TBLT for Teacher Development Implementing an Online Course María Elena Solares [email protected] Department of Applied Linguistics - CELE Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México September, 2007 Objective Through direct experience in learning tasks participants will analyze and implement the principles of TBLT in order to assess its usefulness in their specific teaching context This objective derived from 4 premises: Direct Experience: Do as you preach Implement: Performance-based curriculum design Assess: not TBLT as the “golden method” but to raise teachers’ awareness of recent research in SLA Addressed to Teachers: main agents of change Making SLA research accessible to Ts & raising teachers’ awareness of their teaching habits and of the kind of teachers they are to deal with change in language teaching Reaching my course objectives implied: Finding the way of making teachers experience TBI Defining my concept of task in T Ed Defining the aspects of TBI which were applicable to teacher education Defining what my framework for TBL in teacher education would be TBL Experience: what I wanted Involve Ts in learning “x” + analyze experience = TBI However: “x”: different from English learning Time constraints: 60 hours Need to clarify concepts, present TBI in a historical context and respond to Ts’ needs analysis TBL experience: what was achieved Organizing knowledge around a main task Main task: implementing = learning by doing Having a pre-task stage with mini-tasks which prepared Ts to achieve the main task Pre-tasks which allowed Ts to notice important features of tasks and of TBI necessary for the implementation Post-task: identify teachers’ major problems and interests First module in English in ALAD diploma possibility to explore L2 development in a content based course Tasks in T Ed (Crookes, Prabhu, Ellis, Puren) A work plan where the primary focus is on solving a real-world teaching and learning problem and which promotes teachers’ reflection, questioning and searching for solutions. This work plan is usually reflected in a product or outcome. Criteria for Tasks in T Ed Tasks (Ellis) Tasks in T Ed Work plan Work plan Focus on meaning Focus on solving a problem Real-world processes of language use Real-world teaching and learning problems Four skills Problems in the 4 skills Cognitive processes Reflective, cognitive processes Communicative outcome Outcome Course Features Course Content Unit 0: Speak to us of Teaching Unit 1: What is Task Based Language Teaching? Unit 2: Models for Language Teaching Unit 3: What is a “task”? Unit 4: Implementing TBLT Unit 5: Assessing TBLT Course Structure Problem Input Major Problem UNIT 0 Speak to us of Teaching UNIT 1 What is TBLT? UNIT 2 Models for LT UNIT 4 Implementing TBLT UNIT 5 Assessing TBLT UNIT 3 What is a task? Pre Task Task Post Task Framework for TBL in Teacher Education (Puren) STATEMENT OF A PROBLEM Approached from teachers´ representations or beliefs about that problem INPUT Through articles, models, interactive activities, online presentations engaging teachers in constant reflection and search INDENTIFICATION OF A MAJOR PROBLEM Attempt to solve a problem a major problem (no unique, universal solution) Course Components Course platform: units, personal folder, forum, gallery, tools (progress log, evaluation rubrics, course schedule, peers’ profile, etc.) Course Components (cont.) Tasks which promoted collaborative work and interaction at different levels: Tutor-student: folder Student-student: forum Student-content: interactive activities Course Components (cont.) Samples of TBL implementation: interviews with implementers Course Components (cont.) Free online articles, books, books or articles summaries Constant cycles of self-evaluation The Online Course Unit 0 Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 4 Unit 5 Preliminary Results Feedback Questionnaire Course strengths Organization 5 sts: very well organized 1 sts: some aspects were, others weren’t (tech. sup.) Objectives 6 sts: were reached and went beyond my expectations Content 6 sts: was very good, very useful and relevant to my teaching practice Course strengths (cont.) Materials Evaluation criteria 6 sts: very useful and illustrative 6 sts: very adequate Evaluation rubrics 6 sts: were useful and clear to understand what was expected from me in each of the activities Course impressions Interesting Edifying Useful Recommendable Seed for new projects Attractive and fruitful At the cutting edge Motivating Very good Excellent course It invited me to reflect and improve my classes Educational Some times tiring Innovative It overcomes teachers’ isolation at work Things to improve Time allotted to different units 3 sts: enough 2 sts: more time should be allotted to each unit 1 sts: limited, some units needed more time (planning a TBL lesson, designing/transforming a task, implementation) No. of activities assigned for each unit 5 sts: enough 1 sts: too many Things to improve (cont.) Kinds of problems you found in the course 6 sts: technical (folder was not working properly, lack of support from technician) In future courses 3 sts: WWW resources should be better exploited 2 sts: it was ok for me 1 sts: audio, video-tapes and/or CDROM should be included Suggestions for the course Improve technical problems More time should be considered for some activities Reduce a couple of readings, specifically in unit 4 (implementation) Course schedule should be extended to assimilate contents better Conclusions & Insights Conclusions & Insights It is possible to make SLA research accessible to busy practicing teachers The proposed approach for teacher education generated