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Contextualisation and authenticity in TBLT: voices from Chinese classrooms

Chen, Q. and Wright, C. (2017) Contextualisation and authenticity in TBLT: voices from Chinese classrooms. Language Teaching Research, 21 (4). pp. 517-538. ISSN 1477-0954

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1362168816639985


In view of ongoing debates about the future of TBLT in EFL contexts (Thomas & Reinders, 2015; Zheng & Borg, 2014), we present a detailed case study of teacher beliefs and practices regarding TBLT conducted in a secondary school in mainland China with a long history of communicative and task-based teaching approaches. We used a mixed-methods approach to gather a broad range of triangulated data, combining individual interviews, material analysis and observations coded using a novel task-focused version of the COLT scheme (Littlewood, 2011; Spada & Fröhlich, 1995). Quantitative and qualitative findings revealed positive beliefs about TBLT principles in general, reflecting strong institutional support for communicative teaching. However, there was marked variability between beliefs and practices in using tasks, especially with beginner-level learners. Most teachers demonstrated an intrinsic lack of confidence in using tasks as more than a communicative ‘add-on’ to standard form-focused teaching. We argue this demonstrates a need for building teacher autonomy (Aoki, 2002; Benson, 2007), in implementing TBLT, even in supportive settings, to support successful authentic contextualising TBLT principles in different EFL contexts.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:58200


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