Chapter 6. Task structure and patterns of interaction

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Most EFL learners in Japan have few opportunities to observe native speakers (NSs) performing in task-like scenarios, and consequently struggle to access the lexical phrases and formulaic chunks that facilitate fluent communication in goal-oriented conversation tasks. This often results in the use of the L1 during tasks. This chapter reports the findings of a study of native-speaker task interaction over a range of task types, focusing on the ways in which patterns of interaction are influenced by task design, and showing how recordings of NS task interaction can be used to better equip learners to perform similar tasks without recourse to L1. Findings of the study imply that valuable insights can be obtained by analyzing NS task performance, enabling L2 researchers to obtain a deeper understanding of how task design and task selection can influence interaction. As a consequence, this will enable researchers to make principled recommendations to materials writers, syllabus designers, and classroom teachers for a reasoned TBLT implementation and practice in the classroom regarding issues such as task selection and design, sequencing of tasks, control of task complexity, and identification of task demands.


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