TBLT & CALL: challenges and obstacles in ELT

An introduction to computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) for student teachers in our Masters in Teaching English programme at the University of Nice. I’ve linked to a number of examples of CALL projects and classroom technology use, as well as references to other resource sites and a short annotated bibliography. Feedback welcome!

Technology-mediated CALL in your classroom

Story Slam

Moth story

an example of a technology-mediated task: storytelling with second year students of English, Media & Communication.

  • the teacher prepares introductory lesson using a Moth story with transcript prepared on storyscribe
  • students talk in class, record on smartphones, then upload a recording to SoundCloud
  • the teacher creates a Google Form to collect SoundCloud links (see also Form tips here)
  • the teacher creates a generic message on gmail for individual feedback
  • the teacher makes a webpage for general feedback including resources for further study (WordPress, Google sites or Weebly)

NB: play safe (learner/parental authorisation) and play fair (copyright/creative commons). Voir également cette présentation en 180 secondes en français.

Technology-mediated CALL to connect classrooms

Who’s who? task

Primary EFL class exchange (France-Germany)

The French primary class makes a set of video selfies to send to a partner class in Germany, using English as a lingua franca. The German class does the same, and each class watches their partners’ videos to identify the pupils in a group photo.


  • Tablet technology: to make and share their video selfies, the learners used the iPad camera
  • Online sharing: for exchanging videos, the teachers used Google Drive and Gmail.
  • Classroom exploitation: to watch the videos, the teachers used
      • iPads
      • a laptop computer (with projector)
      • an IWB.
  • Video-stimulated recall: to facilitate discussion of classroom activities, the teacher educator used
    • camera, microphone, tripod
    • iMovie video editing application
    • Vimeo video sharing platform (http://vimeo.com).

Technology for professional development

Peer filming in task-based language teacher education

This activity was designed for first year students in our Masters in Teaching English programme at the University of Nice. It involves peer filming, where student teachers watch each other teach an activity in a secondary school EFL class and make video recordings using their smartphones. They then select an episode for discussion in their university class, and write up their analysis in a reflective paper.

Going further

Digital tools for the language classroom

iTILT mini-guides to technology for language teachers

  • digital resources
  • digital tools
  • digital networks

12 tools plus 1: Basic tools for language education

Going open with LangOER: advice for using and sharing open educational resources

ViLTE project

Task-based language teaching

Musicuentos Black Box video series (YouTube) – a set of presentations explaining classroom implications of second language research

PPP or TBLT? (slideshare) – explaining the difference between presentation-practice-production (PPP) and task-based language teaching (TBLT)

Language educators in ELT

EFL Classroom 2.0 (D Deubelbeiss)

TESOL teaching and learning website (P Chappell)


1. Goals for language education

    • Kramsch, C. (2018). Is there still a place for culture in a multilingual FL education? Langscape Journal, 1. doi 10.18452/19039

A recent discussion of critical approaches to foreign language education tackling intercultural and symbolic competence and multilingual practices, including criticism of stereotypical attitudes to FL culture in textbooks. Read some extracts here.

    • Unsworth, S., Persson, L., Prins, T., & De Bot, K. 2014, An investigation of factors affecting early foreign language learning in the Netherlands. Applied Linguistics.

Research on young and very young learners of English in the Netherlands (summary)

    • Whyte, S. (2016). Who are the specialists? Teaching and learning specialised language in French educational contexts. Recherches et pratiques pédagogiques en langue de spécialité, 35(3) [link]

Modern foreign languages, second language research and languages for specific purposes: what are the intersections and what does this mean for language teaching and learning?

    • Whyte, S. (2014). Digital pencil sharpening: technology integration and language learning autonomy. EL.LE, 3(1): 31-53. Università Ca’ Foscari, Venezia. [PDF]

This article discusses pedagogical goals in language education and gives suggestions for how teachers can create conditions for language acquisition to occur using classroom technologies.

2. Language teacher education

    • Bland, J. (Ed.). (2015). Teaching English to young learners: critical issues in language teaching with 3-12 year olds. London: Bloomsbury.

