Edited by Virginia Samuda, Kris Van den Branden and Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 12] 2018
► pp. 52–70
Chapter 2. Teacher transformation of textbook tasks in Vietnamese EFL high school classrooms
The study reported in this chapter investigated how and why the EFL teachers in a Vietnamese high school diverged from the tasks set in the textbooks provided as part of a task-based curriculum. Over a two-and-a-half-month period, nine teachers (all Vietnamese nationals) were observed teaching a sequence of five lessons covering one textbook unit; a total of 45 observed lessons. The lessons were audio and video recorded, and the teachers and selected students were interviewed. The teachers also took part in stimulated recall sessions. Results of an analysis of the features of the textbook tasks and of the observed lessons showed the teachers frequently adapt or replace textbook tasks, opting to change closed tasks into more open-ended tasks (open, divergent and input-independent) and to modify what they perceived as inauthentic tasks so they were not just ‘real world’, but ‘real’ to students. As to why teachers made these choices, interview data revealed a set of clearly articulated and shared beliefs among the teachers about the nature of teaching and learning, based in part on their experience of experimenting with different types of tasks. Prominent in their stated beliefs was a strong orientation toward the social and affective dimensions of task-based learning which prioritized learner engagement and well-being. This study provides insights into teacher decision making in task based teaching and addresses the pressing call for a ‘researched pedagogy’ which insists that “the use of tasks in classrooms must be an essential focus” (Bygate, 2011).
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