Studiu de specialitate: Examining how Task-based learning functions in the classroom adopting Jane Willis’ approach


 Teacher: Anghel Camelia Luminiţa
Liceul Tehnologic Meserii şi Servicii Buzău

Task-based learning is one of the main learning theories that can be used for foreign language teaching. According to this learning theory, students are asked to perform communicative activities in which they have to use the foreign language.

Jane Willis (1996) suggests an approach in which no structure is pre-selected, but instead the learners are given a teacher-chosen task to transact, so that their attempts to complete the task will make relevant to them the language they need. The role of the teacher in this approach is then to provide learners with the language that has been salient in this way.

Writing a Recipe

DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTEXT

Teaching context: Students have been studying English for nine years but for three years at ‘Liceul Tehnologic Meserii şi Servicii’ Buzău. Generally speaking the language level is average, considering the good level of competence reached by some of them and the poor level of some others. They have been offered several opportunities such as communicative activities and constant use of recorded materials (cassettes). On the other hand, apart from the school context, they do not have any other kind of exposure to the language.

CLASS PROFILE

11th Class, 24 students from three different classes: 11C, 11D and 11E. Students are 16-17 years old and they specialize in services, food industry and textiles. In this class there is a gap between 2 different types of students, the good and the weak ones. Some of the students are problematic in terms of lack of motivation; they tend to be disruptive during the activities. Pupils are accustomed to working in pairs for carrying out some tasks taken from their textbooks, but in groups they seldom work.

TASK DURATION: 50 min (1 lesson)

WORK ORGANIZATION

Considering the task as ‘a set of managed behaviours that serve a particular group of learners who share particular objectives’, teacher starts off to define the main objectives of the lesson and ask the students to make groups of four from the students belonging to two desks, having as partners the students they want.

SETTING UP THE TASK

Class work / group work

The idea of carrying out this task came from the students. They saw the exercise in the textbook and they said that it would be more attractive to do it in the classroom than having it as homework-they hate doing homework. They had been taught food and drink items and in the textbook there was a nice recipe to be understood and reorganised. They found it interesting, as it was a very simple recipe. Most of the students agreed enthusiastically, probably because they like group work (they think it is a way to rest and one person will work). As the teacher is also teaching other 11th level classes, one student asked if they were going to carry out the same activity in order to exchange with them the recipes.  (fragment)