Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Task-Based Language Teaching (Tblt) and Task-Supported Language Teaching (Tslt) on Iranian Female Intermediate Efl Learners' Writing Proficiency

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Task-Based Language Teaching (Tblt) and Task-Supported Language Teaching (Tslt) on Iranian Female Intermediate Efl Learners' Writing Proficiency

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Tasks have a central role in modern SLA research and especially in language pedagogy. It is in the natural setting where the word "task" entered language teaching through work with adults who needed to use the second language outside the classes (Allwrights, 1979; Breen, 1984; Nunan, 1989; 1993 as cited in Megias, 2004).

The principle of "task" can be traced back from 1980s, responding to dissatisf action with dominate principles of traditional methods (Norris, 2009). They resulted in disappointing outcomes and unsuccessful learners. At that time, tasks were considered as mechanisms for production phase of teaching.

Scholars have defined tasks in different ways. Long (1985) has defined task as a piece of work undertaken freely or for the same rewards: painting a fence, filling out a form.... For Crooks (1986) task is a piece of work or activity with a specified objective, as a part of educational course, or at work. According to Bygate (2001) task is an activity which requires learners to use language with emphasis on meaning to attain an objective.

Considering the importance of task, two approaches have been proposed on the notion of "task" namely Task - based language teaching and Task-supported language teaching.

TBLT is a process-oriented approach to language teaching that focuses on communication (Little wood, 2004; Nunan, 2004; Richards, 2005 as cited in Lai & Li, 2011). The main point in Task-based language teaching is communicative tasks that serve as basic units of curriculum while the primacy is on meaning (Lai & Li, 2011).

Rod Ellis (2003) was the pioneer researcher who termed "Task-supported" instructional programme, which encompasses tasks of various kinds to develop learners' communicative language ability through pedagogic intervention

Task-supported learning tasks engage the learners, in pairs or groups, in meaning-focused production and comprehension of target language, aiming at achieving a non-linguistic goal (Wray, 2011). Therefore, tasks in Task-supported language teaching are used for functional and communicative purposes.

Wray (2011) believes the main difference between TBLT and TSLT (task-supported language teaching) is that Task-based language teaching emphasizes on the complexity of tasks, while Task-supported language teaching is likely to emphasize on language features. Basically, according to Ellis (2003), TBLT involves taking task as the basic for the whole language curriculum, while Task-supported language teaching combines tasks with traditional methodological procedure of presentation-practice- production (PPP). He states that "tasks are seen not a means by which learners acquire new knowledge of restructuring their inter-language, but simply as a means by which learners can activate their existing knowledge of the L2 by developing fluency" (Ellis, 2003, p. 30). TSLT can be the moderate and applicable model of Task-based language teaching which is more compatible with a perceived sense of innovation.

In an attempt to operationalize Task-based theory, Brenda Dyer (1996) investigated L1 and L2 composition theories according to Hillock's environmental mode and Task-based language teaching. Hillock (1986) concluded that a Task-based, process / product combination was the most effective mode of teaching composition.

At the same time, Swain andLapkin (2000) examined the use of first language in Task-based language learning. They concluded that there was more use of L1 than was expected, so judicious use of L1 can support L2 learning.Meanwhile, Carless (2003) conducted a case study, implementing Task-based language teaching in Hong Kong to observe determining factors in the implementation of Task-based teaching in primary schools. Besides distinguishing the factors, he found out that examination would have some impact on what is going on in class, as well as the point that lack of teacher's proficiency will inhibit implementation of communicative approach. …

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