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A Task-Based Content-Based Approach

El siguiente texto analiza los beneficios de trabajar en la clase de inglés a partir de  contenidos y consignas que tengan sentido en la vida y la cultura de los alumnos.


Rather than focusing on language forms and functions alone, and attempting fake communicative activities of little personal interest, content-based (foreign) language instruction also develops conceptual knowledge appropriate to the learner's course level.

According to the «Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the 21st Century» (USA), it is recommended that there should be a broad integration of communication skills, culture ,interdisciplinary academic content, and world citizenship. These standards were developed around three organising principles, which include:

  • the Five C’s of Foreign Language Education: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities –we’ll be developing all of them on the Contenido relacionado;
  • the «weave» of curricular elements: the language system, cultural knowledge, communication strategies, critical thinking, learning strategies, other subject areas, and technology, and
  • the framework of communicative modes (interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational)

In this light, activities to foster language acquisition and learning are integrated, whenever possible, with those designed to teach information or content. Thus, learners reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language. They acquire information and recognise the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the foreign language, its cultures, and Global Culture.

By the same token, this approach allows learners to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions within topical frameworks relevant to their ages, interests and cultural contexts. In the process, this allows them to interpret oral and written language on a variety of topics and in diverse language formats.

As a natural consequence, learners present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers -peers or others- on topics of their own choice relevant to the group’s cognitive, affective, social, learning and heuristic («exploratory») needs.

The implementation of these objectives calls for activities geared to visual and experiential learning-especially through videos selected and edited by the instructor; learner produced materials such as posters and projects; realia, group skits and dramatic presentations.

In turn, these strategies aim to enable the development of all four skills through exposure to different text types, both in the oral and written modes. Gradually, effective input with motivating content wills u rely yield production of texts by motivated learners, not so much in the language itself –that requires a well developed capacity for (meta)linguistic appreciation– but in the discoveries made and in the handling of information itself.

As a possible activity, you might carry out a survey among your learners. Ask them about topics they would like to find out about, and get them to explain why they’re interested in it/them. Next, tell them to find out who else in the group in interested in the same topic, and encourage them to form groups of four to six learners each. They should try to agree on a common topic, and think of possible sources to initiate a short research project. When they’re through, get them to report to the big group both in the form of a written plan and an oral exposition.


Bibliography

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Publicado: 19 de enero de 2015

Última modificación: 26 de febrero de 2015

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