Chapter 14. Language teachers’ perceptions of a task-based learning programme in a French University
This study is based on a large-scale research project concerning a task-based blended language learning programme for first-year Business English undergraduate students in a university in Northwest France. The programme is entering its fourth year (it was extended to third-year students in January 2011). The project is funded by the <i>Région des Pays de la Loire</i> and involves a team of ten researchers.The team have found encouraging results concerning learner involvement and satisfaction. However, as teachers play a key role in the successful implementation of any innovative programme, this study aims to explore the teachers’ attitudes to their changing and increasingly complex roles within that environment. It examines teachers’ self-perceptions and attitudes to learning and teaching, after two years of implementing the programme, involving as it did a change from face-to-face teacher-centred approaches to computer-mediated and task-based teaching. Qualitative data derived from interviews with 14 teachers involved in the task-based blended learning programme are presented and discussed. Results indicate that most of the teachers accept and are adapting to their new, multifaceted role. Group dynamics and teamwork have contributed to this, apparently playing a key role in developing a common culture in terms of their approach to language teaching. However, some teachers have reservations, particularly about the increased workload associated with the provision of more personalised support for students, and to some extent about the shift away from a transmission-based approach to teaching, which is implied in a TBLT programme. Institutional and cultural factors are also highlighted as a major constraint.