insights from language teaching and the philosophy of education
  • Details best practice for TBLT programs, including discussion of learner needs and means analysis; syllabus design; materials writing; choice of methodological principles and pedagogic procedures; criterion-referenced, task-based performance assessment; and program evaluation
  • Written by an esteemed scholar of second language acquisition with over 30 years of research and classroom experience
  • Considers diffusion of innovation in education and the potential impact of TBLT on foreign and second language learning
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

Part One Theory and Research 1

1 Why TBLT? 3

1.1. The Importance of Second Language Learning and Teaching in the Twenty-First Century 3

1.2. TBLT and the Meaning of ‘Task’ 5

1.3. A Rationale for TBLT 7

1.3.1. Consistency with SLA theory and research findings 7

1.3.2. Basis in philosophy of education 9

1.3.3. Accountability 9

1.3.4. Relevance 10

1.3.5. Avoidance of known problems with existing approaches 12

1.3.6. Learner-centeredness 13

1.3.7. Functionality 13

1.4. Summary 14

1.5. Suggested Readings 14

2 SLA and the Fundamental LT Divide 16

2.1. Interventionist and Non-Interventionist Positions 16

2.1.1. Interventionist positions 17

2.1.2. Non-interventionist positions 18

2.2. Synthetic and Analytic Approaches to LT 19

2.2.1. Synthetic approaches 19

2.2.2. Analytic approaches 20

2.3. Problems with Synthetic Approaches and Focus on Forms 21

2.4. Problems with Analytic Approaches and Focus on Meaning 25

2.5. A Third Option: Analytic Approaches with a Focus on Form 27

2.6. A Role for Instructed Second Language Acquisition (ISLA) Research 28

2.7. Summary 29

2.8. Suggested Readings 29

3 Psycholinguistic Underpinnings: A Cognitive-Interactionist Theory of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (ISLA) 30

3.1. Theoretical Disunity in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) 30

3.2. When Knowledge Is Incomplete: The Role of Theory 33

3.3. A Cognitive-Interactionist Theory of ISLA: Problems and Explanations 36

P1. Purely incidental and implicit child L1A is overwhelmingly successful 36

P2. Purely incidental and implicit adult L2A is highly variable and largely unsuccessful 37

E1. Adult SLA is maturationally constrained 38

E2. Adults, so defi ned, are partially “disabled” language learners 41

P3. Some classes of linguistic features in adult SLA are fragile 43

E3. Implicit learning is still the default learning mechanism 43

E4. Explicit learning (including focal attention) is required to improve implicit processing in adult SLA but is constrained 49

E5. Attention is critical, at two levels 51

E6. The interaction hypothesis 52

E7. The role of negative feedback, including recasts 54

P4. Success and failure in adult SLA vary among and within individuals 57

E8. Individual differences, especially input sensitivity, and linguistic differences, especially perceptual saliency, are responsible for variability in, and within, ultimate L2 attainment 58