A collective volume on ELT with younger learners focusing on research and practice in key areas of language education.

    • Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) (2014). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury.

This book offers a collection of classroom case studies showing how different language teachers integrated the interactive whiteboard into communicative approaches in a variety of contexts (ages, languages, proficiency levels).

    • Edwards, C., & Willis, J. R. (Eds.). (2005). Teachers exploring tasks in English language teaching. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

A collection of action/exploratory research projects conducted by graduate students in language education to address questions and problems arising in their own teaching contexts. A good source for replication for student-teachers new to classroom research.

    • Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

A study of 9 French EFL teachers (4 primary, 2 lower secondary, 2 upper secondary, and 1 teacher educator) learning to integrate interactive technologies in their classrooms through an extended collaborative action research project. It seeks to explain differences in uptake of new pedagogical and technological affordances.

3. Task-based language teaching

Compare these two articles:

    • Anderson, J. (2016). ‘Why practice makes perfect sense: The past, present and future potential of the PPP paradigm in language teacher education’. ELTED, 19: 14-21.
    • Ellis, R. (2013). Task-based language teaching: Responding to the critics. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 8(1), 1-27.

See also

    • Erlam, R. (2015). ‘I’m still not sure what a task is’: Teachers designing language tasks. Language Teaching Research.
    • Erlam, R. (2013). Listing and comparing tasks in the language classroom: Examples of Willis and Willis’s (2007) taxonomy in practice. The New Zealand Language Teacher, 39,7-14.

The Moth story slam: le numérique et l’apprentissage par tâches pour communiquer en anglais

Journée Parlons pédagogie à l’université
UNS, 6 novembre 2018

The Moth story slam: le numérique et l’apprentissage par tâches pour communiquer en anglais

Pour améliorer les presentations à l’oral des étudiants il est important de trouver une motivation pour communiquer et d’assurer une correction ciblée pour chacun. Le format “story slam” permet aux étudiants de raconter une histoire personnelle sur un thème commun devant un public et un jury de leurs pairs. Ils s’enregistrent avec leur smartphone et partagent leur fichier audio avec l’enseignant sur une plateforme de distribution audio pour un retour personnalisé (lexique, grammaire, phonologie)

Quick and dirty video transcription: the YouTube solution

Maybe everyone has been doing this for years and I’m coming late to the party, or maybe YouTube has unobtrusively added some functionality recently, but it seems it’s now possible to get a quick and dirty transcript of a video by uploading it to YouTube and letting the platform offer automatic closed captions. You can then keep it warts and all, or use the integrated editor to make modifications in the text and the timing to produce acceptable subtitles. Then you can export the subtitle file in a number of formats, such as .srt, which you can open in a word processor/text editor and save as .txt for example. This process is useful for language teaching, for open educational resources, and for research relying on video corpora.

Here are the steps.

  1. Upload your video to YouTube.

This is one we made some years ago as a Christmas video suitable for secondary EFL:

This video is public (obviously) but you can set it to private if you wish, either before you upload or once it’s online.

2.  View the closed captions

Just click on the icon to toggle captions. You can specify a language when you upload, or just let nature take its course. A video in English by one of my French students was misidentified as Dutch, so best to set the language if there’s a risk of misidentification.

3. Edit captions

If you click on Edit you will see the following menu:

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 16.48.36

You need the Subtitles/CC option. Once here, click on the Edit button (top right) and you get something like this

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 16.54.48

You can edit in the left menu or on the ribbon below the video. You can change timecodes in either place, though it’s easier to use the waveform beneath the video.

If you look closely at the transcript above you’ll see all is fine until the fourth entry, at “have divine free” which doesn’t seem to make sense. Select this section and hit play and you’ll hear “add the vine fruit” – pause the video to give yourself time to modify the text. The next error is “county peel” which on closer listening turns out to be “candied peel” so I can fix that too. If you do check the video on YouTube you’ll see only the correct version since I’m correcting as I write this post.

Once I save the changes I see this. My edited subtitle file appears as English and this is one I should select to appear with my video and to download for other uses.

