The Moth story slam: le numérique et l’apprentissage par tâches pour communiquer en anglais
- The Moth Task
- Exemples de travail d’étudiants
These three guides are for language teachers working in technology-mediated task-based approaches to second/foreign language teaching and learning. Download them from the project website or directly here:
They were prepared during the Erasmus+ project ITILT, on Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology, involving teachers and learners of 4 different EU languages in 5 countries: English in Belgium, France, Germany, French in Belgium, Turkish in Turkey, and Welsh in the UK.
We worked with novice and experienced classroom teachers at primary, secondary, and university level to collect practice examples of task-based teaching with different technologies: tablets (iPads), mobile phones, and video communication. The website gives an video overview of each task, plus a series of short clips to highlight different activities in the task sequence. Teacher and learner commentary then give participant perspectives on the tasks.
The project also aimed to develop an online community of practice bringing together ITILT teachers in different countries to share tips and experiences. This proved challenging to implement, since teachers in different countries were filmed at different points over the 3-year lifetime of the project, and demands on their time to prepare tasks, film activities, and discuss outcomes were quite heavy.
Nevertheless the project did bring to light a great many interesting ideas, resources, tools, and practices from our participating teachers in their different contexts, and we have selected a range of these to present in the three ITILT mini-guides. In keeping with our collaborative action-research approach to the project, these guides each offer
We trust the guides will be useful to teachers interested in technology-mediated task-based language teaching, and both novice and experienced practitioners. For those new to technology in the language classroom, our 12 plus one tools may be worth a look.
Une formation sur le numérique pour les langues de spécialité au Pôle langues à Paris 2 avec l’accent sur quelques outils gratuits simples et des exemples de mise en oeuvre dans des activités pédagogiques qui visent une communication spontanée et le travail collaboratif, et permettent un feedback individualisé par l’enseignant.
Des tutoriels courts avec un bref descriptif, lien internet, idées pédagogiques, puis petit guide de prise en main ; également des outils comparables et un mot sur les inconvénients éventuels.
Donner des retours individuels et collectifs sur une production orale en utilisant
Partage de ressources libres et rédaction collaborative sur Google Docs
Many language teachers are interested in the question of what makes a task a task. Pre-service teachers are often under pressure to conform to some see as the hegemony of task-based language teaching (TBLT) which they feel is imposed on teachers by the Common European Reference framework (CER). They want to know whether their textbook which claim to follow CER principles offer genuinely task-based teaching activities. Or they wonder how the demands of “authentic” language use associated with TBLT can be squared with the seemingly artificial language used in the foreign language classroom where everyone shares a native language.
Teacher educators, too, struggle with strong versions of a task-based approach, as opposed to weaker, task-supported incarnations, which often seem to overlap with the production phase of the PPP approach, where structures are Presented and Practiced with the teacher before learners are encourage to Produce their own contributions. Does this seem a reasonable compromise, or does it mean abandoning the principles of TBLT?
In the slides above I summarise two articles, one by Jason Anderson in defence of PPP, and another by Rod Ellis, one of the main proponents of TBLT. Anderson argues that PPP has admirably stood the test of time and is suited to a wider range of teaching contexts than TBLT. Ellis, on the other hand, defends TBLT against a number of misconceptions about this approach, and to my mind invalidates many of Anderson’s points. My own view is that TBLT is quite different from PPP, and that there are good reasons, related to how languages are learned, to favour TBLT (see Jordan for instance).
Update January 2019: For further critiques of PPP see also How do you like your syllabus? and posts by other ELT teachers and trainers Geoff Jordan Does PPP really make perfect sense? and Neil McMillan Why PPP is a political issue.
Anderson, J. (2016). Why practice makes perfect sense: the past, present and potential future of the PPP paradigm in language teacher education. Practice, 19.
Ellis, R. (2013). Task-based language teaching: Responding to the critics. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 8(1), 1-27.
Jordan, G. (2018). Does PPP really make perfect sense? applingtesol.wordpress.com
McMillan, N. (2019). Why PPP is a political issue. animalisingelt.wordpress.com
Open educational practice: taking care in the design and creation of digital materials with a view to future sharing and repurposing, working towards a goal of sustainable development for (language) teachers.
