I teach at a university in Japan and want to prepare some topic / task based lessons for students to do in the classroom which include a series of linked activities.
I like the Lesson activity that provides tabs and a progress bar for the whole integrated lesson / task, but I haven't worked out how to make things "jump" to the next activity. And I can't work out how to put different types of activity (e.g. Poodil for recording a speech) intot the Lesson activity.
I would appreciate any advice on how to create either of the following linked / integrated tasks below.
Thanking you in advance!
Lesson 1: Preparing a self-introduction
Warmer - students look at one or several pictures related to the general theme and write a sentence about each one; alternatively, students do a "choice" type activity and answer one survey question about the topic; this could also be a pre-self-assessment type task using "can-do" statements (to be followed up by self-assessment at the end)
Vocabulary pre-teaching - students practice vocabulary (I like to embed a Quizlet quiz for this, but am happy to explore other options)
Listening - students listen once to a text and answer a global listening type exercise (e.g. choose the picture that matches the main topic of the listening / answer T/F questions about the listening, etc)
Dictation - students hear the same listening text but this time need to fill in a gapped cloze / script
Language pattern practice - students practice making sentences using some of the useful language patterns from the listening text (e.g. put words in order to make a sentence)
Writing - students write a similar text about themselves using some of the language patterns
Speaking - students record their text
Sharing - students post their spoken text for feedback (e.g. questions / comments) from other student (e.g. two students); they must also post feedback to two other students
Self-assessment - students fill in an assessment rubric e.g. by checking boxes, to self-assess
Teacher assessment - the teacher fills in a similar rubric for final grading
Lesson 2: Discussion skills
Warmer - write simple opinions about each picture presented
Useful language - phrases for expressing opinions (via Quizlet quiz)
Survey - students express their opinions on a number of statements e.g. I think students should wear uniforms at university; and perhaps back up their opinion with one reason
Debate - students enter a forum and debate a simple but controversial topic
Self-assessment - students assess themselves with a check list or rubric
Teacher assessment / feedback - as above
Most of what you've listed in Lesson 1 can be done appropriately with the Quiz module. The more collaborative parts can be done with the Forum and/or the Workshop module.
BTW from the learners' point of view, if they're pre-taught vocab and/or grammatical patterns/structures, it's more of an exercise than task-based language learning (TBLL). One of the key aspects of TBLL is that the task doesn't prescribe what language to use. Any focus on form/language instruction before a learning activity is effectively prescriptive in that it implies to learners that it's in some way relevant and should be used.
Further reading on TBLL and Tasks vs. Exercises:
Tinkering with tasks knows no bounds: ESL Teachers' Adaptations of Task-Based Language-Teaching
TESL CANADA JOURNAL/REVUE TESL DU CANADA, VOL. 28, NO 1, WINTER 2010
"Research on implementing task-based language-teaching (TBLT) shows that adapting TBLT in ways that are inconsistent with its principles is common among nonnative-speaker English-as-a-foreign-language teachers. Our study of Canadian native-speaker English-as-a-second language teachers reveals how they also adapt TBLT in ways that are incongruent with its theoretical underpinnings, turning it into Presentation-Practice-Production. We thus question speaker identity as an indicator of a teacher's propensity to adapt TBLT and call for professional development on the effective practice of TBLT for all English-language teachers regardless of their speaker identities."
An interesting article and great food for thought. I noted that there are two forms of TBLT - strong and weak, and I guess what I am using with my lesson plan here is the weak version, although to be honest, I planned the lesson for pedagogical reasons not limited by one approach.
From the article:
"A strong task cycle does not pre-select any particular language structure in order to attain task completion. In contrast, a weak task cycle is predisposed to teaching specific language structures required for task completion (whether learners use them or not). Learners are still encouraged on task completion to focus on forms, although now the teacher chooses the forms at the outset. Both variations allow for flexibility in how teachers apply tasks to suit students' needs and level," (p. 42).
The article also listed some useful principles behind TBLT which act as a nice check-list to see whether my lesson is task-based or not. I should perhaps make it clear here that I am not actually aiming to use a TBLT approach, as, after studying applied linguistics and teaching for over 16 years, I believe teaching requires an eclectic approach that doesn't prescribe to any one "method" (post-method, one could say). However, I am pleased to see that my lesson plan does match several of the principles outlined on p. 43. And within the context of my classroom practice across a semester, all principles are applied at some point. What my lesson plan doesn't show are other aspects of the course, including extensive listening and reading component, autonomous vocabulary study, a strong focus on fluency and automation over accuracy, self-access resources, access to a conversation lounge, writing centre and speaking centre, and so on.
Looking at the discussion and conclusion of the article, it becomes clear that the authors prefer the strong approach to TBLT, and perhaps are missing the fact that teachers face many constraints in real practice. In my case, these include class size, students' previous learning experiences, mixed levels, differing motivation levels and attitudes towards learning, etc. Context is everything.
