Developing Japanese learners' use of the English article system through task-based learning in an intermediate level University program.

Neil Millington & Colin Thompson
Saturday, 9 January 2010 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

   

In recent years the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan has expressed its desire for English language educators to move away from more traditional teacher-centered models of instruction and adopt approaches that focus on communication skills and group work. This presentation reports on a project that attempts to respond to this objective. More specifically it describes efforts to introduce task-based learning into a university-level EFL program. It will demonstrate, by way of a series of examples, how communicative tasks were administered to a class of 24 adult learners of English to develop their oral communication strategies and to draw the learners’ attention to the usage of potentially problematic features of the language such as articles. The presenters will begin by outlining the rationale for selecting a task-based approach to developing communication skills and will then go on to describe a methodology that employs ordering and sorting tasks to promote interaction, negotiation of meaning and opportunities for students to reflect on the accuracy of the language used. The presenters will conclude by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using tasks in their particular learning context and will discuss how their efforts led to the wider use of tasks in their curriculum.

Neil Millington is a lecturer at APU Ritsumeikan University where he teaches Fundamental and Intermediate English classes. He has been teaching in Japan for over seven years and his teaching interests include Task-Based-Learning and Teaching Young Learners.

Colin Thompson is a lecturer at APU Ritsumeikan University where he teachers Intermediate English classes. He has been teaching in Japan for approximately four years and his teaching interests and his teaching interests include the development of oral second language proficiency and the use of pedagogic Tasks.