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The Role of Tasks on second language teaching

1. What is a task?
“A task is an activity which requires learners to arrive at an outcome from given information through some process of thought, and which allowed
teachers to control and regulate that process”1.

The use of tasks In second language teaching refers to a language teaching approach (Task based language teaching TBLT ) in which students are
asked to do meaningful activities using the target language. The activities have a relationship to real life / world and focuses on the use of authentic
language to solve some communicative problem, i.e.: drawing geometrical figures following verbal instructions, constructing a floor plan of a house
from a description and positioning hands on a clock to show a given time2. The tasks have clearly defined non - linguistic outcomes.

2. Two man task-based approaches: task-based and task-supported


Task-based: In task-based syllabi, the basis of this syllabus is not linguistic constructions.

Considering the role tasks play in teaching we


may talk about two main task-based Task supported: In task-supported language teaching and learning, tasks play a key role in the
approaches: task-based and task-supported. syllabus, but they do not necessarily constitute the primarily organizing principle. The syllabus may
be defined in terms of other elements, such as grammar, function, lexis, or topics. Tasks are
included to enhance the material, and offer additional opportunities for language learning.

3. Potential benefits of using tasks in L2 teaching


a) Task based learning helps learners to interact spontaneously: Learners are free to use whatever vocabulary and grammar they know. For
instance a role play requires the learner to use language freely. It gives learners chance to try out what ever language they already know
and it also gives learners a chance to notice and benefit from others expressions and thereby builds their level of confidence gradually
.
b) Automaticity: Automaticity for language learning is defined as a more efficient, more accurate and more stable performance. It is also
argued that automaticity leads to near native performance. Research in the fields of cognitive psychology and second language acquisition
suggests that automaticity is achieved by using language rules in a creative manner in an authentic communication situation.

c) Task based learning gives language learners opportunity to learn vocabulary. Usually teachers explain vocabulary in a pre-task and
learners are not involved, words taught that way are easily forgotten so it is beneficial for the students if the teacher thinks of creative
ways to involve students in the pre-task.

f) Experiential learning: Experiential learning is said to form an important conceptual basis for task-based language teaching. The learners’
immediate personal experience is taken as the starting point in this approach3.

4. Drawbacks of using tasks in L2 teaching


a) Mismatch between the learners’ and teachers’ perception: Studies indicate that the same classroom event is often interpreted
differently by the teachers and STUDENTS.
b)Authenticity of tasks

c) Linguistic deficiency: Learners who are beginners with no linguistic resources find it very difficult to take part in a task.

d) Learners’ needs neglected: Most of the language learners have specific needs. People learn a second language or foreign language, so
that it is of some use to them. A new language is learnt for a variety of reasons and not all learners need the same kind of tasks4.

1 Prabhu, N.S. (1987). Second Language Pedagogy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1987
2
RICHARDS, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.235
3 Ganta, T.G. (2015). The strengths and weaknesses of Task-based learning (TBL) approach. Scholarly Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies.

3(16), 2760-2771
4
Ganta, T.G. (2015). The strengths and weaknesses of Task-based learning (TBL) approach. Scholarly Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies.
3(16), 2760-2771