Communicative Skills through Task Based Learning

T. C. Peiris

Abstract


Task Based Language Learning (TBLL) focuses on the use of authenticlanguage and directing students to do meaningful tasks using the target language. Basedon the constructivist theory of learning, and with the acceptance of the communicativelanguageteaching (CLT) approach in the early 1980s the term, task-based languageteaching (TBLT) came into widespread use in the field of second language acquisition(SLA) in terms of designing communicative tasks to promote learners‟ actual languageusage (Jeon and Hahn (2005).

According to Gillian Porter Ladousse and Tom Noble (1991), „It can clearly beargued that being able to speak in a sustained manner, or to use “long turns”successfully in a foreign language, constitutes an authentic task and is a skill thatlanguage learners need, whether it be to sell a product, entertain dinner guests, or toexplain a problem. The oral-presentation activity provides an excellent opportunity forthe learner to develop this skill, speaking for several minutes in a structured way,delving into various aspects of a single topic.‟ (Gillian Porter Ladousse & Tom Noble –Forum xxix – 2 April 1991 p.31)

The objective of this research is to improve the communicative skills andconfidence of the English as a Second Language (ESL) learner by using ESL itselfeffectively in the learning-teaching process in the ESL classroom. In particular, thestudy focuses on the use of stress-free oral presentations in groups as a majormethodological tool in achieving this objective.

The sample consisted of twenty nine teacher-students of the National Instituteof Education (NIE), Maharagama, who are following the Diploma in Teaching Englishas a Second Language conducted by the NIE.

They were given a series of opportunities to do different kinds of presentationson different topics depending on their syllabus. The marking criteria were known bythem before preparation. At the end of each presentation, they were evaluated and the weaknesses and the strengths were discussed in a constructive way in order to furtherimprove their presentation skills and confidence.

During the observation and at the end of the process it was found out that thismethodology was very effective and successful in teaching communicative skills in theTeaching-Learning process.

Observation Schedules, interviews, and evaluation sheets were used as researchinstruments to measure the strengths and weaknesses of this methodology and to arriveat the above conclusion.

Key words: Task-based, Oral-presentation, Communicative-skills


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