We talked about the Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources, and how open resources lead to open practices. My own epiphany about openness came when teaching a course on technology in language education to a group of teachers of several European languages. The course encouraged participants to share teaching resources publicly, and some of my students’ selections – for languages I don’t speak – were picked up by colleagues at other universities.
work that would otherwise be invisible or lost to the wider community once a course assignment is completed here can be recovered and exploited by others
Read the full paper
I used Google forms for a background questionnaire to gauge participants’ interests and knowledge, then we used Padlet to share open resources collected by myself and others using the curation platform Scoop.it. (See the resources.)
One of the difficulties in supporting language teachers in integrating technology is the vast array of digital tools at our disposal. Conventional wisdom suggests focusing on pedagogical objectives rather than the affordances of tools, so we looked at a task I used with one of my undergraduate EFL students: a story slam based on the Moth format.
In my university EFL class, I used the open resources from the Moth website to set the task and provide examples for my students. I think this makes a decent task because it meets most of the criteria for task-based language teaching: it’s a real-world activity (target language speakers do it), there’s a clear outcome (a story that meets certain pre-determined standards), and learners have freedom in the language they choose to use.
There are also opportunities for reflection and collaboration, because the Moth also has a transcription system where volunteers can check and correct automatic transcriptions of existing stories. Students used the audio platform SoundCloud and Google forms to allow students to record their own stories as they performed in class, upload and safeguard their recordings, and share with the teacher. I used the canned response gadget in the Labs section of Gmail to provide individual feedback to students, together with a link to a blogpost with ideas for work on pronunciation. I tried to encourage reflection with a post-task activity where students were asked to react to this feedback.
Incidentally, as I prepared my introductory lesson for my students using a specific Moth story, I cleaned up the machine transcription of the story so that my students could analyse the storyteller’s technique and language. In so doing, I made my own small contribution to the Moth project by leaving a full, correct transcription for others to use (either native-speaking storytellers or L2 learners). This provides an argument for openness in itself, and one which also suggests another type of task where learners perform this transcription checking task themselves, to work on listening and writing skills.
Most of the links to the activities and tools for this storytelling task are here.
Of course, open education also imposes some particular requirements on teachers and learners. It’s important to respect learners’ privacy and make sure we have permission to share their work. With adults this can often be done simply using the following suggestions:
Similarly, both teachers and learners need to respect the intellectual property of others. Gosia Kurek and Anna Skowron produced a very useful guide to help language teachers understand what can be shared and how, as part of the LangOER project. This guide also has up-to-date references to places to find images that can be used freely without attribution, for example.
The last section of my presentation (see slides above) includes telecollaborative platforms and some reflection on my experience in teacher education in this area. We didn’t get that far in Limerick, but in the interests of openness it’s still there.
It was great to hear about work in languages at the University of Limerick with Catherine Jeanneau, including a French-language debating team (another real-world task) and a very active Facebook page.
And as a quick coda to the session, we looked at Plickers, a paper-based clicker app that allows learners to respond to multiple choice questions by holding up QR codes which the teacher records using the app on their phone. Results can be displayed in a browser at plickers.com and projected for the class to see. I like this tool for myself because I don’t always have internet access in class. For the secondary school teachers I train, it can be used in schools where pupils are not allowed to use phones in class. In Limerick, however, the teachers were working with adult learners who all had smartphones with wifi access: they showed me Kahoot, which offers similar opportunities for their teaching context.
Kurek, M. & Skowron, A. (2015). Going open with LangOER. PDF
Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources PDF
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.
iTILT, Interactive Teaching in Languages with Technology, is a professional development project to support interactive approaches to language teaching with classroom technologies. The project builds on a previous project involving 44 teachers of 6 languages at 4 different educational levels in 7 countries, all using the IWB for language teaching. An open educational web resource was developed which includes over 250 video clips of IWB-mediated language teaching practice (http://itilt.eu); we also published a collective volume with case studies of IWB use in language education (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2014) and a research monograph focusing on collaborative action research in a task-based framework (Whyte, 2015).