3.4. Summary 60

3.5. Suggested Readings 61

4 Philosophical Underpinnings: L’education Integrale 63

4.1. TBLT’s Philosophical Principles: Origins and Overview 63

4.2. L’education Integrale and Learning by Doing 66

4.3. Individual Freedom 69

4.4. Rationality 71

4.5. Emancipation 72

4.6. Learner-Centeredness 75

4.7. Egalitarian Teacher–Student Relationships 76

4.8. Participatory Democracy 77

4.9. Mutual Aid and Cooperation 79

4.10. Summary 82

4.11. Suggested Readings 82

Part Two Design and Implementation 85

5 Task-Based Needs and Means Analysis 87

5.1. Why Needs Analysis? 87

5.2. Needs Analysis and Learner Diversity 89

5.3. Doubts about Needs Analysis 92

5.3.1. General English for all 93

5.3.2. The ex post facto process syllabus 93

5.3.3. Felt needs or objective needs? 93

5.3.4. Learner heterogeneity 94

5.3.5. Surface linguistic features or underlying technical competence? 95

5.3.6. The dark side? 96

5.4. The Growth of Needs Analysis 98

5.4.1. The Council of Europe’s unit credit system 99

5.4.2. Munby’s Communication Needs Processor (CNP) and its critics 101

5.5. Task as the Unit of (Needs) Analysis 108

5.5.1. Tasks defined 108

5.5.2. Avoiding the traditional bottleneck in needs analysis 110

5.5.3. The availability of ready-made task-based analyses 111

5.6. Means Analysis 112

5.7. Summary 115

5.8. Suggested Readings 116

6 Identifying Target Tasks 117

6.1. Sources of Information 117

6.1.1. Published and unpublished literature 118

6.1.2. The learners 127

6.1.3. Applied linguists 130

6.1.4. Domain experts 135

6.1.5. Triangulated sources 136

6.2. Methods 139

6.2.1. The use of multiple measures and their sequencing 139

6.2.2. Sampling 146

6.2.3. Expert and non-expert intuitions 147

6.2.4. Interviews 149

6.2.5. Questionnaire surveys 152

6.2.6. Language audits 156

6.2.7. Participant and non-participant observation 157

6.2.8. Journals and logs 162

6.2.9. Proficiency measures 165

6.2.10. Triangulation by methods and sources: the flight attendants study 166

6.3. Summary 167

6.4. Suggested Readings 168

7 Analyzing Target Discourse 169

7.1. Conventional Approaches to Language Analysis for Language Teaching (LT) 169

7.2. The Dynamic Qualities of Target Discourse 171

7.2.1. Boswood and Marriot’s “ethnographic approach” to NA 172

7.2.2. Mohan and Marshall Smith’s “language socialization” approach to NA 175

7.2.3. Watson-Gegeo’s true ethnography and “thick explanation” 177

7.2.4. TBLT 179

7.3. Discourse Analysis (DA) and Analysis of Discourse (AD) 180

7.3.1. Discourse analysis 180

7.3.2. Analysis of discourse 181

7.3.3. Sampling and data collection 185

7.4. Analysis of Target Discourse: Five Cases 187

7.4.1. The railway ticket purchase 188

7.4.2. Japanese tourist shopping 191

7.4.3. Doing architecture 195

7.4.4. Buying and selling a cup of coff ee 198

7.4.5. When small talk is a big deal 201

7.5. Summary 203

7.6. Suggested Readings 203

8 Task-Based Syllabus Design 205

8.1. Some Minimum Requirements 205

8.2. The Unit of Analysis 206

8.2.1. The structural, or grammatical, syllabus 207

8.2.2. The notional-functional syllabus 208

8.2.3. The lexical syllabus 210

8.2.4. Topical and situational syllabi 212

8.2.5. The content syllabus 214

8.2.6. The procedural syllabus 216

8.2.7. The process syllabus 219

8.2.8. The task syllabus 221

8.2.9. The hybrid syllabus 222

8.3. Selection 223

8.3.1. Target tasks and target task-types 223

8.3.2. Pedagogic tasks 225

8.4. Grading 227

8.4.1. Valency and criticality 227

8.4.2. Frequency 228

8.4.3. Learnability 230

8.4.4. Complexity and difficulty 230

8.4.5. Some research findings on pedagogic task-types 241

8.5. Summary 245

8.6. Suggested Readings 246

9 Task-Based Materials 248

9.1. Desirable Qualities of Pedagogic Tasks (PTs) 248

9.2. Input Simplification and Elaboration 250

9.2.1. Genuineness, input simplification, and authenticity 250

9.2.2. Input elaboration 251

9.2.3. The Paco sentences 252

9.2.4. Effects of simplification and elaboration on L2 comprehension and acquisition 255

9.3. Sample Task-Based Materials 259

9.3.1. Preliminaries 259

9.3.2. Sample modules for true and false beginners 260

9.3.2.1. Geometric figures tasks (matching shapes) 261

9.3.2.2. “Spot-the-difference” tasks 264

9.3.3. Sample modules for elementary learners 269

9.3.3.1. Obtaining and following street directions 269

9.3.3.2. Decoding drug labels 274

9.3.4. Sample modules for intermediate learners 279

9.3.4.1. Negotiating a police traffic stop 279

9.3.4.2. Delivering a sales report 287

9.3.5. Sample modules for advanced learners 291

9.3.5.1. A complex political issue 291

9.3.5.2 Attending an academic lecture 295

9.4. Summary 297

9.5. Suggested Readings 298

10 Methodological Principles and Pedagogic Procedures 300

10.1. Methodological Principles (MPs), Pedagogic Procedures (PPs), and Evaluation Criteria (EC) 300

10.1.1. Methodological principles 301

10.1.2. Pedagogic procedures 301

10.1.3. Evaluation criteria 304

10.2. Ten Methodological Principles 305

10.2.1. MP1: Use task, not text, as the unit of analysis 305

10.2.2. MP2: Promote learning by doing 306

10.2.3. MP3: Elaborate input 306

10.2.4. MP4: Provide rich input 306

10.2.5. MP5: Encourage inductive “chunk” learning 307

10.2.6. MP6: Focus on form 316

10.2.7. MP7: Provide negative feedback 321

10.2.8. MP8: Respect learner syllabi and developmental processes 323

10.2.9. MP9: Promote cooperative collaborative learning 324

10.2.10. MP10: Individualize instruction 325

10.3. Pedagogic Procedures 326

10.4. Summary 327

10.5. Suggested Readings 327

11 Task-Based Assessment and Program Evaluation 329

11.1. Task-Based, Criterion-Referenced Performance Tests 329

11.2. Task Completion and/or Language Abilities? 332

11.3. Target Tasks or Underlying Constructs and Abilities? 334

11.4. The Transferability of Task-Based Abilities 336

11.5. Program Evaluation 341

11.5.1. Some general requirements on TBLT evaluations 341

11.5.2. Laboratory and classroom studies 343

11.5.3. Research findings on MPs 345

11.5.4. Evaluating task-based courses and programs 347

11.5.4.1. Establishing construct validity 347

11.5.4.2. Sample evaluations and findings 350

11.6. Summary 364

11.7. Suggested Readings 365

Part Three The Road Ahead 367

12 Does TBLT Have a Future? 369

12.1. Diffusion of Innovation 369

12.2. A Research Program for TBLT 373

12.3. Building the Road as We Travel 374

References 376

Appendix: List of Abbreviations 433

Index 436

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Author Information

Mike Long is Professor of SLA at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA, where he teaches in the Advanced Graduate Certificate, M.A. and Ph.D. in SLA programs. His recent publications include Sensitive periods, language aptitude, and ultimate L2 attainment (2013), The Handbook of Language Teaching (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), Problems in SLA (2007), Second Language Needs Analysis (2005), and The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (Blackwell, 2003).

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Reviews

“A compelling case for the integration of Second Language Acquisition theory and research findings with the systematic framework of Task-Based Language Teaching, culminating in a comprehensive approach to language educational design, implementation, and evaluation. Readers will benefit not only from the book's groundings in psycholinguistic as well as philosophical (indeed, social justice) rationales, but also from the copious examples and illustrations, including everything from needs analysis to materials design and pedagogic practice.” –John Norris, Georgetown University

“This volume is a must-read for anyone who aims to discover what task-based language teaching is really about. Well documented, thought-provoking, eloquently written and, above all, sharply to the point!” –Kris Van den Branden, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

 “A major achievement—a research-based pedagogy for task-based instruction.” –Peter Skehan, St. Mary's University, Twickenham, UK

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