02 May, 2018
10 : 00
Task-based language learning is a branch of communicative language learning and aims to promote language through providing meaningful and engaging tasks that require learners to use English towards a clearly definable goal. Tasks are designed with information gaps and the learners are required to work together to combine information and using pragmatic reasoning. Participants draw upon a range of linguistic recourses to work towards a clearly defined non-linguistic outcome. One of the most popular forms of task-based learning used with young learners is the incorporation of mystery. Mystery can include all four language skills, requiring student to read, write, speak and listen in order to solve the puzzle.
Last week year seven English students took part of a murder mystery and were required to choose a suspect based on the available evidence. The information was delivered through short videos and written clues which the learners, as a group, endeavoured to decipher. All communication between learners was conducted in English and the lesson concluded with a joint presentation to announce the chosen suspect.
For the majority of the lesson the students were totally engaged with solving the mystery and language learning became a tool required for successful completion of the task rather than an end in itself without immediate practical value. The overall effect is a lesson which is not only for engaging for the learners but has a higher educational value than more traditional lessons built around form and drilling exercises.