This 90-hour, online tutored course is aimed both at classroom teachers and course designers who are interested in adopting task-based language teaching (TBLT) to deliver English as a second or foreign language. It will also be relevant to teachers of other languages who are interested in this approach, as well as teacher-trainers, directors of studies and materials writers. No prior experience of TBLT is needed but some grounding in the current theory and practice of English language teaching (ELT) will be necessary.
Our premise is that the established, coursebook-driven approach to teaching English, both in private and public sector ELT around the world, is both inefficient and badly thought through. We set out to make the case why, and to argue that TBLT—which is aimed at learners’ specific needs and respects what we know about language learning—should take its place.
To do this, we will argue that Mike Long’s version of TBLT is the optimum version. We’ll take you through its implementation from needs analysis through syllabus and material design to classroom delivery. At the same time, however, we acknowledge that Long’s TBLT is a resource-heavy model which is not easily applied in more restricted circumstances. We will therefore be exploring, in parallel, lighter versions of TBLT that could be adopted by smaller schools or individual teachers working with groups with specific needs.
- The course is presented by Geoffrey Jordan and Neil McMillan. It also features guest contributions from Mike Long, Roger Gilabert and other experts in the field including assessment expert Glenn Fulcher.
Overall, the course aims are to:
- introduce the theory behind Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)
- make the case for Long’s TBLT as the optimum version, informed both by research and classroom experience
- develop lighter versions of this model for adoption in more restricted circumstances
- take course designers through the steps of designing a TBLT syllabus, from needs analysis to task design and sequencing
- present a robust model to teachers for implementing and evaluating TBLT in the classroom
Course structure & dates
The course is delivered over 12 sessions, most of which are 2 weeks long and require 8 or 9 hours minimum work, and of which 10 have assessments (Session 0 is for orientation only). Participants have the choice of taking all the assessments (or Output tasks) for full certification, or choosing the teacher certification stream (5 Output tasks) or course designer certification (8 Output tasks).
These differentiated outcomes are due to the fact that Mike Long’s TBLT is not meant to be set up and delivered by teachers alone. However, all participants are expected to take part in all sessions, even if they choose not to complete all Output tasks, in order to get a holistic view of Long’s TBLT.
The table below outlines course dates, hours required and the differentiation between the streams.
|Session||Start||End||Topic||Main tutor(s)||Assessed?*||Time estimated (hrs)|
|2||8/11/19||21/11/19||How we learn a L2||Geoff||Yes-all||8|
|4||6/12/19||19/12/19||Long's TBLT in more detail||Geoff, Roger||Yes-CD||8|
|5||3/1/20||16/1/20||The needs analysis: identifying target tasks||Geoff||Yes-CD||9|
|6||17/1/20||30/1/20||Analysing target discourse||Neil||Yes-CD||8|
|7||31/1/20||6/2/20||Mulling it over with Mike Long||Mike||No||5|
|8||7/2/20||20/2/20||Syllabus design||Geoff, Mike||Yes-CD||9|
|10||6/3/20||12/3/20||Methodological and Pedagogical Principles||Geoff||Yes-T||5|
|11||13/3/20||26/3/20||Focus on Form||Neil||Yes-T||8|
|12||27/3/20||9/4/20||TBLT assessment & roundup||Geoff, Glenn, Neil||Yes-CD||9|
*‘Yes-all’ means the assessment should be done by all participants; ‘Yes-CD’ means the assessment is required for course designers and is optional for teachers; ‘Yes-T’ means the assessment is required for teachers, and is optional for course designers.
You can begin the course now by working through Session 1, Why TBLT. This will also give you a feel for the course structure. Most sessions (from Session 2 onwards, starting on November 11 2019) will include:
- Carefully selected background reading
- A short (25-30 min) video presentation from the session tutor
- Interactive exercises to explore key concepts
- A forum discussion topic to explore 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.)
We estimate that the time needed to work through most sessions (from Session 2 onwards) will be a minimum of 8 hours, including background reading and assessment.
An outline of all sessions is available at the foot of the main course page.
Course material, required reading & suggested reading
There is only one required text:
- Long, Mike. (2015). Second Language Acquisition and Task-based Language Teaching. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Aside from that, course material will be provided on a session-by-session basis. We also recommend these websites for further reading and exploration:
The following books and articles are also relevant as a general introduction to TBLT, although not all of these writers agree with each other (see Long’s critique of the approach of the Willises, for example, in Long (2015), pp. 210-212).
- Long, M. H., Lee, J., & Hillman, K. (in press). Task-based language learning. In: Malovrh, P., & Benati, A. (eds.), Cambridge handbook of language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.*
- Nunan, David (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Skehan, Peter (2003). Task-based instruction. Language Teaching 36, 1-14.*
- Willis, Jane (1996). A Framework for Task-based Learning. Longman.
- Willis, Jane and David Willis (2007). Doing Task-based Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
*These articles will be made available to participants when they sign up, as will other supplementary materials on a session-by-session basis.
- Please use the contact form on our home page and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
- Course image by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash
All other content (c) Serveis Lingüístics de Barcelona, 2018-2019. All rights reserved.