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 17.01.34

4. Export captions

From the Subtitles/CC option in the Edit menu, you can download the subtitles from the Actions drop-down menu

Screen Shot 2018-10-24 at 16.52.51.png

You have a choice of formats – if you take .srt you can open it with a basic wordprocessor and save as .txt.

And that’s pretty much it. Come to think of it, I’m sure this option wasn’t available when I uploaded this video back in 2011, but the captions are there now and it seems pretty straightforward to exploit them for any number of purposes, such as teaching, OER or research purposes in my own case.

Tech-mediated pedagogy in higher ed: SHOUT4HE

Cardiff Metropolitan University hosted the kick-off meeting for our new Erasmus+ project on SHaring Open practices Using Technology for Higher Education. The goal is to share practice examples of technology-mediated teaching at university and college level to develop technological and pedagogical competences among colleagues in a range of European HE contexts.

SHOUT4HE project

1. Cardiff Metropolitan University (Coordinator)
  • Gary Beauchamp, Professor of Education, senior researcher in educational technology
  • Huw Jones: research and innovation officer


2. Université Côte d’Azur

  • Peter Follette: associate professor of English (scientific English), office of international scientific visibility
  • Natalia Timus: senior pedagogical advisor, centre for active pedagogy (CAP),
  • Shona Whyte: professor of English, Second language studies research

3. Hogeschool PXL, Belgium)

  • Wouter Hustinx, Head of Research, Centre of Expertise PXL Educational Innovation

4. University of Limerick

  • Dr Fiona Farr, Fiona: applied linguistics and TESOL
  • Dr Angelica Risquez, Lead Educational Developer
  • Dr Liam Murray
  • Sinead Spain, (Digilanguages project)
5. University of Bordeaux
  • Sue Becaas: English for academic purposes, Défi international (teaching in the international classroom) EQUIP project
  • Melanie White: ESP teaching (biology/health sciences, sports education), student engagement through blended learning, storytelling
  • Laüra Hoskins: blended learning for human sciences, health sciences, EQUIP, EMI
  • Joanne Pagèze, VP international collaboration

SHOUT4HE objectives

  1. Recognize and validate innovative and high quality ICT-supported teaching practices in European HEIs.
  1. Share these innovative teaching practices in a community of practice on a  freely available, open access project website/portal
  1. Promote  international networking and international cooperation & mutual learning between HE teachers working in different disciplines.
  1. Inspire HE teaching staff in their development of more attractive, contemporary education using technology effectively.

SHOUT4HE events

  • Hasselt, Belgium
    April 2019: Recognition framework
  • Limerick, Ireland
    November 2019: e-platform to share open practices
  • Bordeaux, France
    May 2020: reflection on teaching practice
  • Nice, France: e-resources
    Dec 2020
  • Cardiff, Wales
    Final conference:
    June 2021

Project outputs

1. Recognition framework

Creation of a progressive conceptual framework for technology-mediated teaching in higher education drawing on previous research and current practices and needs.
Output led by Limerick.
  •  http://www.allaboardhe.ie/map/
  • PXL template
    • 4 levels
      • unsatisfactory
      • promising
      • good (actual criteria)
      • excellent (additional criteria) on
    • 6 dimensions
      • Instructional design
      • digital course structure/ergonomy
      • content
      • evaluation
      • technology
      • quality control
This agreed framework will identify the essential components of effective examples of teaching with technology, which will in turn an provide educators across Europe with a solid, progressive conceptual framework to engage with educational research practice.
It is envisaged that the achievement of these results will also involve the following:
• A synthesis of the literature in instructional design and pedagogical patterns (Laurillard, 2012) in teaching with technology in HE.
• Semi-structured interviews via a uniform approach of each partner in order to get insight in the way ‘successful’ HE teachers integrate technology in their practices (with attention to the process and product)
• A validation of the prototype of the framework with a representative sample of HE teachers to evaluate its effectiveness as a sharing tool that showcases teaching with technology practice and evidences the impact on students’ learning.
• Collaborative finalisation of the recognition framework.