reflection and hopefully change in teachers’ practices The course motivated teachers to further explore TBI in their classes Presenting TBI in a historical context resulted useful and enlightening for teachers (against omitting unit 1) Need for long-term teacher follow-up was expressed and it is also necessary study groups Conclusions & Insights (cont.) Instruments to measure teachers’ behavior or views before and after the course are necessary Transforming exercises into tasks & writing TBL lesson plans were considered motivating, useful, challenging, meaningful, real-life tasks Willis´ framework and Ellis’ approach to understanding “task” and TBL resulted enlightening and accessible. Both allowed Ts to look at TBL as a whole, as a larger pedagogic plan around a task Evaluating TBLT: rejection to Swan’s criticisms Task vs. exercise debate: Ts had clear idea about differences between task and exercise Conclusions & Insights (cont.) TBLT course + L2 teaching = more meaningful exp. (Ts apply what the learn + explore from the classroom + tutor & colleagues’ feedback) More time for planning, implementing and assessing teachers’ experience is necessary Online education allowed sharing and enrichment from different teaching contexts + “minimizing Ts’ isolation” Swapping units 2 and 3 Future Research Need to further explore TBI in teacher education Need for instruments to measure Ts´ change in ways of thinking, attitudes and behavior Need for teachers’ follow-up study groups Results in wider/different communities international where L2 is an objective Future Research (cont.) New areas of research The role of tutor’s feedback in teacher development Ts’ interaction in discussion forums Knowledge building in online education When and how teachers’ awareness takes place Samples of Tasks Task 1: Presenting Willis’ TBL framework Pre-task Poem Pre-Task Activities Teacher’s role Teacher's Role Mind map Pre-task.pdf Task Cycle Task Cycle.pdf Language Focus Language Focus.pdf Task 2: Task vs. Exercise Debate Participation in a debate Task-Exercise Debate.pdf Supported argumentation (from someone else’s shoes) A discussion is started from a concrete problem Ts are asked to participate in discussion from a point of view contrary to their own Each teacher must act as a person with different views from his/her own Task 3: Creating evaluation instrument Ts read a text and prepare an evaluation instrument based on its content for a different group to answer Instrument 1 instrument 1.pdf Instrument 2 instrument 2.pdf Main Task: implementing TBLT “Taskifying” textbook units Teaching 2 parallel courses: same objectives + different methodology (“traditional” vs. TBLT) + exam + compare results Analyzing textbooks from TBL perspective Implementing TBL lessons and task created by Ts + observing sts’ response + writing Ts’ insights Other pedagogical tasks Matching concepts, interviewing colleagues, finding similarities and differences in teachers’ implementation of TBI, inferring concepts, reading to agree or disagree, analyzing different authors’ points of view, etc. Tasks Characteristics (Skehan): motivating, meaningful, useful, at the appropriate level of difficulty Course tasks lead teachers to comprehend, to analyze, to synthesize, to evaluate and to apply Thank you! [email protected] PRE-TASK ACTIVITIES Engage your students In pre-task activities Advance preparation So goals are attained Defining objectives Will surely be needed Let students recall Eavesdrop here and there And words will sure flow Introduce vital phrases And language as well To make students confident For whatever may come But don’t you despair If problems do arise As pre-task activities Are only the start Teacher’s Role What is TBLT? (unit 1) What is TBL, its objectives, its theoretical support? What does TBL consist on? How does it work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of TBL for learners and teachers? How efficient is TBL? How much of CLT is there in TBL? What is the difference between TBL and CLT? Where does TBL come from? Who created it, when and where? Who is/are its proponent(s)? What audience is TBL addressed to? For how long has it been used? Models for Language Teaching (unit 2) How can I use TBL in my classes? How is grammar approached in TBL? Does TBL allow for focus on form? Does TBL have any implications in lesson planning? How can I plan TBL classes? How can activities be sequenced in TBL? Can TBL be applied to the 4 skills? What kind of activities does TBL suggest for learners to go beyond communication and be able to automatize specific structures? What is a task? (unit 3) What is a task? What is the main difference between a task and an activity? What makes a “task” a task? Why should we use tasks? What is their rationale? What do they consist on? What type of tasks? Are tasks always oral, written or both? Can tasks be used in all languages and for any topic? Course Structure: Principles of TBI (Skehan) Instruction should allow for the experimentation and use of the model: pre, during and post task (implementing) Selection of tasks should lead to a larger pedagogic plan: implementation of TBL There should be conscious cycles of evaluation: selfevaluations + evaluation rubrics Numa Markee (1997:80) “From the perspective of practicing foreign language teachers, SLA research is rarely worth reading because the ideas researchers discuss are too distant from teachers´ everyday classroom concerns. Furthermore, even when researchers discuss ideas that are potentially relevant to teachers, they often express themselves in such opaquely technical language that teachers are “turned off” from the whole idea of research”.