Exploring Task-Based Approach to Teaching Oral Communication Skills in English to Sri Lankan Undergraduate Students

Hakmana Parana Liyanage Waruni Shashikala
2018 Journal of Literature and Art Studies  
 It is vital that Sri Lankan undergraduate students learn to speak competently because they need to become capable communicators in order to accomplish a wide range of goals and to become useful members of their communities. However, teaching oral communication skills to English language learners has always been a challenge for the language teacher. As a result, teachers have often attempted to look for new methods that would enable students' learning process by creating a difference in the
more » ... lish as a second language (ESL) learning-teaching classroom. This paper describes the applications of the task-based language teaching (TBLT) methodology in which communicative tasks engage a group of undergraduates in authentic conversation in order to teach oral communication skills in an academic setting. The Sri Lankan ESL learning-teaching context was chosen as the research context for this study and comprised a sample of randomly selected 60 2nd-year undergraduates whose proficiency in English was at elementary level. This utilized both qualitative and quantitative measurements and followed the model, presented by Willis (1996), which includes three stages: pre-task stage, task-cycle and language focus for TBLT in the ESL learning-teaching classroom. Students were required to work in groups and the task-cycles involved a questionnaire survey game in which they were required to construct "Wh" questions in order to elicit information from others. The findings report that this approach has inspired students better in learning oral communication skills unlike many conventional teaching methods which promote a form-focused theory. They tried to experiment with what they knew without fear of being corrected by the teacher when an error was made, got feedback from their peers and formulated & reformulated their ideas with a sense of accuracy and fluency. The researcher recommends that ESL teaching practitioners use TBLT methodology in their classroom, since this enhances learners' accuracy and fluency. Furthermore, language teachers can spend more time in reflection which will allow them to think critically on their classroom behaviour. They can identify and work on their weaknesses in the classroom as well as building on their strengths.
doi:10.17265/2159-5836/2018.06.012 fatcat:n4gwcf3mfbgu5miqk5gxuck5mi