Invited Colloquia

Marta González-Lloret

Marta González-Lloret

Marta González-Lloret (University of Hawaiʻi, USA) – Technology-mediated tasks: Development, implementation, and assessment. 

Marta González-Lloret is a Professor at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa. Her research focuses on the intersections of technology with TBLT and L2 pragmatics, and on the pedagogical applications of technology for L2 teaching, assessment of technology-mediated learning, and teacher education. She has published numerous articles and chapters on these topics, an edited volume on Technology-mediated TBLT published by John Benjamins (2014, with Lourdes Ortega) and a monograph entitled A Practical Guide to Integrating Technology into Task-based Language Teaching published by Georgetown University Press (2016). She is currently the Secretary of IATBLT (the International Association of Task-Based Language Teaching) and also serves as a board member of a number of refereed journals, including Language Learning & Technology, ReCALL, Applied Pragmatics, and CALICO Journal. She is co-editor of System Journal (Elsevier) and editor of the Pragmatics and Language Learning series (NFLRC). More at her website.

About the Colloquium

This colloquium focuses on the affordances of technology to bring authentic, goal oriented, meaning-focused, tasks to language learners. The presentations illustrate best practices, informed by TBLT Principles and research, on task development, implementation, and assessment. The first presentation by Rebecca Adams showcases those aspects of task design, modality and student grouping that facilitate and shape the online communicative interaction to make it effectively for language learning. Our second presentation by Nicole Ziegler, serves as a link between development and implementation, and it explores the potential of training to create more dynamic and autonomous interaction in online language courses. The third presentation but Melissa Baralt explores the implementation of computer-mediated tasks from a teacher perspective, discussing the challenges that teachers face when using a task-based methodology online and providing suggestions on tasks development and sequencing. In forth presentation, Katie Nielson focuses on the assessment of written tasks in a real-time online environment. She discusses the development of the task, how feedback is provided implementation, as well as the changes to the task based on the assessment f the task. All the presentations include examples from existing technology-mediated tasks to illustrate how these tasks were developed, implemented, and evaluated. 

The colloquium includes a discussion to highlight how to most effectively translate the findings from these studies into practical applications for those who would like to implement similar tasks in their teaching practice, and it leaves ample time for the public to ask questions and share their experiences on developing, implementing and assessing technology-mediated tasks. 


5′ Introduction
Marta González-Lloret (University of Hawaiʻi)
20′ Development of technology mediated tasks
Rebecca Adams (University of Memphis)
20′ Meta cognitive training in a computer mediated task-based environment Nicole Ziegler (University of Hawaiʻi)
20′ Methodology implementation of CMC
Melissa Baralt (Florida International University)
20′ Real-time assessment of learners’ writing tasks: simultaneously improving outcomes and instruction
Katie Nielson (Voxy)
15′ Discussion
Marta González-Lloret (University of Hawaiʻi)
20′ Q&A

Abstracts of Individual Presentations

Development of technology mediated tasks
Rebecca Adams (University of Memphis)

Teachers and researchers working with technology-mediated tasks in second language settings have increasingly emphasized that careful consideration of task features is necessary to allow for students to engage with one another through the medium of technology in ways that create opportunities for language learning. When a task is created to facilitate an online communicative interaction, multiple decisions are made that can promote or stifle language learning opportunities. This presentation reviews research findings on interactivity in online modes, highlighting the ways that task design features, modality of communication, and grouping of participants for tasks shapes communicative interaction differently. Examples from online interactive tasks are used to illustrate the ways that the development of technology mediated tasks impacts the ways that learners use, correct, and question language during the tasks.

Meta cognitive training in a computer mediated task-based environment
Nicole Ziegler (University of Hawaiʻi)

The benefits of interactional feedback are recognized across various theoretical frameworks in SLA. However, few studies have explored the benefits of explicitly instructing learners on providing real-time interactional feedback (e.g., Fujii, Ziegler, & Mackey, 2016; Sato & Lyster, 2012). This study investigated the impact of metacognitive instruction on the quality of learner-learner interaction in a computer-mediated context. An instructional model for metacognitive training in corrective feedback (CF), which included an instructional video and instructor resources for introducing CF to learners, was developed. Following a pretest-treatment-posttest-delayed posttest design, learners in intermediate-level L2 English university courses viewed the video and had whole-class debriefing sessions. Next, learners completed two task-based activities to practice giving interactional feedback. A control group completed the tasks without receiving any metacognitive instruction. All learners completed three additional tasks, one before viewing the video (pretest), one immediately following, and one two weeks later (immediate and delayed posttests). Analyses investigated learners’ production and resolution of Language Related Episodes (LREs; Swain & Lapkin, 2001). Preliminary results indicate an increase in LREs following metacognitive instruction, while qualitative measures suggest positive perceptions and increased awareness of the benefits of interaction and CF in computer-mediated communication.

