Sessions / Task Based Learning

Assessing Speaking Tasks: How can teachers evaluate students’ speech more effectively? #1272

Sat, May 15, 15:30-15:55 JST | Zoom 5

This study examined the relationship between two approaches to assess oral performances: analytical complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF) indices and human raters’ evaluations. CAF indices are analyzed with transcribed data and used frequently in second language (L2) speaking research; however, speaking tasks are communicative and goal-oriented, so the degree to which students achieve those communicative goals need to be assessed (Pallotti, 2009). The participants were Japanese university students (N = 48), who completed opinion-based speaking tasks. The recorded audio data were transcribed and analyzed using CAF measures. In addition, 11 human raters evaluated the same recorded oral performances on the following domains: topic organization, complexity, accuracy and fluency. The raw scores produced by the raters were analyzed with multifaceted Rasch analysis and computed into one logit, which is considered communicative adequacy. The results of a multiple linear regression analysis showed fluency accounted for a significant amount of the communicative adequacy, but other measures (lexis, complexity, accuracy) explain only a small portion of the variance. I conclude by suggesting that researchers and language teachers can better understand the extent to which learners achieve communicative goals by incorporating human ratings of communicative achievement into speaking assessments.

Task-based Learning from the Learners’ Perspective #1256

Sat, May 15, 16:00-16:45 JST CANCELLED

Task-based Instruction (TBI) may be one of the most popular approaches used today for developing communicative competence in learners. Despite its popularity and pedagogical advantages, critics often question its socio-cultural suitability with learners in Asian contexts, such as Japan. Much of the discussion, however, seems to have centred on the views of theorists and teachers, often failing to incorporate evidence-based learners’ perspectives into the discussion.

This presentation reports the findings of an action research project, which investigated learner perceptions of Task-based Instruction (TBI), with the primary aim to examine its socio-cultural appropriateness in the Japanese EFL context. The study employed a hybrid form of task-based and textbook-focused instruction in English classes at the tertiary level. An online survey was administered to collect student feedback, which was examined qualitatively using thematic analysis. Results will be presented in both textual and graphical form and pedagogical implications drawn from this study will be discussed.

Task-based teaching – but what about the grammar? #1379

Sat, May 15, 17:00-18:00 JST | Webinar

How did the world’s bi-lingual and plurilingual people learn the languages they speak? Were they taught or did they acquire them naturally? And how can task-based teaching help? I will show (by demonstrating a task in action) how a pre-task preparation phase and a three part task-based cycle (Task, Planning, Report) can enhance essential conditions for natural language learning both inside and outside the classroom. Interestingly, explicit grammar instruction is not an essential condition, but it has been shown that some focus on language form can help enhance learning.

But what do we mean by grammar? We used to see Grammar and Vocabulary as fairly separate entities. But insights gained from Corpus Linguistics reveal that the relationship is more of a cline, from word to phrase (fixed and partially fixed), collocation, pattern, class and structure. Communication is largely lexically-driven; after all, it is words and phrases that carry the meanings that learners will need to understand and express in order to become confident speakers. Knowledge of grammar can help them fine-tune if there is time and a need to do so. How to incorporate these insights into task-based teaching? I will show how the meaning-focussed text-based task cycle we began earlier can be followed by a range of different form-focussed activities that highlight and explore multiple aspects of grammar occurring in the texts and the task recordings that form the learner’s ‘pedagogic corpus’. Activities involve consciousness-raising, recall, extension, correction and consolidation. I will demonstrate various starting points: a single word or phrase, or a semantic field (e.g. topic-related phrases) that can help learners identify useful forms, build on them and extend their use into their personal repertoire of language appropriate for global communication.

Bio: Writer of several prize-winning books, Jane Willis worked extensively overseas as an English teacher and trainer before moving to Aston University’s Masters in TESOL programs. Now retired, she lives in the English Lake District and enjoys fell walking. She also teaches tai chi and is still quite active on the TBLT scene. See

This plenary is sponsored by JALT Task-Based Learning SIG.

TBL SIG Forum #1610

Sat, May 15, 18:00-19:00 JST | Zoom 5

The TBL SIG forum follows directly after the TBL SIG Sponsored Plenary Talk ‘TBLT: but what about the grammar?’ by Jane Willis. The plan for this forum is to continue the discussion of issues raised in Jane’s talk, and to expand on some of the activities that Jane introduces. Participants will have the opportunity not only to ask any questions they might have, but to share examples from their own teaching contexts regarding the place of grammar in the TBLT classroom.

Improving writing via metacognitive speaking tasks #1352

Sun, May 16, 13:45-14:30 JST | Zoom 5

Traditionally, comments from both peer reviews and teacher feedback significantly help students improve their L2 writing. Additionally, students could also improve by using appropriate self-assessments. Self-assessments provide opportunity for metacognition, or thinking about thinking, (Flavell, 1979) as they make deeper scrutiny of their thoughts in their own writing. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, it is challenging to administer self-assessments via remote learning as students' own evaluation of their writing may lack depth. A scaffolding technique that cultivates deeper learning is using video-recorded spoken assessments. Through video assessments, students can show their thinking, identify their own errors, and provide corrections. Teachers can use that evidence of learning to provide more practical feedback.

This presentation offers successful, classroom-tested ways to use asynchronous self-assessment through Seesaw, a free app where students can share their speaking tasks by using videos, photos, files and links. Practical classroom strategies materials, and student projects that demonstrate metacognitive awareness will be showcased.