It is one of 5 Popular ESL Teaching Methods. It is a modern popular approach with the teacher as a mere learning facilitator. By asking questions and solving problems, student motivation and participation in tasks and projects are thought to increase rapidly and efficiently in a language learning.
Why is this teaching method productive and important?
While task-based learning is used, students, solving tasks that are relevant and interesting to them, use the target language they’re learning to communicate with their peers. It means that they use authentic language instead of answering grammar or vocabulary questions about the language. Students don’t actually feel that they’re studying a language at that moment because they’re engrossed in the task they’re working on.
Task-based learning language in a group or in pairs is also a very important contributor to effective retention. Such type of activity and becoming confident with the language within a group or in a pair is a key step in acquiring the language skills. Their confidence and motivation to learn and to communicate with others also increase as they receive positive feedback from peers and teachers.
As the realistic context in which they’re learning the language is relevant to their personal lives, the understanding of the language also deepens.
In addition to the benefits for students, solid knowledge acquired with the help of this method will also increase their job and career prospects in the future.
What is the task-based method?
The task-based teaching approach is one of many modern ESL teaching methods and focuses on setting a goal for students — this could be a report, a video, or a presentation — and then following three main steps to achieve that goal.
1. The pre-task
During this stage, which can take up a whole lesson if needed, the teacher introduces the task to the students and gets them motivated to solve it. Once everyone is engaged, the teacher should explain what is expected for the task.
Verbal explanations can be supported by an example from the teacher or by showing a previous student’s work. The teacher can then give further instructions if needed and offer advice on how to approach the task.
2. The task
This is the main stage of task-based learning, where students start working on the task, usually in groups or pairs. This stage is done in the target language so that students feel the need to use the language they want to learn in order to solve the task.
The teacher doesn’t usually join in the work process. Instead, he or she will monitor the students and offer hints if students really need support.
3. The review (or post-task)
Once the students have completed the task and have something to present, the review stage, also known as the post-task, starts.
It’s a good idea to let students evaluate each other’s work and only offer a teacher review of frequently-made errors during the task. Peer correction could be carried out in the form of comments, feedback discussions, or a checklist with additional room for free commentary.
The review stage offers students the opportunity to reflect on their work and analyze it in order to improve their skills for the future.
Prepared by Pavlo Prokopenko, Senior Teacher of The English Language Department.