2. E-platform

Allowing HE teachers to consult, read, watch, self-evaluate, ask questions, and collaborate to share and develop teaching practice.

Output led by PXL.

Each of the 5 project partners will work with five core members of the teaching staff at their institution, plus three colleagues new to technology-mediated practice. Each will produce a video to illustrate each teacher’s approach.

By the end of the project the platform will host

  1. the recognition framework
  2. 40 videos of HE teaching practice
  3. e-resources drawing on project data and participants’ experiences

3: E-resources

The e-resources cover the three main dimensions of the project:
a) the innovative open teaching practices most valued by participants,
b) their views and advice on the development and delivery of such practices, and finally
c) lessons learned by project researchers regarding the creation of successful communities of practice in technology-mediated open practice at HEIs.
The e-resources include
  1. Your shout: advice from HE teachers to HE teachers concerning technology-mediated innovative open practice (Nice)
  2. Something to shout about: developing communities of practice to support innovation in HE pedagogy (Bordeaux)
  3. Shout out: a selection of best open practices with technology

Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners

Looking forward to reading this new Routledge handbook on English for young learners, edited by Sue Garton and Fiona Copland. It tackles a range of theoretical and practical aspects, from policy and linguistic context, through classroom issues and teaching of skills and subskills, to technology integration and then questions of research in young learner language education.


The Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners celebrates the ‘coming of age’ for the field of research in primary-level English Language Teaching. With 32 chapters written by international scholars from a wide geographical area including East Africa, Mexico, the South Pacific, Japan, France, the USA and the UK, this volume draws on areas such as second language acquisition, discourse analysis, pedagogy and technology to provide:

  • An overview of the current state of the field, identifying key areas of TEYL.
  • Chapters on a broad range of subjects from methodology to teaching in difficult circumstances and from Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) to gaming.
  • Suggestions of ways forward, with the aim of shaping the future research agenda of TEYL in multiple international contexts.
  • Background research and practical advice for students, teachers and researchers.

With extensive guidance on further reading throughout, The Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners is essential reading for those studying and researching in this area.


Table of Contents

Introduction Sue Garton and Fiona Copland

PART 1 – Macro Issues

1. Languages policy and English for young learners in early education Richard Johnstone

2. The age debate: a critical overview David Singleton and Simone E. Pfenninger

3. Early language learning teacher education Sarah Rich

4. Young learners’ motivation for learning English Yingying Li, Ye Han and Xuesong Gao

5. Teaching English to young learners in difficult circumstances Kuchah Kuchah

PART 2 In the Young Learner Classroom

6. Contexts of learning in TEYL Farrah Ching and Angel M. Y. Lin

7. Multilingualism in primary schools Victoria Murphy

8. Differentiated instruction for young English learners Amanda L. Sullivan and Mollie R. Weeks

9. Languages in the young learner classroom Fiona Copland and Ming Ni

10. Classroom management for teaching English to young learners Subhan Zein

PART 3 Young Learner Pedagogy

11. Fostering young learners’ listening and speaking skills Yasemin Kırkgöz

12. Teaching reading and writing to young learners Joan Kang Shin and JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall

13. Teaching grammar to young learners Herbert Puchta

14. Vocabulary teaching for young learners Torill Irene Hestetræet

15. Critical pedagogy and teaching English to children Mario E. López-Gopar

16. CLIL in the primary school context Maria Ellison

17. Learning through literature Janice Bland

18. Language learning through projects Wendy Arnold, Coralyn Bradshaw and Kate Gregson

PART 4 Technology and Young Learner Curriculum

19. Gaming and young learners Yuko Goto Butler

20. Mobile learning for young english learners Florià Belinchón Majoral

21. Classroom technology for young learners Shona Whyte and Euline Cutrim Schmid

22. Syllabus development in early English language teaching Virginia Parker and David Valente

23. Materials for early language learning Irma-Kaarina Ghosn

24 Assessment of young English language learners Szilvia Papp

Part 5 Researching Young Learners

25. Research issues with young learners Annamaria Pinter

26. Research into the teaching of English as a foreign language in early childhood education and care Sandie Mourão

27. Research on learning English outside the classroom Peter Sayer and Ruth Ban

Part 6 Teaching English to Young Learners: Regional Perspectives

28. Early English language learning in Africa: challenges and opportunities Medadi E. Ssentanda and Jacob Marriote Ngwaru

