This course explores ways of teaching reading skills in English as Second and Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) using a task-based approach. You will be introduced to the concept of task and the key principles of task-based language teaching (TBLT) and learning. TBLT uses communicative tasks as the key unit for creating language learning activities. You will also examine the role of reading in real-life and in second and foreign language teaching and current thinking about the interface between TBLT and second language reading. You will explore how TBLT and teaching second language reading can be successfully integrated in practice through analysing task-based reading materials. The course culminates in creating task-based materials for teaching reading in your own language teaching contexts.
After completing the course, you will be able to:
1. Explain the main components and tenets of a task-based approach to teaching language;
2. Explain the main issues involved in teaching reading;
3. Illustrate connections between TBLT approaches and the teaching of reading;
4. Integrate tasks into your own teaching;
5. Identify reading texts that are suitable for the construction of tasks; and
6. Construct reading tasks and sequences for use in your own classroom.
Introduction to the Course
Welcome to 'Teaching EFL/ESL Reading: A Task Based Approach!'.
What is Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT)?
Welcome to module 1! In this module we will be looking at some key concepts and issues that surround the role of tasks in second language learning and teaching. First, we will define what we mean by the notion of task. Then, we will consider different task types and the role of tasks in the syllabus. We will also discuss the rationale for using tasks in second language teaching, and how task-based lessons and sequences are typically organized. The module ends with an interview with Dr. Nick Andon from Kings' College London, who is an international expert on task-based language teaching.
What is Reading and What Does It Involve?
Welcome to module 2! In this module we examine reading from a number of angles. We start by examining the cognitive element of reading. The second angle we examine reading from is reading as a communicative activity, and its links with communicative language teaching. We then look at reading as a strategic activity, and at the links between reading and background knowledge, and look at the way in which background knowledge is needed in order to understand three specific texts. We end by discussing ways of developing reading fluency.
Teaching Reading in the Second Language Classroom
Welcome to module 3! In this module we will be thinking about the ways in which we teach reading in the foreign and second language classroom. We start by comparing the ways in which we read outside the classroom and the ways in which we ask our learners to reading in the classroom. We think about principles for reading in the communicative language classroom and about the implications of these principles. We go on to consider the three-phase reading lesson and look closely at an example of such a lesson, and then look at other ways in which we can construct reading lessons, focusing on the way in which we can incorporate tasks into such lessons. We end with an interview with Prof. Cathie Wallace, who talks about her research into reading classrooms.
Focus on Language in the Reading Lesson
Welcome to module 4! In this module we will be looking at how a focus on language, such as grammar and vocabulary, can be integrated into task-based reading sequences. First, we will consider some of the options available in terms of the stages of the task-based reading lesson. Next, we will look at each stage in more detail. We will discuss the usefulness of pre-teaching vocabulary. We will examine how a focus on language can be incorporated at the while-reading stage. In particular, we will review research on two textual modification techniques, glossing and textual input enhancement. We will also reflect on ways of selecting linguistic features for language-focused work in the post-reading phase. The module ends with an interview with Dr. Parvaneh Tavakoli, a well-known researcher working on task-based language teaching.
Welcome to module 5! In this module we move away from the intensive teaching of reading in the classroom to working with learners on extensive reading. We define extensive reading and look at the main principles of using extensive reading. We discuss the benefits of extensive reading programmes, as well as the way in which extensive reading can be linked to task based language teaching. We end with an interview with Dr. Sam Duncan in which she talks about her experience of running a reading circle with a group of adult literacy and ESOL learners.
Designing Reading Tasks
Welcome to the last module on our MOOC. In this module we will focus on the way in which we can write materials: we will think about sources for texts, about finding suitable tasks for texts, and will practice write new tasks for texts that you have already read. We will end with two interviews: one with Caroline Herring, a teacher in London who talks about materials she wrote for her own learners, and the second with Prof. Pauline Foster, who talks about reading and reading tasks.