The term “Task-based”, developed in the 1980s
and 1990s, was a new approach in teaching when people understood that the
learner should be at the center of attention (Xhaferi, B., & Xhaferi, G.,
2013). Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is an approach to teaching a
second/foreign language which was developed from Communicative Language
Teaching (Xhaferi, B., & Xhaferi, G., 2013). CLT, a very important area in
the field of teaching, came into existence in response to the inefficacy of the
traditional methods and it is based on the theories of communicative competence
(Hymes, 1971; Widdowson, 1978, as cited in Larsen-Freeman, 2003) and functional
grammar (Halliday, 1985), which is known as notional/functional approach; a way
of structuring a syllabus around “notions”, real-life situations in
which people communicate, which are further broken down into “functions”,
specific aims of communication (Tabatabaei & Hadi, 2011).
As noted by Jeon and Hahn (2006), “given the fact that
language acquisition is influenced by the complex interactions of a number of
variables including materials, activities, and evaluative feedback, TBLT has a
dramatic, positive impact on these variables. It implies that TBLT provides learners
with natural sources of meaningful material, ideal situations for communicative
activity, and supportive feedback allowing for much greater opportunities for
Also as Xhaferi and Xhaferi (2013) put forward,
since TBLT fosters students’ communication
skills, it has become very popular throughout the world. This approach is used
for teaching children and adults at all levels of education (Xhaferi, &
Xhaferi, 2013). This is why most schools in Asia have started to implement the
TBLT principles in their language classrooms (Tabatabaei & Hadi, 2011).
in Ansari and Shahrokhi (2014), “according to Skehan (1996a, 1996b), Task-based
Language Teaching has three main goals: accuracy, complexity, restructuring,
and fluency. Skehan (1996a, 1996b), elaborates on the three goals of TBLT as
It concerns how well language is produced in relation to the rule system of the
target language. It is concerned with a learners’ capacity to handle whatever
level of interlanguage complexity he/she has currently attended.
Complexity refers to the elaboration or ambition of the target language.
It is the process, which enables the learner to process progressively more
complex language. This stage is a little bit further than accuracy. Here the
learner expands what he/she realized about the role of language linking with
other underlying systems of the language.
It refers to the learner’s capacity to produce language in real time without
undue pausing and hesitation. Here the learner uses his/her language (using the
above two in order to communicate meaningfully in real life situation”. (p.3)
last few decades, most of the countries use communicative language teaching
(CLT) and task-based approaches to teach both second and foreign languages to
learners (Tabatabaei & Hadi, 2011). In this regard, TBLT can be specifically
helpful in foreign language learning contexts in which students have little exposure
to the target language outside the classroom. Consequently, these countries
became very interested in this approach, particularly after attempts to
implement CLT have been successful (Tabatabaei & Hadi, 2011).
Xhaferi (2013) likewise stated that this increasing popularity of TBLT approach
has caused a shift in many educational contexts from the traditional
teacher-centered to the learner-centered classroom. They also added that in the
field of Second Language Acquisition, researchers are trying their best to
investigate the better implementation of TBLT. Also, past and present
conferences such as in Belgium, USA, England, Canada and New Zealand promoted
theoretical and practical research on TBLT (Xhaferi & Xhaferi, 2013).
Najjari (2014) stated, there have been papers, articles, and dissertations by
Iranians regarding TBLT, but this little attention to the local implementation
of TBLT in Iran is disappointing.
this regard Najjari (2014) puts forward:
“Richard (2009) refers to the key role of teachers in the successful
implementation of curriculum changes and he goes on to make remarks that “exceptional
teachers can often compensate for the poor-quality resources and materials they
have to work from. But inadequately trained teachers may not be able to make
effective use of teaching materials no matter how well they are designed” (p. 99).
While stating the failure of TBLT implementation in Hong Kong, Carless (2009)
refers to innovation in TBLT teacher preparation since he believes that
teachers’ understanding of the principles and practice of TBLT is generally
perceived to be relatively limited and he goes on to suggest further research
into teacher education for TBLT ” (p.6).
He also suggests that according to TBLT principles, as an instructional
method, teachers shouldn’t just give tasks to learners and evaluate their
performance, but they must have sufficient knowledge about the instructional
framework related to its plan, procedure, and assessment (Najjari, 2014).
Jeon and Hahn (2006) similarly state that a teacher should
understand how tasks really work in the class; otherwise, a task, even with its
educational benefits in language learning contexts, does not guarantee its effective
In a similar vein, Chang (2011), and Li (1998) have found that teacher training
plays a crucial role in practicing communicative oriented language approaches (Najjari, 2014).
The failure of previous approaches to language teaching leads to
the emergence of task-based courses. The traditional approaches had a
linguistic/structural syllabus focused on teaching and learning and didn’t pay
attention to the learners’ need (Ellis, 2003). While the main focus of TBLT is
on learners and how a teacher or a task should make learners more motivated.
Besides, unfortunately, task-based instruction is not widely followed as an
educational approach in Iran and the majority of research undertaken on TBLT
has been in an ESL context (Ellis, 2003).
The educational culture of task-based learning/ teaching is a
completely new area for Iranian students and teachers (Tabatabaei & Hadi,
2011). Moreover, many studies, regarding TBLT, has focused on the definitions
of a task, the role of tasks in second language acquisition, different task
types, task repetition, and task difficulty (Tabatabaei and Hadi, 2011).
However, as Tabatabaei and Hadi (2011) stated, while, language instructors’ attitudes of language
teaching process has a great influence on what they actually do in practice,
previous studies of TBLT have not dealt with how language teachers perceive task-based
instruction. Therefore, if we want to implement TBLT principles in language classrooms,
we have to develop teachers’ understanding and attitudes toward these
Regarding all the above, the main purpose of this study is to
investigate EFL teachers’ perceptions of task-based language pedagogy because
as Ansari and Shahrokhi (2014) stated, in order to be able to implement TBLT
principles in language classrooms, teachers need to have a good knowledge base
on how TBLT works.
Therefore, this study sets out to examine EFL teachers’ attitudes
and understanding of Task-Based Teaching at the primary school level in South Khorasan Province, Birjand.
Another issue will be the positive effects that TBLT can have in the primary
school classroom and also the most frequent reasons teachers implement or avoid
using TBLT in the classroom.
This is a very important
area of study because the results obtained from the study will help the
language teachers to understand and implement the main principles of TBLT.
Finally, the implications of the study may affect teacher practice and also
curriculum design (Xhaferi, B., & Xhaferi, G., 2013).