Task-based language teaching for Chinese as a second language: Teaching practice and teacher cognition
Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT), an influential teaching approach used mostly for teaching English and other European languages as a second language, has been advocated for teaching Chinese as a second language (CSL) by policy makers and pedagogical theorists. To realize TBLT innovation, one group of critical stakeholders is classroom teachers because they put into practice the principles and procedures devised or mandated by textbook writers, pedagogical experts and educational officials. Therefore, this study aimed to understand how native Chinese-speaking teachers practise CSL teaching in relation to TBLT in university settings in China and to make sense of their teaching practice from the perspective of teacher cognition. To better understand teachers’ teaching practice and teacher cognition, this study adopted Activity Theory as the conceptual framework. As a qualitative case study, the study was bounded in a Chinese university located in Sichuan Province. The participants of the study included 25 teachers (including 8 key teacher informants), 2 directors and 17 students. Data were collected through teacher questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations with the key teacher informants, and interviews with the directors and students. Questionnaire data was analysed using descriptive statistics; qualitative data were analysed first by a thematic analysis followed by an activity system analysis. The findings revealed that the teachers adopted TBLT mainly to transfer declarative knowledge to procedural knowledge. Task-like activities and communicative activities were not peripheral in terms of the number of times they were observed and the time spent on them but took on complementary status in addition to the traditional classroom instruction. Teachers’ understanding of TBLT diverged from how TBLT has been described by theorists in the literature. The major differences pertained to what TBLT is, the perceived value of TBLT, and the applicable scope of TBLT. The teaching activity shaped teachers’ cognition about TBLT through direct and indirect mediations at the cultural-historical, ontogenetic and microgenetic layer of the context. To alleviate the challenges brought up by the tensions existed in the teachers’ activity systems, teachers adjusted and readjusted their teaching, resulting in the classroom practice of predominantly applying the traditional approach and supplementing it with TBLT.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/24948
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