29. Early English language learning in East Asia Lixian Jin and Martin Cortazzi

30. The Teaching of English to Young Learners in Europe Shelagh Rixon

31. Teaching English to young learners: some reflective voices from Latin America Inés K. Miller, Maria Isabel A. Cunha, Isabel Cristina R. Moraes Bezerra, Adriana N. Nóbrega, Clarissa X. Ewald, Walewska G. Braga.

32. The teaching of English to young learners across the Pacific Fiona Willans


Classroom technology for young learners

Shona Whyte and Euline Cutrim Schmid

Nowadays it is probably as rare to find an English classroom without a single computer or smartphone as it is to find distance learners of English who are isolated from any authentic exchange with others. Although early work in computer-assisted language learning (CALL) compared teaching and learning with and without technology – often contrasting traditional, face-to-face teaching with learning via computer – this boundary is now blurred due to developments both in teaching and learning practices and in technologies themselves. […] For this reason, it is difficult to define the term ‘classroom technology’, and to determine which technologies and uses fit this appellation. In their recent review of ‘technology use in the classroom’, Mama and Hennessy (2013) list Powerpoint, educational software, web-based video and display of images on the interactive whiteboard (IWB) as examples of somewhat conservative use of classroom technology. In his handbook on technology for foreign language teachers, however, Blake (2013) uses the umbrella term ‘digital classroom’ to include a much wider range of tools and resources, including use of web pages, CALL programmes and applications, computer-mediated communication (CMC), distance learning, social networks and games, thus encompassing technology use both in and outside the traditional physical classroom. We shall follow this broad definition in the present chapter to focus on teachers’ and learners’ use of technology in traditional classrooms, including both equipment and devices employed in physical classroom settings, as well as CMC reaching beyond the classroom walls.

ESP in legal, business, and engineering contexts: some European examples

1st Comm&Learn International Workshop
4th and 5th October 2018


Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería de Sistemas Informáticos (ETSISI) Madrid

Partially funded by ESSE (The European Society for the Study of English)

  • Silvia Molina Plaza, Head of Departamento de Lingüística Aplicada a la Ciencia y la Tecnología – DLACT).
  • Marta Olea de Cárdenas (Vice-Dean for Students and International Affairs, ETSIDI, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid).

IMG_5084 (1)

Comm&Learn Educational Innovation Group

Coordinator: Carola Álvarez-Bolado Sánchez

  • Carola Álvarez-Bolado Sánchez: M-learning in the EPAC classroom
  • Luis Dochao Moreno: Business Email correspondence with University of Boulder CO
  •  J. Luis L. Arregui: Professional Communication in Engineering Environments
  • Ismael Arinas Pellón Student Needs and the Educational Tools
  • Esther Gago and J. Luis L. Arregui: Colorful Teaching Project



Bergamo, Italy

Patrizia Anesa Università degli Studi di Bergamo

Mediation in legal English – options in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) represent a gap in legal English teaching. Need to engage with professional discourse, expert-lay interactions, and the teaching of mediation.

Approaches include

  • corpus linguistics (specific corpora, genre analysis)
  • syllabus and materials design
  • technology-mediated teaching and learning
    • task-based language teaching
    • telecollaborative projects in English as a lingua franca

Stages of development

  • Needs analysis via teacher questionnaires (current practices with respect to legal mediation, views of law professors and language professionals).
  • Design framework of good practices (syllabus, teaching activities)
  • Develop community of practice with language teachers, law/business instructors, ESP students
  • pilot testing of sample teaching module
  • production of handbook, e-guide, collection of case studies
Anesa, Patrizia (2012) Jury Trials and the Popularization of Legal Language: A Discourse Analytical Approach. Bern: Peter Lang.

