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TBLT 2007: Research Paper Abstract

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Learning about Global Issues Through Task-Based

Activities: Mixing and Matching the Four Skills



Melvin R. Andrade, Ed.D.
Sophia Junior College and
Aoyama Gakuin University (
_IE Program)


Content-based and theme-based learning are becoming increasing evident in college and university English programs in Japan as ways to increase motivation and stimulate learning. In such courses, it is common to see emphasis being put on global trends and issues such as consumption, energy, environment, food and water, population and migration, rich-poor gap, and world health. Along with these changes in approach and content, has there been a corresponding change in the way the material is presented and practiced? The present paper addresses this question from the perspectives of a materials writer and textbook evaluator. Specifically, it investigates the extent to which EFL textbooks for university-level students in Japan reflect the principles of task-based learning in their lesson formats and practice activities. In addition to using the Willis model of task-based learning to analyze the materials, it considers them from the viewpoint of which skills are being emphasized. That is, it considers whether the tasks put emphasis on spoken language (listening and speaking), written language (reading and writing), comprehension (listening and reading), or expression (speaking and writing). The findings of this research not only provide a sample of the current state of task-based teaching as reflected in textbooks published in Japan but also serve as guidelines for teachers and materials writers who would like to make their lessons and materials more compatible with the task-based approach.

Selected References
(forthcoming)
@
A paper to be presented at the 2nd International Conference on Task-Based Language Teaching. University of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA. Sept. 20-22, 2007.

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