SLB: Task-Based Language Teaching Course No. 2

What is it?

It’s an on-line course about Mike Long’s version of TBLT, consisting of twelve, two week sessions. In the course, we

  • explain the theory behind it;
  • describe and critique Long’s TBLT;
  • develop lighter versions for adoption in more restricted circumstances;
  • trace the steps of designing a TBLT syllabus;
  • show you how to implement and evaluate TBLT in the classroom.

When is it? 

It starts on November 7th and finishes on April 9th 2020.

What are the components of the Sessions?

  • Carefully selected background reading
  • A video presentation from the session tutor
  • Interactive exercises to explore key concepts
  • A forum discussion with your tutor and fellow course participants
  • A 1-hour group videoconference with your tutor
  • An assessed task (e.g. short essay, presentation, task analysis etc.)

Who are the tutors?

Neil McMillan and I do most of the tutoring, but there will also be tutorials by Roger Gilabert, Mike Long and Glenn Fulcher.

How much work is involved?

About 5 hours a week.

Why should I do the course?

1. To change. Progress involves change, and depends on a better, deeper understanding of the situation where change is needed.

2. To improve your teaching. Evidence shows that using a General English coursebook is not an efficacious way of helping students to achieve communicative competence: teachers spend too much time talking about the language and students spend too little time talking in the language. TBLT is based on helping students to use the L2 for their communucative needs, by involving them in relevant, meaningful tasks, scaffolding their learning and giving them the help they need, when they need it. This course will explain TBLT and show you how to adapt it your particular situation.

3 To improve your CV  You’ll have greater range as a teacher. If you’re involved in, or want to be involved in, teacher training / development, course design, materials design, or assessment, this course will help you advance.

Why is there so much resistence to real change?  

Because by definition, change threatens the status quo. In ELT, the way things are suits those who run the show – it’s convenient and marketable. Language is illusive, ambiguous, volatile; and language learning is a complex, dynamic,  non-linear process.  In order to be packaged and sold, language is cut up into hundreds of neat and tidy items, which Scott Thornbury calls ‘McNuggets’, and language learning is reduced to a linear process of accumulating these items. Students buy courses of English, where they learn about and practice a certain batch of items organised in a coursebook. Their proficiency is assessed according to their knowledge of these items. The knowledge learned is referred to in “can do” statements, which are used to plot students’ progress along the CEFR line from level A1 to level C2.  The levels are reified, i.e., treated as if they were real (which they are not), and as if they reflected communicative competence (which they do not). But it looks OK, if you don’t look too closely, and there are very powerful commercial interests promoting it.

What is TBLT?

There are different versions of TBLT, including  “task-supported” and “hybrid” versions. They all emphasise the importance of students working through communicative activities rather than the pages of a coursebook, but we think the best is Mike Long’s version, which identifies “target tasks” – tasks which the students will actually have to carry out in their professional or private lives – and breaks them down into a series of ‘pedagogic tasks’which form the syllabus. In the course, we consider how to identify target tasks, how to break these down into pedagogic tasks, how to find suitable materials, and how to bring all this together using the most appropriate pedagogic procedures.

 The course sounds very demanding.

We’ve extended the length of the course, so now you’ll be expected to dedicate between 4 and 6 hours a week on it. Reading is non technical, the video presentations clear, participation in on-line discussions very relaxed, and the written component practical and short.

Is there a Preview?  

Yes. Click on this link to see Session 1 


…. and more information? 

Click here: TBLT November 2019




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