This unit has several purposes:
To assist you fix for the talk and readings on task-based attacks to linguistic communication acquisition and instruction
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To assist you develop your ain position of the function of undertakings in linguistic communication instruction, and their suitableness as units of analysis for syllabus design.
To further develop your accomplishments in analyzing thoughts.
To rehearse composing a critical response to theoretical statements presented in academic documents.
To go on to steer and back up your parts to the WebCT treatment board.
Research in 2nd linguistic communication acquisition has led many research workers, instructors and instructor trainers to oppugn the utility of a man-made course of study based on linguistic communication constructions. These uncertainties have been raised by findings that suggest scholars do non get linguistic communication constructions in a clear sequence. Alternatively, they go through a procedure of come closing the mark linguistic communication more closely over clip, invariably reconstituting their ‘interlanguage ‘ . In other words, scholars do non needfully instantly larn what they have been taught ; they may non be ready to larn it at all, or they may larn it inaccurately, or they may be able to understand it but non bring forth it. A structural course of study, on the other manus, assumes a more-or-less one-to-one relationship between what is taught and what is learnt, and hence besides assumes that points will be learnt in the order in which they are taught. A combination of the findings of SLA research and the rise of communicative linguistic communication instruction has led to a greater focal point on the usage of undertakings in linguistic communication schoolrooms, and to the development of course of studies in which undertakings instead than linguistic communication constructions are the chief units of analysis.
What is meant by a ‘task ‘ ? Though there is n’t complete understanding on this, a definition that reflects much of the literature is expressed by Skehan ( 1996 ) who states that a undertaking is:
‘an activity in which: significance is primary ; there is some kind of relationship to the existent universe ; undertaking completion has some precedence ; and the appraisal of undertaking public presentation is in footings of undertaking result ‘ .
A broader definition is given in a more recent publication ( Bygate, Skehan and Swain 2001 ) :
‘A undertaking is an activity which requires scholars to utilize linguistic communication, with accent on significance, to achieve an aim ‘ .
Both definitions emphasise meaningfulness and the accomplishment of a consequence as indispensable features. It is besides implied, though possibly non clearly stated, that undertakings involve interaction with other scholars ; typically, they involve pairwork and groupwork.
In this Unit, you will be asked to read a series of three linked articles showing two different positions of the thought of undertakings as a footing for course of study design, to analyze the statements, and to react with an rating of the comparative strengths of the two places.
See briefly your responses to the undermentioned inquiries:
What kinds of activities in your ain schoolroom might suit the definitions of ‘tasks ‘ given above?
For what sorts of grounds do you utilize them?
Where do they suit into the lesson program or larning rhythm?
What factors in your context might forestall you from utilizing undertakings?
Discussion board composing undertaking
Write a short paragraph ( about 200 words ) puting out your response to some or all of the inquiries above.
Upload your paragraph to the WebCT treatment board.
Read the paragraphs written by your co-workers and respond to at least one of them ( e.g. inquire a inquiry, point out anything you have in common, remark on anything you find interesting, etc. ) .
This undertaking is based on the undermentioned articles which can be accessed on-line via the King ‘s web site:
Bruton, A. 2002. ‘From tasking intents to aiming undertakings ‘ . ELT Journal 56/3: 280-288
Skehan, P. 2002. ‘A non-marginal function for undertakings ‘ . ELT Journal 56/3: 289-295
Bruton, A. 2002. ‘When and how the linguistic communication development in TBI? ‘ . ELT Journal 56/3: 296-7
There is a nexus to the articles from the critical reading and composing accomplishments subdivision of WebCT, or you can utilize these Uniform resource locators:
Either the A to Z index of ejournals: hypertext transfer protocol: //sfx.kcl.ac.uk/kings/az
Or associate straight to the index for this issue of the diary:
hypertext transfer protocol: //eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/vol56/issue3/
Or utilize these single URLs for each article
hypertext transfer protocol: //eltj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/56/3/280
hypertext transfer protocol: //eltj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/56/3/289
hypertext transfer protocol: //eltj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/56/3/296
Before you read the articles, read the inquiries below. Rather than inquire separate inquiries on each paper, we have asked you to reexamine the statements as a whole:
What is the cardinal statement of each paper?
Compile a list from the three documents of the statements for and against task-based attacks.
What grounds does each writer citation to back up their place, and how does the other one trade with that grounds?
Pick out some of the lexical picks made by each writer that convey a negative attitude towards the statements or pedagogic patterns of the other side.
Though the articles appear scholarly, there is besides a discreet trading of abuses. What accusations does each side make about the other?
Now read the article and reply the inquiries. Then compare your replies with ours.
Do n’t turn the page until you have completed this undertaking.
Q1. Bruton ( 2002a ) argues against the usage of undertakings as nucleus activities for course of study planning ; he suggests alternatively that the get downing point should be pedagogical intents based on the proficiency degree of the scholars and the educational context, and merely when they have been determined can allow schoolroom processs be selected.
Skehan ( 2002 ) responds by indicating out that the premises behind a language-focused attack to syllabus design do non suit good with the research grounds on the nature of 2nd linguistic communication acquisition.
