Task-Based Language Teaching from the Teachers' Perspective

Insights from New Zealand

Martin East | The University of Auckland
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is being encouraged as part of a major overhaul of the entire school languages curriculum in New Zealand. However, teachers often struggle with understanding what TBLT is, and how to make TBLT work in classrooms. Using the stories that emerged from a series of interviews with teachers (the curriculum implementers) and with advisors (the curriculum leaders), this book highlights the possibilities for TBLT innovation in schools. It also identifies the constraints, and proposes how these might be addressed. The result is a book that, whilst rooted in a particular local context, provides a valuable sourcebook of teacher stories that have relevance for a wide range of people working in a diverse range of contexts. This book will be of genuine interest to all those who wish to understand more about TBLT innovation, and the opportunities and challenges it brings.
[Task-Based Language Teaching, 3] 2012.  xix, 259 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The book, even though reporting on the findings of a study conducted in New Zealand, is an important contribution to literature on task-based language pedagogy world-wide. It is most appropriate for language teachers as well as students of language teaching, curriculum developers, teacher trainers, researchers in the field of language teaching and learning and generally all those who are interested in TBLT.”
“As Robinson notes, “it is still too soon to expect definitive answers” (p. 28) regarding L2 task complexity, learning, and performance. Nonetheless, this collection documents a broad spectrum of recent work motivated by the CH that seeks to inform theory and practice in task-based language teaching. Each section offers unique perspectives on task complexity, establishing its relevance to L2 instruction. These insights from a range of experts add to the volume’s overall quality. This book should therefore find a wide audience among graduate students, language teachers, and researchers.”
“Though the author reflects on potential shortcomings of qualitative research, such as its alleged subjectivity, in my view East actually succeeds in revealing the strengths of qualitative research. First, he prevents potential subjectivity through a careful justification and explanation of his research design in the first appendix (pp. 241-246) and throughout the text. Second, East succeeds in representing the voice of the practitioners, and to juxtapose the voice of the practitioners to theoretical approaches and policy. One could say that the author, in his research approach, reflects the dynamics of TBLT. As much as TBLT emancipates the learner and increases the autonomy of the learner, so too, this research no longer prioritizes theory and policy over practice, empirical researchers over practitioners, but rather puts them adjacent to each other. In doing so, East contributes significantly to overcoming the acknowledged gap between educational research and practice (for a more detailed discussion about this gap, see Zeichner, 2009). Finally, East’s skilled use of qualitative research enables him to highlight subtle dimensions of each topic and how they are dealt with in the various classrooms, based on specified explicit cases (see Chapter 5).These particular features of the book make it a valuable contribution, not only for the New Zealand context, but for anybody who has an interest in task-based foreign language learning and teaching and its intercultural aspects. Veterans may enjoy the overview of the theories and discussions in the field as they come across mention of theorists that are likely to have been meaningful to them at some point in their careers, such as Nunan (1989, 2004), Long (1985), and Krashen (1982, 1985). Newcomers to the field will benefit from the introduction to the field of language and intercultural learning, both in theory and practice, and will feel inspired by the many practical examples and teaching materials provided by the teachers in the interviews.”
“The book is likely to be one that many will consult and will find a wide readership, including university undergraduate and graduate students – those studying language teaching and related fields, especially trainees, policy makers, support teachers or advisors (curriculum leaders), practitioners interested in doing action research in the classroom, or readers who are simply researchers wanting to find out more on TBLT in other contexts.”
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Main BIC Subject

CJA: Language teaching theory & methods

Main BISAC Subject

LAN020000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Study & Teaching
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011037316 | Marc record