Task-Based Instruction in Foreign Language Education

Practices and Programs

Betty Lou Leaver and Jane R. Willis, Editors

"A worthy addition to task-based literature and can be recommended without hesitation to EFL practitioners. Its marriage of theory, practice, and examples provides a highly stimulating resource for those whose job is to do rather than to talk about doing."
+ Add to Cart Preorder


Request Print Exam Copy

Request Digital Exam Copy

Task-based language instruction has proven to be highly effective, but surprisingly underutilized. Theory can only go so far and hands-on experience can greatly speed and enhance the learning of a second language. Nineteen talented instructors who have successfully implemented task-based programs explain the principles behind the programs, discuss how problems were resolved, and share details on class activities and program design. Each chapter takes the reader through the different stages in designing and setting up such programs, adjusting them, and appraising and testing them in normal classroom conditions. This book covers TBI syllabus and program design and is based on actual classroom experience. Any one of the courses or programs discussed can serve as models for others. Many of the contributors are highly respected practitioners who are presenting their programs for the first time, while others are regular participants in today's ongoing dialogue about teaching methods.

Full of concrete, adaptable models of task-based language teaching drawn from a number of countries and eleven different languages—including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English, French, German, Korean, Spanish, and Ukrainian—Task-Based Instruction in Foreign Language Education presents proven, real-world, practical courses and programs; and includes web-based activities. It demonstrates useful and practical ways to engage students far beyond what can be learned from reading textbook dialogue. TBI involves the student directly with the language being taught via cognitively engaging activities that reflect authentic and purposeful use of language, resulting in language-learning experiences that are pleasurable and effective.

For all instructors seeking to help their learners enhance their understanding and grasp of the foreign language they are learning, Task-Based Instruction in Foreign Language Education is a rich and rewarding hands-on guide to effective and transformative learning.

Table of Contents


Part 1: An Overview of Task-Based Instruction: From Theories to Practices

1. Perspectives on Task-Based Instruction: Understanding Our Practices, Acknowledging Different Practitioners
Jane R. Willis

Part 2: Task-Based Instruction in Classroom Instruction

2. Task-Based Instruction in U.S. Government Slavic Language Programs
Betty Lou Leaver and Marsha A. Kaplan

3. Using Media-Based Tasks in Teaching Spanish
Alicia Mora van Altena

4. Introducing Task-Based Instruction for Teaching English in Brazil: Learning How to Leap the Hurdles
Jaurez Lopes

5. Learning Arabic: From Language Functions to Tasks in a Diglossic Context
Mahdi Alosh

6. Designing an Outcomes-Based TBI Japanese Language Program
Yoshiko Saito-Abbott

7. Task-Based Instruction for Teaching Spanish to Professionals
Clemencia Macías

8. Bridging the Gap between Sciences and the Humanities: French for Professional Engineers
Wayne Richard Hager and Mary Ann Lyman-Hager

Part 3: Internet Tasks and Programs

9. Task-Based Reading Activities Developed for Online Delivery at the Defense Language Institute
Natalia Antokhim, Abdelfattah Boussalhi, Kuei-Lan Chen, Pamela Combacau, and Steve Koppany

10. Webheads Communities: Writing Tasks for English Interleaved with Synchronous Online Communications and Web Page Development
Vance Stevens

11. Using Web Technology to Promote Writing, Analytical Thinking, and Creative Expression in German
Franziska Lys

Part 4: Assessment and Teacher Development

12. Implementing Task-Based Assessment in a TEFL Environment
Cláudio Passos de Oliveira

13. It's All in the Team: Approaches to Teacher Development in a Content-Based, Task-Based EFL Program
Kathryn Cozonac

Appendix A: Multi-Continent Glossary of Terms

Appendix B: Multi-Scale Proficiency Descriptors

About the Contributors


"A worthy addition to task-based literature and can be recommended without hesitation to EFL practitioners. Its marriage of theory, practice, and examples provides a highly stimulating resource for those whose job is to do rather than to talk about doing."—Korea TESOL Journal

"An invaluable resource, made even more so by the thoughtfulness of the chapters. Rather than offering prescriptive plans, these authors share the thinking behind their decisions and thereby provide generous insights into incorporating TBI in many different circumstances. Any teacher who wishes to improve student's fluency will find inspiration and guidance in this volume."—Patricia Chaput, professor of the Practice of Slavic Languages, Harvard University

"An eminently useful contribution to the field of language pedagogy combining the theoretical background of task-based instruction (TBI) with many examples of actual language learning tasks in a variety of languages, at a wide range of levels, at a number of different programs. Includes much information difficult to obtain elsewhere, such as using the Internet to implement TBI and training teachers in TBI."—Cornelius C. Kubler, Stanfield Professor of Chinese and chair, Department of Asian Studies, Williams College

"The introductory chapter, an overview of task-based instruction (TBI), and the ensuing chapters and descriptions of the practical application of TBI in various language programs provide a valuable pedagogical resource for instructors of all languages. The concrete examples given in each chapter illustrate the levels of creativity that can be accomplished in the language classroom."—Frank J. Miller, professor of Slavic languages and Russian Language Coordinator, Columbia University

"Leaver and Willis have assembled a distinguished and varied cast of authors, covering languages and programs not frequently treated in U.S. publications on foreign language methods and techniques. While much attention continues to be spent on variations on proficiency in foreign language education, they shift our attention to task-based instruction and present both theoretical and practical considerations for teachers, scholars, and program coordinators. They take great care to offer recommendations for students/learners as well as teachers in discussing this innovative type of foreign language instruction. Finally, most impressive about the volume as a whole is the considerable amount of space devoted to the incorporation of technology and internet resources in task-based foreign language programs."—Thomas Jesús Garza, Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, University of Texas at Austin


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Betty Lou Leaver is associate dean of Global Education and dean of New York Institute of Technology campuses in Jordan. She has introduced task-based instruction into several foreign language programs, including the Defense Language Institute, the American Global Studies Institute, NASA, the American Language Center in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and the American Language Center in Chisinau, Moldova. She has also provided assistance to programs using TBI in Brazil, Turkmenistan, Japan, and Korea.

Jane Willis is a visiting fellow at Aston University, Birmingham, UK, where she taught in the Masters in TESOL/TESP distance learning programs, specializing in course and materials design and lexical studies. She has taught English to European and Asian students and has educated teachers in Africa, Cyprus, Iran, and Southeast Asia. She began experimenting with task-based English teaching in 1982 in the British Council Teaching Centre in Singapore. She is the author of A Framework for Task-based Learning and coauthor of English for Primary Teachers.

344 pp., 6 x 9

Dec 2004

344 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-028-4
Dec 2004

344 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-419-0
Dec 2004

Related Titles