In the 3rd paper, Bruton ( 2002b ) repeats his position that undertakings do non supply an appropriate model for course of study design, reasoning that the deficiency of planned input means that they fail to offer any agencies for scholars to reconstitute their lingua franca.
Q2. Arguments against:
the trouble of specifying what a undertaking is makes it unsuitable for usage as a unit of specification for linguistic communication usage
undertakings can merely be used one time pupils have reached a sufficient degree of unwritten proficiency ; they therefore can non be used in the early phases of linguistic communication acquisition
the linguistic communication used by scholars set abouting undertakings is unpredictable so there can be no pre-planning of what is to be learned.
there is no grounds that scholars get new or more right linguistic communication signifiers from each other
some scholars make minimum parts to undertakings
direct intercession by the instructor is marginalised
undertakings provide greater unwritten interaction than in teacher-fronted activities
undertakings promote coaction between scholars
undertakings allow scholars to develop their linguistic communication at their ain gait and in their ain sequence, unlike conventional language-focused attacks which force them to work in lock-step
the linguistic communication focal point arises out of identified demands during the public presentation of the undertaking
undertakings provide chances for realistic linguistic communication usage
linguistic communication users of course focus on intending instead than signifier ; tasks back up this focal point on significance but, selected suitably, can back up a focal point on signifier as good
Q3. Bruton refers to ( amongst others ) Fotos ( 1998 ) who found that scholars given teacher-fronted direction in grammar points did better than those who worked on the points in groups ; Sheen ( 1992 ) who found both types achieved the same degree of understanding while the conventionally-taught group performed better orally ; Kowal and Swain ( 1994 ) whose dictogloss undertaking produced a good trade of coaction and dialogue but no grounds of the restructuring of lingual cognition.
Skehan responds by impeaching Bruton of choosing merely the research grounds that supports his statement, and disregarding those surveies that demonstrate positive results from the usage of undertakings. He refers to the work of Michael Long, to Samuda ( 2001 ) , and to two beginnings of elaborate treatment of the research in this country, Ellis ( 1994 ) and Skehan ( 1998 ) in support of his position that certain types of undertaking can advance a constructive focal point on signifier.
Q4. There are a figure of words and phrases with negative intensions scattered through all three articles which, in all instances, refer to some facet of the opposing position. We do n’t vouch to hold found them all, but here ‘s a choice:
p280: ‘uncritical credence ‘
p286: ‘he sidesteps scholars ‘ demands ‘ ; ‘a preoccupation with rightness ‘
p287: ‘there is small grounds that ‘ ; ‘the merely reasonably concrete consequence ‘ ; ‘a major skip ‘
p288: ‘to anteroom ‘
p289: ‘one might believe that ‘ ; ‘misrepresents ‘ ; ‘does them a ill service ‘ ; ‘the publicity of a profitable position quo ‘ ; ‘conventional ‘
p290: ‘confined ‘ ; ‘limited ‘
p294: ‘outmoded ‘ ; ‘not credible ‘ ; ‘only a limited and selective reappraisal ‘
p295: ‘selective grounds ‘ ; ‘implicitly serves the involvements of … ‘ ; ‘conventional ‘ ; ‘disservice ‘ ( x 2 )
p296: ‘use as their foil ‘ ; ‘in their ardor ‘ ; ‘deadly tiring ‘
p297: ‘marginalizes ‘ ; ‘accused of ‘
Q5. In the concluding sentence of his first paper, Bruton suggests that the advocates of task-based direction do non debate in a rational, informed mode, but are chiefly concerned with advancing their ain academic involvements ; the mention to ‘academic ‘ involvements suggests he is assailing undertaking research workers ( such as Skehan ) instead than schoolroom instructors who support a task-based attack. Skehan responds by reasoning that a language-focused attack is utile to those who support conventional attacks to linguistic communication instruction, and to coursebook publishing houses, whose involvements Bruton is advancing. In the last sentence of his 2nd paragraph, Skehan accuses Bruton of ‘the publicity of a profitable position quo ‘ .
Back to the treatment board!
Discussion board composing undertaking
Write about 200 words in response to some or all of the undermentioned inquiries:
Briefly summarise the chief points of the two statements and measure the strength of the grounds used to back up each.
Which do you happen more convincing?
How make you yourself react to the Bruton/Skehan argument? What relevancy does it hold to you and your ain instruction context?
Upload your text to the WebCT treatment board and, as earlier, respond to one or two of your co-workers ‘ parts.
Summary and rating
In this unit we have considered some of the statements in the argument about the function of undertakings in linguistic communication acquisition and instruction, and the extent to which undertakings but map as units of analysis in the specification of a linguistic communication course of study. We have read, analysed and discussed a series of three journal articles stand foring opposing point of views in this argument. We have encouraged you to react by posting short pieces of composing on the WebCT treatment board and by composing brief remarks in response to your co-workers ‘ contemplations.
Please re-read the statement of purposes at the beginning of the unit and so reply the undermentioned inquiries:
How far do you believe this unit has achieved each of its stated purposes?
How easy/difficult did you happen the article?
Did the inquiries help or impede your reading and apprehension of the article?
Was the commentary on the inquiries utile or non?
Did you do all or most of the undertakings?
If non, why non?
If yes, did they assist or impede the develop of your understanding/ideas about the subject?