Technology in PPP and Task-Based Language Teaching lessons

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Here is a guest article written by Huw Jarvis, one of our winners of the LTSIG travel grant scheme.

Our members can avail of opportunities to attend and present at IATEFL associate conferences around the world by answering our regular calls for proposals. These  are announced on the LTSIG website and dedicated social media platforms. Those of you who win a travel grant will receive 300 GBP to offset your expenses for the conference.

Read on to get a taste of inspiration from Huw Jarvis who presented at the recent TESOL Greece International Conference in Athens, 2016.

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 This talk provided a hands on opportunity for participants to see how, in traditional classes, language is presented before being practised and then produced (PPP), with computer or mobile assisted language learning (CALL\MALL) consolidating input through a series of exercises.

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The talk then moved on to identify the following four key criteria (Ellis, 2012 :198) of a task-based language teaching (TBLT) alternative:

 

1) Τhe primary focus is on meaning;

2) There is some kind of gap;

3)Learners need to use their own linguistic and non-linguistic recourses;

4) Τhere is an outcome other than a display of language.

 

The talk demonstrated how TBLT is better aligned to Mobile Assisted Language Use or MALU (Jarvis and Achilleos, 2013) than it is to CALL or MALL.

The above points were illustrated by taking a standard EFL lesson for lower-intermediate young adult learners and demonstrating the role of learning technologies within two different methodological traditions.The aim of both example lessons was to teach and provide further practice in the use of the past simple tense for completed past actions.   In the first PPP a dialogue was built and drilled, before substitution elements were introduced which then led to a freer production activity. In this lesson CALL and MALL has a supportive tutorial role with input being assumed to equate with output. Here learning technology’s theoretical rationale can be located within one of two phases of CALL / MALL (Warschauer & Kern, 2000).

Εxamples using structural and cognitive CALL/ΜALL

a) The first example involved practice exercises and forms part of “structural CALL\MALL” where language is aligned to “behaviour” and students interact with the computer to complete a multiple choice grammar exercise.


b) The next example involved students manipulating a word-processed text (Jarvis, 1997) and is aligned to the second “cognitive CALL\MALL” phase.  Here language is seen not as behaviour, but as communication which involves “thinking or working things out”.  Ιn this example students discuss and manipulate a word-processed text.

 Example of TBLT lesson using sociocognitive CALL/ΜALL


In the TBLT lesson students found out about each others weekend from the outset by surveying what others did.  Sociocognitive CALL/MALL, the third phase is applied here.  Students not only think and work things out, but critically they also interact with each other with and through technologies.

Overall significance.

The example given in this talk involved students finding out what each other did over the weekend so as to decide who had the most exciting time, with pictures from mobile devices being used to “show and tell” , and follow up activities that involved posting and commenting on Facebook. I used this example, together with my on-going work in this field, to argue that learning scenarios like these are not really CALL or MALL at all, and that Mobile Assisted Language Use is a more appropriate acronym for describing and investigating practice.

Conclusion.

At the end of the sessions participants had the opportunity to critically reflect on the two methodological approaches and have a better idea of how to “normalise”(Bax, 2003) technology in their everyday practice.  Emerging themes in the concluding part of the talk  included a reflection of what digital residence in English as an L2 might mean for our practice (Jarvis, 2014) and consideration of the significance of comprehensible input in a digital age  (Jarvis and Krashen, 2014).

You can find Huw’s GreeceTESOL presentation files here to learn more and consult research references.

 

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Bio
I am a Senior Lecturer in TESOL at The University of Salford in the UK. I have an extensive publication record and I am a regular presenter at international conferences usually as a keynote or plenary speaker.  In addition to the UK, I have lived and worked in Sudan, Kuwait and Thailand. I have been fortunate enough to deliver numerous presentations, consultancies, guest lectures, workshops etcetera in over 20 countries. I undertake external validation and examining activities and I have had commissions from Routledge and Oxford University Press to review works prior to publication.

 My teacher education areas of expertise include technology, methodology, syllabus design, teaching materials, research methods and English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

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Acronyms

PPP – Present, Practise, Produce.

TBLT – Task-Based Language Teaching.

MALU – Mobile-Assisted Language Use.

MALL – Mobile-Assisted Language Learning.

CALL – Computer-Assisted Language Learning.

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