Evidence-Based Teaching: Implications for Task-Based Language Teaching

| November 19, 2011
Title
Evidence-Based Teaching: Implications for Task-Based Language Teaching

Keywords: Task-Based Language Teaching, Evidence-Based Teaching

Authors
Percival Santos
Akita International University, Japan

Bio Data
Percival Santos is Assistant Professor of Basic Education at Akita International University, Japan. He is interested in the ways that the teaching of the social sciences can illuminate foreign language teaching and vice versa. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the London School of Economics, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Cambridge University, and the CELTA from International House Madrid, Spain

Abstract
Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) has become a most fashionable pedagogical approach among foreign language teachers in the past few years. But how effective is it? How do we know it works? Can we compare and benchmark it against other classroom techniques and activities? This article will explore how we can evaluate TBLT as opposed to other classroom techniques and activities. In particular it will examine evidence and will draw attention to the fact that TBLT s effectiveness as a teaching methodology is not supported by hard data. It will introduce and examine an approach to teaching that was pioneered in primary, secondary and medical schools in the UK and US called Evidence-Based Teaching (EBT) and will make a case for adopting an evidence-based outlook in second language teaching. EBT is the systematic use of those classroom methods, activities and techniques that shows draws upon evidence of its effectiveness as a classroom method. It compares the effectiveness of certain techniques relative to other ones by the use of effect-size. Effect-size is a particularly reliable and accurate tool for measuring the quality of a given initiative or instruction. Could EBT be successfully applied to second language teaching? It is hoped that just as we now have sound empirical knowledge of the effectiveness of school-teaching techniques such as reciprocal teaching (0.86), feedback (0.81), and whole-class interactive teaching (0.81), we can also acquire sound empirical knowledge of the effectiveness of foreign language teaching techniques such as TBLT, referential questions/answers, cued narratives, and information gap activities.

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Category: Teaching Articles, Volume 56