Teachers’ task implementation: a longitudinal case study
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Although research on Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT) has described the principles of the approach (Long 1985; Ellis 2003) and offered recommendations on how to implement TBLT (Willis & Willis 2007), there are only a few studies investigating teachers’ use of tasks in the classroom environment (Samuda 2009). The present paper reports the findings of a case study that examines how two teachers of beginning French at tertiary level implemented two similar tasks into the classroom at two distinct moments in the academic year. The tasks are extracted from a task-based textbook, namely Rond Point (Labascoule et al. 2004). The purpose of the study is not, however, to assess the worth of the textbook but to investigate which pedagogical practices the teachers developed around the tasks in order to adapt them to the classroom context. The study analyses data collected through classroom observations as well as pre- and post- class time discussions in which the two teachers planned and assessed their teaching. The findings reveal an evolution in the teachers’ procedures over the academic year from teaching to the “task-as-work plan” (Breen 1987) (or following the instructions in the textbook) to developing a pedagogical approach to teaching with tasks. The study concludes by stressing the importance of the teacher contribution to TBLT implementation, though it concedes that the findings cannot be generalised before additional teacher research is carried out in other educational contexts.