process-oriented second language acquisition research. Nunan’s (1991) paper reviewed the influence of the communicative task on curriculum development and summarized the research base for task-based language teaching ” ( Nunan ,1991, p.279). Moreover, Nunan (1991) reviewed the development of task-based language teaching (TBLT). In the first part of the paper, he provided an account of the theoretical and empirical basis for TBLT, and then discussed the influence of TBLT on curriculum development and classroom practice. In the final part of the paper, he indicated the ways in which he believed that the research agenda should be extended in the nineties (Nunan ,1991).
Additionally, Abdolahi (2000) conducted task – based activities and learning relative clauses by Persian EFL learners study .The limited results of Abdolahi’s (2000) study suggested that grammar tasks are effective in enabling Iranian intermediate level to increase their knowledge of a L2 rule. Moreover ,the results of Abdolahi’s (2000) study showed grammar tasks may contribute to L2 acquisition directly indirectly. In fact directly by providing learners with opportunities for the kind of communication which is believed to promote the acquisition of implicit knowledge and they may help indirectly by enabling learners to develop explicit knowledge of L2 rules ( Abdolahi , 2000).
Furthermore, Hanaure (2001) carried out the task of poetry reading and second language learning study. The aim of Hanaure’s (2001) study was to evaluate the role of the poetry – reading task for second language learning.
Besides, it is worth referring to the research carried in task – based learning by Murphy (2003).According to Murphy’s (2003) study, the interaction between tasks and learners showed that “manipulation of task characteristics and processing conditions can focus a learner’s attention on the competing goals of accuracy, fluency, and complexity” (Murphy, 2003, p.352).
Carless also (2007) conducted student use of the mother tongue in the task-based classroom. Besides, Carless’s (2007) study drew on “an interview study with teachers and teacher educators on the topic of the feasibility of task-based teaching for implementation in schools. It focuses on a single theme from the study: student use of the mother tongue” (Carless, 2007, p.1).
2.5 Task – based Teaching and Language Skills
2.5.1 What are Language Skills?
The tendency towards communication and negotiation among EFL learners has increased recently. So, EFL learners need to be familiar with the four skills. In fact, learning English is not just dependent on knowing one skill; hence, knowing three other skills is a must. Following is a description about each language skills:
18.104.22.168 The Nature of Listening Comprehension
Anderson and Lynch (1988) distinguished between reciprocal listening and non- reciprocal listening. In fact, reciprocal listening is kind of listening that listeners have the opportunity to interact and negotiate with speaker. On the other hand, non – reciprocal listening refers to tasks such as listening to the radio or a formal lecture where the transfer of information is in one direction only – from the speaker to the listener. (cited in Nunan,1989, p.23) .
Moreover, Anderson and Lynch(1988) underlined the complexity of listening comprehension by pointing out that the listener must simultaneously integrate the following skills:
• Identify spoken signals from the midst of surrounding sound
• Segment the stream of speech into words
• Grasp the syntax of the utterance(s)
• ( in interactive listening) formulate an appropriate response (cited in Nunan, 1989, p.23).
They pointed out that in addition to these linguistic skills , the listener must also command a range of non – linguistic knowledge and skill. These include ” having an appropriate purpose for listening , having appropriate social and cultural knowledge and skills , having the appropriate background knowledge ” (cited in Nunan 1989, p. 23).
Furthermore, Richards (1987) distinguished between conversational listening (listening to casual speech) and academic listening ( listening to lectures and other academic presentations ) .Besides , he classified listening tasks to bottom up and top – down processing. Bottom up process work on the incoming message itself, decoding sounds, words, clauses and sentences. Top – down process use background knowledge to ease comprehending the message (cited in Nunan, 1989, p.25 ).
22.214.171.124.1 Tasks for Listening Comprehension
As a general rule, in order to have more effective exercises for listening comprehension, exercises should be constructed around the task. As Dunkel (1986 ) stated the students should be “required to do something in response to what they hear that will demonstrate their understanding” (cited in Bahrami, 2010, p. 2). Examples of tasks are answering questions appropriate to the learners’ comprehension ability, taking notes, taking dictation, and expressing agreement or disagreement ( Bahrami, 2010). However, Dunkel (1986) and Wing (1986) suggested that “listening activities should require the students to demonstrate listening skills. Consequently, listening exercises should be dependent upon students’ skills in listening, rather than skills in reading, writing, or speaking ” (cited in Bahrami, 2010, p.2).
There are different types of tasks that can be performed by the students without speaking , reading , or writing. According to Richards (1983) receiving information in one form and transferring it or parts of it into another form such as drawing a picture or a diagram can correspond to the information given (cited in Bahrami , 2010, p.3). In addition, Lund (1990) and Richards (1983) stated that the pictures and objects that correspond with what was heard is another kind of listening task which is a matching exercise that involves selecting a response from alternatives. Choosing a picture to match a situation and placing pictures in a sequence, which matches a story or set of events are samples of this type of exercise (cited in Bahrami , 2010, p.3).
126.96.36.199 The Nature of Reading Skill
There are two approaches in reading bottom – up and top – down. Based on the bottom – up approach, reading is viewed as a process of decoding written symbols, working from smaller units (individual letter ) to larger ones (words , clauses , and sentences ). But there was condemnation of bottom – up approach over the years ( Nunan,1989). Smith (1978), in fact, argued that ” reading actually works in the reverse order from that proposed by bottom – up approach” (cited in Nunan,1989, p.37 ). Actually, the comprehension of meaning in order to identify words is very important. On the other hand , according to Stanvoich (1980) , more recent research demonstrated that both bottom – up decoding strategies and top – down strategies may be used in learning to read , and that efficient reading may require the integration of both bottom – up and top – down strategies ( cited in Nunan ,1989, p. 33).Therefore, successful reading involves :
• Using word attack skills such as identifying sound / symbol correspondence
• Using grammatical knowledge to recover meaning
• Using difficult different techniques for different purpose for example skimming and scanning for key words or information
• Relating text content to one’s own background knowledge of the subject at hand
• Identifying the rhetorical or functional of individual sentences or segments ( Nunan , 1989 , p.35 ).
188.8.131.52.1 Tasks for Reading Comprehension
In fact, in order to be successful in reading comprehension, employing useful tasks should facilitate learning process. So, jigsaw listening, live listening, map reading , creative product mystery and journalist tasks might be effective (Harmer, 2011). Actually, ” the involving way of reading is to have students read different texts and then share the information they have gathered in order to piece together the whole story this is called jigsaw reading ” (Harmer, 2011, p. 288). Another task is live listening in which students listen to real people speaking in class rather than to recording. Moreover, in map reading task students have to read a text about a road or a street. The students have to follow the map and draw a line while they are reading the text and pass different places. Finally, the students have to be able to find the destination correctly and Creative Product task is a task in which students should read a text and make something. Therefore, the subjects are already told to bring the necessary tools, in order to make a good and correct handicraft, the subjects have to read the text carefully and make something step by step as the text instructed . The third group of tasks is called a Mystery Task. The students have to give one-word answers to some mini-questions, based on what they have learned, or they have to draw something or color something to finally find a keyword. The last one which is called a Journalist Task , includes a text with a collection of unscrambled pictures at the bottom of it. The students have to read the text, cut the pictures and stick them on their special places (Keyvanfar and Modarresi , 2009) 2.5.1. 3 The Nature of Writing Skill
In fact, learning to write fluently and expressively is the most difficult of the macroskills for all language learners regardless of whether the language is the first , second , or foreign language. (Nunan,1989).Therefore , Bell and Burnaby (1984) pointed out that ” writing is an extremely complex
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