Does learners' language pattern on pedagogic tasks, and why might it matter?
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In education, it is a commonplace that teaching and learning must relate target skills (or ‘processes’) to their intended outcomes. This applies to the teaching and learning of language. For example, negotiating a hotel booking involves both the end point – i.e. securing the necessary reservation - and developing control over the processes of doing so, that is, effective use of language. Indeed a process approach to the teaching and learning of language is not new (notably in the work of Breen, e.g. Breen 1987). However the strategic processes improvised by students on tasks have not been a central concern in recent research. The focus of this talk then is on how we might understand and chart the language processes developed by learners on language learning ‘tasks’. To date, most approaches to the analysis or testing of task-based language have relied on global measures, hoping to reflect the qualities of learners’ language activity through one or more summative scores, reflecting either general aspects of on-line processing (such as relative fluency, accuracy or complexity, see for example Ellis (ed.) 2005), or the learning of particular lexico-grammatical features (cf. Mackey 2006). Both approaches can be criticised for reducing the on-task language experience to a few scores. This ignores potentially important qualitative aspects of students’ engagement in the activities, particularly the strategic moves they make as they work through a task, and leaves out a range of potential sources of learning that might be activated on tasks. Recent publications have suggested the possibility of using Complex/Dynamic Systems Theory to study second language development (e.g. special issues of Applied Linguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, and Modern Language Journal). I will draw on one account of dynamic systems theory (van Geert, 2008) to suggest a way of conceptualising the dynamics of language use on communication tasks, and illustrate the approach by analysing some data from a simple oral task. I will suggest that this approach may account better for potentially interesting on-task strategic processes that learners engage in, and for the dynamic relationships between task design, task goal, and language use. It might also offer a window on ways of interpreting the relationship between task and language, variation in how students or groups handle tasks, and suggest possible implications teachers and students use of language learning tasks.
Orateur(s) : Martin Bygate, University of Lancaster, RU
Public : Tous
Date : jeudi 9 juin 2011 de 14h10 à 15h20
Lieu : Amphi Durand Esclangon / Campus Jussieu
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