SLB: Task-Based Language Teaching Course No. 4

Roll Up! Roll Up! Limited Places! Hury! Hurry! Hurry!

The fourth run of our online TBLT course starts on January 23rd 2023 and subscription is now open. It’s a 100-hour, online tutored course aimed at 

  • classroom teachers
  • course designers,
  • teacher-trainers, 
  • directors of studies and 
  • materials writers.

The growing popularity of TBLT as an approach to language teaching is surely explained by increasing dissatisfaction among EFL professionals with current ELT practice. As convenient as coursebook-driven courses might be, they’re tedious, based on false assumptions about how people learn an L2, and they frequently fail to deliver the improvement that students hope for. In contrast, TBLT focuses on meaning-making and engagement with real-world language needs; they give experienced teachers fresh opportunities to re-engage with their practice, they offer new teachers a more challenging, much more rewarding framework for their work, and they allow students to learn through scaffolded use of the language (learning by doing), which, as we know from evidence from research, is the best way to learn an L2.

The vibrancy of TBLT is evidenced by animated discussions on social media, by increasing presentations at conferences (including the biennial International Conference on TBLT), by the recently-formed International Association of TBLT (IATBLT), and by the wave of new publications, including thousands of journal articles, special issues in prominent journals, and the new journal specifically dedicated to the topic, TASK: Journal on Task-Based Language Teaching and Learning, the first volume of which appeared in 2021. Books which followed Long’s seminal (2015) SLA and TBLT include

  • Ahmadian & García Mayo, M. (2017) Task-Based Language Teaching: Issues, Research and Practice,
  • Ellis, R., Skehan, P., Li, S., Shintani, N., & Lambert, C. (2019) Task-Based Language Teaching: Theory and Practice. and
  • Ahmadian, M. & Long, M. (2021) Cambridge Handbook of Task-Based Language Teaching. 

All of these will be dealt with in the course.

The Course

Our SLB course tries to “walk the talk” by working through a series of tasks relating to key aspects of TBLT, from needs analysis through syllabus and material design to classroom delivery and assessment. While we are influenced by Long’s particular version of TBLT, we also explore lighter, more feasible versions of TBLT which can be adopted by smaller schools or individual teachers working with groups with specific needs.

 Neil McMillan (president of SLF) and Geoff Jordan (both experienced teachers with Ph.Ds) do most of the tutoring, but we are priveleged to be assisted by the following experts:

Roger GilabertAn expert on TBLT, Roger worked with Mike Long on several projects and has developed a TBLT course for Catalan journalists. His contributions to our three previous courses have been extremely highly rated by participants.

Marta González-Lloret: Marta did her PhD with Mike Long at the University of Hawai’i, is currently book series co-editor of Task-Based Language Teaching. Issues, Research and Practice, Benjamins, and is espcially interested in using technology-mediated tasks.

Glenn FulcherGlenn is a renowned testing & assessment scholar. His (2015) Re-examining Language Testing. A Philosophical and Social Inquiry was winner of the 2016 SAGE/ILTA Book Award, jointly with Fulcher and Davidson (2012) The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing.  He’ll help us with our discussion of task-based, criterion-referenced performance tests.

Peter Skehan Peter is one of the most influential scholars in SLA, with a particular interest in TBLT. Peter was the inaugural recipient, along with Mike Long, of the IATBLT’s Distinguished Achievement Award, made in 2017 at the Barcelona conference. We will use recordings we made of discussions with Peter, where he helps us get to grips with a key part of TBLT: designing and sequencing pedagogic tasks. We hope Peter will also join us for a video-conference session during the course.

Ljiljana Havran Ljiljana is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer who works in Belgrade. Her blog is one of the most read and respected in the ELT community. Ljiljana will share her experiences of designing and implementing a TBLT course for pilots and air traffic controllers.

Rose Bard Rose Bard works in Brazil and, like Ljiljana, has a blog which enjoys a wide audience. In this course, Rose is going to tell us how she uses Minecraft in her TBLT courses aimed at young learners.

Mike LongThe course will also include exclusive recordings of Mike Long, who inspired Neil and me to design the course, and who contributed to our first three versions of the course.

1. Modules

Now you can choose individual modules or the whole course. The whole course takes 100 hours and consists of five modules (see below). If you choose to do one or two individual modules, you’ll have the chance to do further modules in later courses to achieve complete certification.

2. TBLT & Technology

We will give more attention to the increasingly important influence of new technologies on the TBLT field. As the tasks people need to perform are increasingly mediated by technologies, so is TBLT itself, with consequences for how TBLT courses are designed and run.

3. More Flexible approach to TBLT

Thanks to the truly impressive work of the participants in the three previous courses, we’ve learned a lot about the problems of implementing a full version of Long’s TBLT, and we now better appreciate the need for a flexible case-by-case approach to the design and implementation of any TBLT project.

In the third course, we were very pleased to see how each participant slowly developed their own TBLT agenda, working on identifying their own target tasks, breaking these down into relevant pedagogic tasks, finding suitable materials, and bringing all this together using the most appropriate pedagogic procedures.

Another gratifying aspect of all the courses has been the way participants have learned from each other; most of the individual participant’s TBLT models contain common elements which have been forged from the forum discussions.

So in this course, we’ll make even more effort to ensure that each participant works in accord with their own teaching context, and at the same time contributes to the pooled knowledge and expertese of the group.

2. There are 5 modules:

  • Presenting TBLT
  • Designing a TBLT Needs Analysis
  • Designing a task-based pedagogic unit
  • Task-Based Materials:
  •  Facilitating and evaluating tasks

3. Each Module contains:

  • Background reading.
  • A video presentation from the session tutor and/or guest tutors.
  • Interactive exercises to explore key concepts. 
  • An on-going forum discussion with the tutors, guest turors and fellow course participants.
  • An extensive group videoconference session with the tutors and/or guest tutors. 
  • An assessed task (e.g. short essay, presentation, task analysis etc.). 

Sneak Preview

To get more information about the course, and try out a “taster” CLICK HERE

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