Bialystok, Poland

Halina Sierocka Uniwersytet w Białymstoku

Designing online ESP courses

LEXEN legal English online course for use on mobile devices.
B2 legal professionals. 40 lessons over 8 modules. Focus on vocabularyin 23 domains (e.g., constitutional law, employment law)
Software constraints – discrete point exercises (T/F, synonyms, word search)

Sierocka, H. (2014). Curriculum Development for Legal English Programs. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Brno, Czech republic

Barbora Chovancová, Mazarykova Univerzita

Mediation in the CEFR (2001) and updated version (2018).

North, B., & Piccardo, E. (2016). Developing illustrative descriptors of aspects of mediation for the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR): A Council of Europe project. Language Teaching, 49(3), 455-459.

Classroom activities to develop mediation skills (lawyer-client interaction roleplays)

  • intra-language mediation: giving advice on making a will. Law students use English legal texts and mediate (adapt, simplify) for English-speaking client.
  • interlanguage mediation: hotel theft scenario. Czech sources to be exploited in English
Chovancová, B. (2014). Needs analysis and ESP course design: Self-perception of language needs among pre-service students. Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, 38(1), 43-57.

Nice, France

Shona Whyte (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)

Tools, tasks, and teachers in language education research


Budapest, Hungary

Éva Jakusne (Nemzeti Közszolgálati Egyetem)

Metacognitive Skills / Modelling of Mental Processes / Deliberation in the Classroom.




Tools, tasks, and teachers in language education research

Links and references to some of my work on ESP and CALL teacher education.

English for specific purposes (ESP)

  • discourse domains (Whyte 1994)
  • task-based language teaching for ESP (Whyte 2013)
  • ESP didactics
    • Sarré & Whyte (2016), Whyte (2016)
    • Sarré & Whyte (2017) New developments (edited volume)
    • replication study (in preparation)
    • ESSE seminars Galway and Brno

Language education

  • interlanguage pragmatics (Siddiqa 2018)
  • open educational practices
    • sheltered contexts vs ‘in the wild’ (in preparation)
    • solitary thinkers (Whyte 2016)
    • bridging gaps (Whyte 2014)

Computer-assisted language learning (CALL)

  • integration of classroom technologies in communicative and task-based approaches to language teaching
  • young learners (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte)
  • open education repositories: www.itilt2.eu

Teacher education




Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) (2014). Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. London: Bloomsbury. [link]

Sarré, C., & Whyte, S. (Eds). (2017). New developments in ESP teaching and learning research. Researchpublishing.net. 10.14705/rpnet.2017.cssw2017.9782490057016

Sarré, C., & Whyte, S. (2016). Research in ESP teaching and learning in French higher education: developing the construct of ESP didactics. ASp, 69, 113-164. [link]

Siddiqa, A. (2018). The Acquisition of Politeness by Young EFL Learners in France. An Exploratory Study of Interlanguage Pragmatic Development. Unpublished doctoral dissertation

Whyte, S. (2018). Using mobile technology in foreign languages: a telecollaborative task for primary classes. In Zubikova, O., Braicov, A., Pojar, D. (Eds). E-teaching: studii de caz. Chisinau: Tehnica-Info. http://teachme.ust.md

Whyte, S. (2016). From “solitary thinkers” to “social actors:” OER in multilingual CALL teacher education. Alsic, 19. [link]

Whyte, S. (2016). Who are the specialists? Teaching and learning specialised language in French educational contexts. Recherches et pratiques pédagogiques en langue de spécialité, 35(3) [link]

Whyte, S. (2015). Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching: The Case of Interactive Whiteboards for EFL in French Schools. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. [link]

Whyte, S. (2014). Bridging gaps : Using social media to develop techno-pedagogical competences in pre-service language teacher education. Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 33(2):143-169.

Whyte, S. (2013). Teaching English for Specific Purposes: A task-based framework for French graduate courses. Asp 63 (9), 5-30. DOI : 10.4000/asp.3280

Whyte, S. (1995). Specialist knowledge and interlanguage development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 17(02), 153-183.