Sunday 1:15 - 2:05 PM
The real-world in task-based pedagogy
University of Queensland, Australia
One of the central concerns of L2-pedagogy has been the question of
the relationship between activities designed for language learning and
the real world contexts in which learners are to rely on the information
acquired previously. The term 'task' has been used largely to refer to
the range of goal-oriented activities, all designed with the purpose of
narrowing the gap between the artificial context of classroom pedagogy
the context of the "real world" in which a specific target language
The proponents of task-based teaching approaches to language learning,
in spite of their alleged differences, all seem to suggest that the key
aspect of learning to mean in an L2 is to facilitate conditions which allow
learners to develop dispositions (or practical schemes) to recognize and
act within and upon the systems of symbolic practices of the members of
the target language communities.
However, the decision to contextualize learning, i.e. to shift the focus
of learning to the pragmatic aspects of communication (Widdowson, 1990:
118), does not seem to imply any straightforward pedagogic direction.
White (1995), for example, attributes this difficulty to the tension between
the goals pursued in the tasks designed for classroom activities and the
goals which community members pursue in real life situations.
The aim of this discussion-paper is to examine the grounds for this
tension. This examination hopes to throw light on the concept of the task
itself and thereby to make a contribution directed at overcoming the difficulties
Ania Lian is a professor in the Centre for Language Teaching and
Research at University of Queensland, Australia.