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FOCUS ON FORM IN TBLT: RESTRICTING OR EMPOWERING? Dave Willis & Jane Willis www.willis-elt.co.uk PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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FOCUS ON FORM IN TBLT: RESTRICTING OR EMPOWERING? Dave Willis & Jane Willis www.willis-elt.co.uk. Overview. A bit of background Discussion Predictions about task language Language analysis: data from texts and spontaneous task recordings Implications

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FOCUS ON FORM IN TBLT: RESTRICTING OR EMPOWERING? Dave Willis & Jane Willis www.willis-elt.co.uk

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Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

FOCUS ON FORM IN TBLT:

RESTRICTING

OR

EMPOWERING?

Dave Willis & Jane Willis

www.willis-elt.co.uk


Overview

Overview

  • A bit of background

  • Discussion

  • Predictions about task language

  • Language analysis: data from texts and spontaneous task recordings

  • Implications

  • TBLT in practice – short term and long term task sequences


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

????

Burma

Canada

China

Dubai

Egypt

Greece

Holland

Japan

Spain

Thailand

Turkey

USA

Other


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

… a conservative profession , out of touch with language acquisition studies has for many years transmitted essentially the same view of how teaching should be organised and what teachers should be like. (Skehan 1998:94)


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

  • The approach has an excellent relationship with teacher training and teachers’ feeling of professionalism.

  • It lends itself very neatly to accountability. (Testing; syllabus design)

  • There is no clear alternative.

  • (Skehan: 1998: 94)


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

It is … comfortable for teachers and teacher educators, and for the writers and publishers of teaching materials to maintain that there is a direct relationship between teaching and learning. For teachers and teacher educators this belief offers security. It suggests that we know exactly what we are doing and where we are going. We can plan lessons and recommend methodologies with confidence. For writers and publishers it means that they can make clear, unqualified claims in terms of teaching and learning for the materials they produce.(D. Willis Forthcoming)


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

The desert island game:

If you were cast away on a desert island which four of the following items would you choose to take with you?

an axe; a gun; an English dictionary; a fifty metre length of rope; a month’s supply of tinned food; fifty boxes of matches; a dozen candles; a set of kitchen knives; a torch

Making suggestions:

One participant is asking for advice on travel and tourism in South-east Asia. The other participant has a lot of expertise in this area.

Daily routines:

Find out what time your partner has breakfast lunch and dinner each day. Do not ask any questions about meals, mealtimes or food.


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

If learners feel it necessary to use should all the time (for example at the production stage of a PPP cycle where should has been presented), they are confined to one wording and are missing out on experimenting with other ways of expressing a whole range of similar meanings. Learners may wish to express their meanings less forcefully than should suggests, so phrases like I would say or I would recommend or Well, what you could do is … would be more appropriate. In a PPP lesson learners are being unnaturally constrained when they should be experiencing the richness of meaning potential and practising normal conversational skills

(Cox 2005:179)


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

The focus on grammar should vary according to the kind of grammatical system.


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

Grammatical systems

Structure:

Clause and phrase structure

Interrogative and negative forms

Relative clauses.

Orientation:

Tense, modality and aspect

Determiners

Information organisation

Pattern:

Systematic frames in which words operate

e.g. It + BE + ADJ. + to-infinitive

the + NOUN + of + -ing

(Willis, D. 2003)


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

  • We cannot teach the grammar of orientation by explaining, demonstrating or exemplifying.

  • Learner dependence on teacher and on prescriptive input is restricting.

  • Declarative knowledge is inadequate for orientation and pattern.

  • We cannot rely on progression from declarative to procedural knowledge.


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

Empowering learners

Learning processes

Recognition

System-building

Exploration

Spontaneous

use

Improvisation

Consolidation


When to work on language and focus on form

When to work on language and focus on form?

Priming & Preparation

Availability of key lexis & useful phrases

Task >> Planning >>>> Report of outcome

Language extension

>> Prestige language use

Form focus

Analysis & practice

of language features from

texts written or spoken that learners have read or heard


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

Why should learners bother to commit themselves to grammatical complexity in the classroom?


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

  • Design and implementation of tasks

  • Short term task sequences

  • Task framework (task > planning > report)

  • Data – recordings of tasks, task reports and task related texts

  • Language analysis (Skehan: Language use and language learning. Johns and Davies (1983) ‘Text as a vehicle for information (TAVI) and ‘Text as a linguistic object’ (TALO)

  • Long term task sequences – based on topic or possibly on systemic/semantic analysis


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

  • Discussion

  • A presentation based model is still the norm in the teaching profession. What can be done to convince teachers of the value of task-based approaches?

    • Research?

    • Training?

    • Publications?

    • Interaction with teachers?


Focus on form in tblt restricting or empowering dave willis jane willis willis elt

www.willis-elt.co.uk


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