Chapter 10. Implementing computer-assisted task-based language teaching in the Korean secondary EFL context
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is a comprehensive approach to language education that emphasizes tasks in each stage of the program’s design and implementation (Long & Norris, 2000). Although TBLT has attracted considerable attention since the 1980s, little research has been conducted on its actual implementation in secondary EFL contexts. This study sought, firstly, to illustrate how computer-assisted TBLT lessons can be designed and implemented in a conventional English classroom in a Korean school setting, and, secondly, to investigate students’ L2 development in writing as well as their perceptions of TBLT. Thirty Grade 7 students at a Korean middle school participated in the study. An online needs analysis survey of the students and the teachers was first conducted to reveal their needs and perceptions about the general English curriculum. Based on the triangulated analysis of the participants’, societal, and institutional needs, a series of computer-assisted TBLT lesson plans for two instructional units was designed. An experimental group (<i>N</i> = 30) was taught with the TBLT lesson plans, while a control group (<i>N</i> = 31) was taught in a conventional teacher-centered and forms-focused approach. For each unit, two task-based writing tests (pre/post-test) and a conventional unit test on grammar and reading comprehension were administered. A paired sample t-test of the two groups revealed that the mean scores of the experimental group were significantly higher than those of the control group. The experimental group also exceeded the control group in the conventional unit tests. The findings lend support to the interpretation that the task-based approach can be effective in improving communicative competence while not hindering form-focused L2 learning. Students and teachers both found the TBLT lessons are effective and motivating. This study has implications for administrators, curriculum designers, materials writers, and, in particular, EFL teachers, and can assist in the creation of innovative and experiential learning environments to complement the existing English curriculum in EFL contexts.