Sunday, August 20, 2017

Task Based Learning Workshop

Getting Inspired Once Again towards TBL and its Lesson Planning

I attended the Task-Based Learning workshop held by the Ministry of Education and British Council Taiwan for the first time over two years ago and already have done many teaching demonstrations, English camps, and Skype exchange projects with principles and techniques learned from this brilliant English teaching approach since then. However, as soon as I learned about there would be a five-day TBL workshop this week by the very same lecturer, I immediately decided to sign up for the THIRD time and enjoyed every class of it.  

Missing Pieces

Even though I thought I had ample experience taking what I learned into practice by making lesson plans and actually implementing them, still I found quite many details I had missed out in terms of progression of difficulty, differentiation of tasks, the transitional activity in Pre-Task to scaffold the Main Task activity, and the importance of students' functional language for a more student-centered and communicative class, to name just a few.

Following that, by moving the classroom's flow from controlled to freer activities, teachers can engage learners with tasks that are interesting and easy in order to arouse interest of learning and boost their confidence, building up to the more productive tasks accordingly that require step-by-step carefully designed scaffolding. Finally, activity ideas regarding Information Gap and Reading Circle will both serve as good Post Task activities.

Preparing for the Big Event: Teaching Demonstration with TBL

For the second phase of the workshop, we need to submit our lesson plan in pair work, seek professional advice from the lecturer, revise the plan and then do a teaching demonstration in November. To better prepare for it, we spent quite some time racking our brains on collaborative lesson planning throughout the workshop and only realized there was a big gap to fix because of some missing key elements that make it a real TBL class. Luckily, we clarified some doubts with the assigned format of lesson plan and discussion about aims, the ideal number of tasks in each stage, level of difficulty from word, phrase, sentence to paragraph.

Lesson planning with TBL requires hard work and creativity. It's a whole process of generating good ideas of putting all the tasks together, finding too many flaws in it, throwing it away and starting all over again, which many participants will definitely agree on this one with me. However, I believe you also get to take your teaching to next level, so all the hard work will be totally worthwhile for sure. That being said, I believe there's no magic about how to pull it off as long as you are as lucky as I was to go through every step of it at a workshop like this.     

School Visit: Taipei European School

“The mission of the Taipei European School is to provide educational excellence and European culture and values within the context of Taiwanese society”

The staff members from the British Section kindly welcomed us, gave a presentation and a tour of the school as well. We learned about how the school adopted the British national curriculum but also in a way to modify it to best fit in local Taiwanese setting. There are British, French and Germany sections and each uses different languages as medium of instruction. Because the individual potential is greatly valued, they strive to bring the best out of every child and have programs for those who are struggling because of language level. After the presentation, we quickly toured the campus and some classrooms. We'll be back in November for the second phase of this workshop, so I really look forward to watching some classes in action then.

Final Thoughts
One unique benefit of this kind of workshop is that you get to meet very amazing English teachers all over Taiwan. They're all passionate about learning and keen on getting better at teaching. Participating with them throughout this five-day workshop indeed helped a great deal of generating ideas for the teaching demonstration.

Attending Steven's TBL workshops for the third time, I strongly recommended inviting him over to Taichung and benefit more English teachers to the English Advisory Team. The principal immediately seconded the proposal, so let's wait and see. 

No comments:

Post a Comment