Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching


As early as the 1970s, the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach became popular among second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and second language teachers (Skehan, 2003). During the 1980s, “task” replaced the term “communicative activity” and in recent years, the task-based language teaching became the central pillar of government rhetoric. Educators and governments in East Asia are intensively addressing the need to increase the number of people in their population who can communicate effectively in English (Littlewood, 2006). These situations arouses my curiosity about what the task-based approach is, why do the teacher chose the task-based instruction, and how to apply this approach in language learning and teaching.

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is a new teaching method. "Task" is a special term in language teaching and it's different from language exercise. It has its specific features, forms and teaching steps. There are varieties of tasks in English teaching, but the focus of every task is on solving a communicative problem, which has some connections with a real world of learners' lives and learning experience, and which can arouse learners' interest and participation.

The aim of the chapter is to introduce the task-based language learning and teaching and it also seeks to carry out the method of TBLT in elementary or secondary English classes. That is, I will talk about the theoretical background, task identifications, task types or categories, task characteristics, three phases of the task, principles for tasks design, cognitive strategies, implementations, as well as benefits and challenges of TBLT. Last but not least, I will provide a brief, specific example including a lesson plan and a scenario to integrate the theory and application in order to help readers acquire better comprehension of this chapter.