Presentation The Task-Based Syllabus. By Lin Xiao lan, Zhou Xiao Zhou, Su Xiao Wen, Cheng Men Seb.23, 2008. Theoretical assumptions.
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By Lin Xiao lan, Zhou Xiao Zhou, Su Xiao Wen, Cheng Men
Task-based syllabus design has interested some researchers and curriculum developers in TEFL since the mid-1980s, as a result of widespread interest in the functional views of language and communicative language teaching.
In other words, a task is a piece of work which is done by learners in everyday life, involving learners in processing information and using target language, then a final product is completed.
A task is consisted of six fundamental components
1.“Goals” . the general goal of tasks is to attain communicative language skills, which is a most important aspect in the nature of language learning.
Let’s think about this matter: what do we attain our native language for? No matter who they are, their purpose is to get information from others, expressing their own feelings, communicating with the others in the society and so on. So one of the most important aspects of language using is communication. It is the goal that task-based syllabuses are based on. Personally this kind of syllabuses is more suitable for our needs.
Apparently these materials are objective and can be used in everyday life. And this can result in a short-term achievement, leaving the learners the sense of success, which will surely enhance the learners’ interests and motivation.
They augment their amount of knowledge and language skills by involving in different kinds of activities. It is said that learning is living and it is also playing and growing. Children begin to know this world by touching and doing. So do language learners.
Which one should be paid more attention, teacher-centered or learner-centered? Now we are sure to choose the learner-centered one, because we know it is the scientific way to learn language. Teacher, as we know, is a monitor or a server in language teaching, because learning is the learner’s own developmental process, just like a baby growing up gradually by contacting the world s/he is living in. In Task-based syllabuses learner role is emphasized and the main body in learning comes out.
Input → Tasks ← Learner role
Activities ↗ ↖ Settings
①. Compared to grammatical syllabuses and functional-notional syllabuses, it is not the language but the tasks which are selected and graded.
②. The tasks which are designed according to input data, learners’ current level with precise goals can be rearranged and graded in various ways
①. It is hard to find clear criteria for the selection and grading of tasks.
Just as Nunan states “determining task complexity is made difficult ,not only by the range of factors involved, but also by the interaction of these factors with each other”.
However task can be designed easy or difficult by setting activities which require different learner responses. So in designing the tasks,
can we completely ignore the materials?
Are authentic materials better than elaborated written texts?
How can learners be exposed to the language as a system?
There are no precise answers in it.
1. It is very difficult for the designers to select, grade and sequence the tasks scientifically.
2. It neglects the importance of the knowledge of the target language. In some sense, the language knowledge is the basis for a further learning of the target language. A second language learner outside the linguistic environment which a native speaker enjoys can speak the target language fluently but can’t accurately without enough linguistic knowledge. It can be said that fluency will be meaningless and valueless without accuracy.
4. It neglects the differences between different cultures. So, learners from different cultural backgrounds can have different understandings and responses in the same task.