Task-based Language Teaching in an English for Business Purposes Program

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is not a new notion in Asia, with relevant books published and researchers and practitioners sharing ideas and experiences at various meetings and conferences. To the contrary, discussions about actual implementation of TBLT seem to be still limited, and especially in Japan, attempts to adopt a task-based curriculum are mostly, if not all, made by individual teachers, rather than language programs or schools.

At the same time, there are people in Japan who need to use English in their professional lives, and an increasing number of universities are offering English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses to accommodate the future needs of their students. TBLT is a goal-oriented approach to language teaching, and is therefore compatible with ESP, which is by definition goal-oriented.

In this talk, I will share my experience in developing and implementing task-based courses in English for business purposes at a private university in Sapporo, Japan. In TBLT, target tasks (i.e., the tasks that learners need to carry out in their life) are first identified through needs analysis, and then a series of pedagogic tasks are derived by adjusting the complexity of the target tasks and sequencing them from the simplest to the most complex. I will first introduce theoretical and empirical bases for developing and sequencing pedagogic tasks, and show the actual process of syllabus and material design for the two of the business English courses I am in charge of, one for business email writing and the other for business presentation.

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Posted by IAFOR