TBL Framework

Este material se propone ser una ayuda para el docente a la hora de programar las clases de inglés, a partir de mostrar cómo funciona en la práctica el aprendizaje basado en tareas.

OUTLINE 1. Picture Puzzle: find seven differences

Dibujos en blanco y negro para buscar siete diferencias.

Ilustración: Mariano Grynberg.

The aim of this lesson outline is to illustrate a typical revision lesson covering familiar topics. The pre-task phase is, therefore, shorter than usual. This lesson also shows how a recording can be used at the end of the task cycle.

These elementary, Spanish-speaking mixed ability learners have completed the first four units of a content-based course book (addresses, family, homes, uses of numbers).

Here we go.


Get learners to stand up, find a different partner from usual and sit down in their new pairs. Check they have at least one book every two. Keep them closed for now. They also need one sheet of paper every two, a pen or pencil and their language notebooks.
Introduce the task Find the differences puzzle. Each learner will see both pictures. Together they have to find seven differences and write them down in note form. (Put an example on the blackboard (for example, «cat on right/on left of sign»). They will only have one minute. They should talk in English, but quietly.

Task cycle


Get them ready to start: Find the picture on page... you have one minute from NOW!
Stop the task as soon as a few pairs have noted down seven differences (or when one minute is up). Ask how many differences others have found already.


Tell pairs to choose four differences they think the others many not have seen. Get them to write them down in detail, and practise explaining them, so they can tell the whole class. Show them by expanding the cat example on the board.

Go round and help, noting useful phrases and writing some on left of board, e.g. in picture A… the sign says…

Nominate the shy ones as reporters, and give them another two minutes to practise. Draw attention to phrases on the board.

Reporting and listening

Explain that they must listen carefully to other pairs. If they have the same difference, they tick it off. Once they have heard a difference, they must not report it themselves.

Each pair gives one difference (write these on the board as they tell the class) till there are seven. Some pairs may still have more. Stop them from shouting them out (so they still have some to listen for later).

Announce recording of David and Bridget doing the same task.

Play the recording, Learners tick off the differences they hear. (You may need to pause after each move, and play it again.)

DAVID: Okay? Another difference is the number of the house.
DAVID: In Picture A it’s thirty; in Picture B it’s thirteen...
BRIDGET: Is thirty. Oh!
DAVID: Oh, Okay.
BRIDGET: Oh. Do you think?
DAVID: Doesn’t matter. Thirty in Picture A and thirteen...
BRIDGET: Thirteen in Picture B. And this number’s different.
DAVID: What number?
BRIDGET: The phone number of Paul Smith and Sons.
DAVID: Oh yeah. So, the phone number of Paul Smith and Sons is - what? - in Picture A- is six three one nine oh. Six three one nine oh in Picture A...
DAVID: And three three nine oh in Picture B.
DAVID: How many have we got? That’s three.
BRIDGET: Three. How many do we have to have? Seven. Mm…
DAVID: How about the television- is that on? Yes. Oh no, the television is on, is it? In the first picture.
BRIDGET: Yes, it is!
DAVID:… and it’s not on in the - in Picture B... that’s - what have we got?
BRIDGET: The television is on in Picture A but off in Picture B.
DAVID: Okay. Right. Anything else? Oh yes, the man’s carrying an umbrella.
DAVID: So what shall we put? The man…

Now ask the class if any pairs have more differences. Ask them to give one each. Tell them the total score so far is 13. Can they beat it?

Language focus

Analysis and Practice

From the blackboard:
  1. Learners choose a useful phrase from each sentence and practise saying it. Delete the phrase immediately as it is said. Delete other words gradually. This is called «progressive deletion» and should be fun!
  2. Learners read out all sentences in full, including the missing parts.

From the tapescript:
  1. Learners hear recording again and follow it in the tape script. Pause the tape sometimes to let them predict how the next phrase will be said (intonation with stress on key words).
  2. Learners read the whole transcript and find twelve questions to classify in whatever ways they like (e.g. questions with shall or get; short questions-long questions; questions with/without a verb, etcetera).
  3. Learners find two examples of the word so. Where does it come in the conversation?
  4. If there’s time, learners write down any new phrases they have noticed.

Bring the class together and review the analysis of questions. Practise short questions (point out many are without verbs) and then list questions with shall, get, have and practise them.


Make a riddle on a Small Creature, describing its physical appearance and natural capacity. Learners guess.
Encourage pupils to make riddles in groups and try them on the rest of the class. Are you willing to try this plan in your class? It'd be ideal!


ELLIS, R. (1994). The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
RETTAROLI, S. (1999). Task-Based Learning. Applied Linguistics Association of Brazil.
SKEHAN, P. (1995). «Second Language Acquisition Research and Task-based», Instruction in: VALE, D. & FEUNTEUN, A.
WILLIS, J. (1996). A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Longman.
WILLIS, J. & WILLIS, D. (eds.) (1996). Teaching Children English. CUP.
WOODWARD, T. (1996). «Paradigm shift and the language teaching programme» in: WILLIS, J. & WILLIS, D. (eds.)


Publicado: 14 de enero de 2015

Última modificación: 10 de febrero de 2015



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