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Task based approach and teacher training in France. Introduction: an anecdote. I am almost ready for supervision, I've got my lesson plan, my aims, my assessment activity, everything .... except for the TASK. Overview of the presentation.

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TBLT 2009 Lancaster

Task based approach and teacher training in France

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

Introduction: an anecdote

I am almost ready for supervision,

I've got my lesson plan,

my aims, my assessment activity,

everything ....

except for the TASK.

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

Overview of the presentation

  • Background information about the teacher training system inFrance –
  • a brief and simplified look
  • Regulations about the implantation of TBLT in secondary schools in France
  • Research question
  • Hypothesis
  • Data collection method :

a) Text analysis of the official programs and inspectors' report

b) Classroom observation+ lesson desing sheets

c) Text analysis of personal research files


TBLT 2009 Lancaster

1. How to become a qualified English teacher in France

A simplified version

Important changes to come In 2010- 2011 !


3 years at university studying English


One year preparing the theoretical part of the « concours  de CAPES* » The preparation involves pedagogy. Most students go to an IUFM* to prepare the exams event though it is not compulsory.

The programme includes TBLT.


A competitive examination

One year pre-service teacher training at an IUFM - compulsory

Trainee teachers have to attend pedagogy classes at an IUFM + they have to teach English in two or three classes about 6 to 8 hours a week – full responsibility

*concours  de CAPES = a highly selective exam for those who want to become teachers (civil servants)

* IUFM = instituts universitaires de formation des maîtres» (post-graduate teacher training institutes)

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

2. Regulations about the implantation of TBLT in secondary schools

1 .The Ministry of National Education draws up a detailed national curriculum for each subject for each level. It provides guidelines for teaching without however obliging teachers to adopt a particular method. These guidelines are published in the Official Bulletin by the Ministry of Education.

Important reforms since 2001 : CEFR considered as a standard.

New programmes of study for upper secondary school

2002 : classe de 2e (15 years old)

2003 : classe de 1e (16 years old)

2004 : clase de terminale (17 years old)

2. The inspectors : IGEN

TBLT 2009 Lancaster
  • 3. Research Questions
  • What factors influence trainee teachers' effective use of TBLT?
  • Difficulties trainee teacher face when putting into practice their theoretical knowledge about TBLT

4. Hypotheses

Ambiguity can be detected at two levels that makes the notion of « task » difficult to use.

1. Trainee teachers rely heavily on the programmes of study* but the message of the latter about « task » is blurred.

2. Trainee teachers interpret « task » in very different ways that suggest that the notion is far from being stabilised after having studied it for an academic year.

*the Ministry of Education publishes programmes of study for each subject in the Officiel Bulletin.

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

Data and analysis

a) Text analysis of the official programs and inspectors' report

Frequecy of « task »

The content of the language syllabus is specified in terms of linguistic items (four skills + linguistic competence (grammar, vocabulaly and phonology) ) and in terms of cultural content e.g. 1e : power relations around four basic notions : domination, influence, opposition and revolt , to be taught.

TBLT 2009 Lancaster
  • Rapport IGEN (Inspection générale de l’éducation nationale) January 2007

« En tant qu’outil de référence, le CECRL a été conçu pour être utilisable dans des contextes divers : formation continue ou initiale, apprenant adulte ou enfant, milieu professionnel ou scolaire, etc. L’approche actionnelle qu’il préconise ne fait que reprendre les principes de l’approche communicative avec une insistance particulière sur la réalisation de tâches » p.20

« Cependant, les tâches qu’il présente ne sont pas toutes adaptées à l’enseignement scolaire des langues. Il ne faudrait pas que l’approche actionnelle débouche sur un « émiettement » de l’apprentissage. » p.21

« Les nouveaux programmes de collège préconisent l’approche actionnelle, c'est-à-dire qu’ils placent la tâche au centre du processus d’apprentissage, comme au centre du processus d’évaluation. » p.22

Key points in English

The text states the importance of CEFR and « performing tasks »

Dangers of TBLT

« Task » considered to be the heart of the learning process ; tasked based assessment is recommended

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

c) Text analysis of personal research files

What is a personal research file? cf. next slide

Analysis: frequency of task

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

Dossier TEP Travaux d'études personnels(35 -40 pages)

Personal researchfile (similar to a teaching portfolio)

TBLT 2009 Lancaster

6) Conclusions

1. The documents (relevant national curriculum programmes of study, lesson design models, etc) that trainee teachers are supposed to use or to refer to, put an emphasis on content pushing « task » back to a « method level ». Consequently content-based teaching prevails.

2. Trainee teachers' understanding of « task » is blurred instead of becoming more intelligible.

3. The relationship between researching and teaching tasks should be reinforced: Ellis (2003) « The relationship between research and pedagogy is strengthened when practitioners of both work with shared constructs » . Indeed, both teachers and researchers grapple with the question of how to make « tasks » work and they are really dependent on each other to find solutions.

TBLT 2009 Lancaster


Barna, J. (2009). L'article de presse à l'épreuve, Les Langues Modernes n° 2/2009, p.21-26.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language Learning and Teaching, Oxford University Press, 387 p.

Van den Branden, Bygate, Norris (Eds). (2009). Task-Based Language Teaching: A reader, John Benjamins publishing company, 512p.

National curriculum programmes of study and inspectors' report

Inspection générale de l’éducation nationale, L’évaluation en langue vivante :

état des lieux et perspectives d’évolution, Rapport - n° 2007- 009 janvier 2007,

Programme d'enseignement des langues vivantes en classe de seconde générale et technologique,B.O. Hors série n°7 du 3 octobre

Programmes des classes de seconde générale et technologique, B.O. Hors-série n° 7 du 28 août 2003,

Programmes des classes terminales . Series générales et technologiques, B.O. Hors série N°5, 9 sept. 2004