The new three year project moves beyond the IWB to focus on developing effective teaching and learning of second languages with a wider range of new and emerging interactive technologies (such as tablets, smartphones and video). It involves supporting teachers in task-based approaches to technology integration though observation, reflection and sharing via an online community of practice.
We will briefly present ways to exploit iTILT’s currently available resources in teacher education and continuing professional development (Koenraad et al., 2013) and report on the interim results of the new project, including examples of technology-mediated language tasks.
LPM Saarland: Links to slides, resources, and activities from webinar, 21 November 2016
Shona Whyte, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, France.
Ton Koenraad, TELLConsult, Netherlands
2.Task-based language teaching
3. ITILT 2: Interactive Teaching In Languages with Technology www.itilt2.eu
LPM Saarland: Links to slides, resources, and activities from webinar, 21 November 2016, including
XVII International CALL research conference. Tarragona, Spain, 6-8 July 2015.
Conference proceedings PDF
This paper examines language teaching and learning activities in EFL classes in the French secondary school context with the aim of understanding factors affecting the design and implementation of such tasks. Participants are pre-service teachers in a university Masters in Teaching English programme with a practical component involving classroom observation and teaching. These student teachers designed communicative activities following a common design brief which leaves the technological component open (Samuda, 2005). Data include teaching materials and activity descriptions, reflective writing, questionnaire data, semi-structured individual and group interviews, and practitioner analysis of learner language. Analysis combines coding of the resulting tasks (Erlam, 2015) with qualitative analysis of questionnaire, interview and reflective writing data. Results suggest wide variation in proposed teaching and learning activities, in the design process, and in reflection on classroom implementation in both technology-mediated and non-technological tasks.
The design of language teaching and learning activities as defined broadly with the terms “task” and “exercise” in the theme of the conference has recently emerged as an important issue in second language teaching research. Viewed as an element of materials development alongside implementation, evaluation, and analysis of materials (Tomlinson, 2012), task design has long been considered a practical activity which is “still largely a practitioner-led practice, not always informed by theories of learning” (Reinders & White, 2010). Task-based and task-oriented teaching have however begun to attract increasing research interest both in technology-mediated contexts (Doughty & Long, 2003; Thomas & Reinders, 2010; Van den Branden et al., 2007) and in non-technological environments (Bygate et al., 2001; Ellis, 2003, 2009; Johnson, 2003; Samuda, 2005). Indeed, pedagogy and design, as opposed to the integration of technologies per se, have recently been identified by leading CALL figures as both current areas of interest and priorities for ongoing research in our field (Colpaert, 2013; Levy et al., 2015). The academic study of task design offers the chance to improve our understanding of language learning opportunities in the (physical and virtual) language classroom and our models of professional development for language teachers.
Practitioner involvement via action research (Burns, 2005), for instance, or teacher engagement with research more generally, can contribute both to this research enterprise directly and to continuing teacher development. In recent reviews of research in this area, Borg (2010, 2013) highlights the role of teacher research engagement in helping teachers reflect on their planning and decision-making processes, and thus in promoting “new ways of thinking.” Research in task planning has examined one aspect of this process using think-aloud protocols to study communicative activities developed by expert practitioners and materials writers using the same prompt or “design brief” (Johnson, 2003; Samuda, 2005). These researchers call for further work to include both more diverse contexts (beyond the commonly studied university or private adult ESL class) and data on the actual implementation of the tasks designed by participants.
The present study seeks to address this gap in the literature by investigating task design and implementation in state school settings and by looking at new teachers rather than expert task designers. It constitutes a partial replication of the Johnson and Samuda studies to investigate how novice EFL teachers design and implement tasks with their learners and the technological opportunities and constraints of their own classrooms. By avoiding a specific focus on technology in the design brief, data can be collected on both technological and non-technological tasks and information gathered on the impact of technological considerations on the task design process. In this way, the study sheds light on how new teachers take to tasks in the process of becoming ELT professionals.
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Shona Whyte is associate professor of English at the University of Nice where she teaches EFL and TEFL and researches classroom interaction, interactive technologies, and teacher education. Recent work focuses on the integration of the interactive whiteboard by language teachers (Implementing and Researching Technological Innovation in Language Teaching, Palgrave Macmillan; Teaching languages with technology, Bloomsbury).