I will look into the quiz module and look forward to more discussion and especially some tips on how to create linked and integrated activities in Moodle.
I'll stay clear of the TBLT discussion ....
There is more than one way to skin this cat. As Matt says, the quiz module actually is a fairly good way of doing this. But it does have its drawbacks.
For example, you might want to allow each student to see the others' self introduction. Or you might want to be able to give written (audio even) feedback. The quiz module won't let you do that. If you just laid the activities out on the course page and made each conditionally available on the previous activity's completion, you could get pretty close. But you wouldn't get the nice auto jump to next activity wizard like feel, that you wanted. But if you just explained it clearly to students somewhere and maybe used the progress block ( https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=block_progress ) to reinforce the X steps to completion thing, it might be good enough.
There is also the taskchain mod ( https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_taskchain ) but it might not have every task you might want (eg PoodLL).
Hope that helps
(also in Japan)
Great, thanks Justin - I will look into that, especially the plugin for the progress bar.
By the way, my university is hosting a forum on listening in February next year. Elton LaClare, also at Sojo and a big Moodle proponent (and my office mate), will present on using Moodle dictations and we are very interested in anyone else who uses Moodle (or other tech) for listening practice. Is that what you do at all in your classes? I am guessing PoodLL connects to this?
Link here to more information: http://www.eltcalendar.com/events/details/6696
Oh, you work with Elton? He can tell you all about the progress bar, for sure. Because he sold me on it.
My main listening focus was less academic and more plumbing I am afraid. I digitized a monster library of STEP Eiken listening materials and made a system for playing them on demand or in quizzes. A fair bit of that went into an obscure part of PoodLL, the list players.
Now that I am not teaching any more, I feel a bit bad that all that work which could be used in high schools and junior high schools throughout Japan is not going to be.
Well now we have digressed. Elton has my email, perhaps we can talk off forum more about the listening thing.
If you're interested in dictation activities, I've developed an app that generates them and is integrated with Moodle.
I have a demo course with a collection of apps: http://moodle.matbury.com/course/view.php?id=5
You can find and try out a demo of the dictation app, Listen and write, here: http://moodle.matbury.com/mod/swf/view.php?id=39
Listen and write
The Listen and write Multimedia Interactive Learning Application (MILA) generates guided dictation activities. First, learners listen to the entire audio. Then the dictation screen is generated. Learners can listen to individual segments of the audio in any order they choose and attempt to write the corresponding words. They can attempt the words in any order so they can continue ahead if they get stuck on a word and come back to it later. They also have the option of listening to the audio slowed down but without altering the pitch (also known as time stretch). This gives the effect of someone talking slowly, making it possible for learners to hear natural pronunciation in greater detail.
The Listen and write application uses a real time traffic light colour coded feedback system to guide learners' spelling; red for the wrong letter, amber for the right letter in the wrong position, and green for the right letter in the right position. It's not case sensitive and ignores all punctuation except for apostrophes and hyphens so that it avoids the usual frustrations of automated dictations. There are two versions, one for paragraphs/monologues, and another for dialogues with separated lines of text.
- Listen to the complete audio
- Time stretched (slowed down) audio is also available
- Listen to each phrase or sentence
- Write the phrase or sentence
- Input text is colour coded (red, amber, green) in real time as learners type
- Results are recorded in Moodle's grade book
Looks like a great app! I would love to use this with my students!
Re: TBLL, I've contributed a fair amount of work to clarifying the definition on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Task-based_language_learning which is essentially a form of communicative language teaching/learning (CLT).
Personally, I don't buy the weak vs. strong forms claims about applying methods. We either apply the defining characteristics of the method or we're doing something else and we should define it as that rather than "bending" the definitions. I think simply observing what the learners and the teachers actually do
and then finding the label/method that best fits what they're doing,
according to clearly defined sets of criteria, gives a more accurate and
representative view. (Or do we end up arguing that white is black and up is down?)
As CLT is commonly practised in classrooms around the world, it often fails to meet the "bare minimum" requirements qualify as CLT and what many teachers and course book authors declare as CLT more closely resembles "present-practise-produce," the Audiolingual method, and/or grammar translation.
Jason Beale wrote an allusive essay that I think characterises much of EFL and ESL practice: http://www.academia.edu/2370003/Is_communicative_language_teaching_a_thing_of_the_past Beale "Argues that a fairly limited use of communicative principles has been evident in popular treatments of lesson structure, content, and syllabus design." ( http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ652282 )
I understand your point about CLT and TBLL not being possible in many settings. That's OK; in some cultures, learners and teachers have attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about what makes "good" learners and learning, teachers and teaching that are incompatible with CLT and TBLL. I think the answer is to be faithful to the principles of learning and teaching theory and practice, approaches, and methods, and describe contexts situations and activities as clearly, appropriately and accurately as we can, rather than what we'd like them to be.