Methodology implementation of CMC
Melissa Baralt (Florida International University)

From the teacher’s perspective, supporting learners to perform real-world tasks in the online mode poses unique methodological challenges. Successful tasks in the face-to-face mode cannot just be translated to CMC, and so teachers need training and support for the implementation of tasks online. This presentation reviews the challenges that teachers face when teaching a language online, and discusses how to ‘do’ task-based methodology in CMC so that the affordances of this mode can be maximized. It also examines how teachers can sequence tasks so that they increase in complexity in CMC. After reviewing TBLT fundamentals (tasks, task-based methodology, and methodological principles with their CMC-based pedagogic procedures), examples from interactive tasks performed online are provided.

Real-time assessment of learners’ writing tasks: simultaneously improving outcomes and instruction Katie Nielson (Voxy)

One way to help prepare learners for real-world writing tasks is to have them complete simulations of those tasks in real time, via a shared document, with a teacher virtually present to offer feedback. This just-in-time feedback can help learners connect form and meaning rapidly and instructors are able to observe whether or not this feedback has been internalized as learners continue with their writing. This presentation will explore how these writing tasks were initially developed, how feedback is incorporated and received, and the changes that have been made to the tasks and their implementation based on ongoing assessment. Data from students’ and instructors’ contributions to the virtual writing tasks will be considered, and a wide variety of real-world writing tasks, from Yelp reviews to emails to text messages will be included.

Marta González-Lloret (University of Hawaiʻi) The discussion portion of the colloquium highlights how to most effectively translate the findings from these studies into practical applications for those who would like to implement similar tasks in their teaching practice. It will provide some guidelines and suggestions for development, implementation and assessment and will share best practices for technology-mediated TBLT.

Natsuko Shintani

Natsuko Shintani

Natsuko Shintani (Kobe Gakuin University, Japan) – TBLT for younger learners.

Natsuko Shintani is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Global Communication, Kobe Gakuin University. She has taught English to young learners in her own private language school in Japan and applied linguistics courses at the master level at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her research interests encompass the roles of interaction in second language acquisition, second language writing, and task-based language teaching. She has published a book with John Benjamins, entitled Input-based Tasks in Foreign Language Instruction for Young Learners.

About the Colloquium 

Focusing on the teacher and the students in TBLT for young learners 

The aim of this colloquium is to explore research approaches to task-based language teaching (TBLT) for young learners. It includes five studies that examine the effects of TBLT with young learners focussing on either the teacher or the students. 

The first two papers examine how teachers implement TBLT with young learners. Oliver, Zhang and Sato report on an eight-month longitudinal study in which they employed detailed field notes and video recordings of informal interviews to investigate how teachers used “focus on form” strategies in their classrooms with children aged 5–9. Zhu presents an collaborative-action research project on the effects of task repetition. She examined a six-week instruction involving different types of tasks with the idea of building the teachers’ confidence and expertise in using tasks. 

The next three papers focus on the students. García Mayo and Imaz Agirre report on a study investigating the behaviour of children (aged 11–12) as they engaged in collaborative tasks. They analysed task-modality effects, pair dynamics and the quality of the students’ oral and written output. Pinter adopts a novel approach by asking the children (aged 9–10) in her study to function as the researchers. She reported on how the children prepared short oral presentations and then reflected on both their own and other students’ oral output. Finally, Butler, presents a large-scale study involving semester-long instruction using three different types of tasks with 120 children (aged 10–11). She investigated how inter- and intra-individual factors impacted on the effects of the tasks on the children’s language development. The study addresses the challenges of developing age- and context-appropriate tasks for young learners. 

Together, these five papers give us insights into how to implement tasks in classrooms with young learners, as well as how to research the effectiveness of TBLT for such learners. The colloquium concludes with a discussion of the papers’ implications. 

Colloquium structure 3’  Introduction (Shintani) 
17’  Paper 1: Learning content, learning language: Children in Australia learning Mandarin as a second language by Oliver, Zhang & Sato 
17’  Paper 2: Task-based language teaching for young learners: A teacher educator’s collaborative action research study by Zhu 
17’  Paper 3: Issues on EFL children’s performance in collaborative tasks: Findings and future research agenda by García Mayo & Imaz Agirre 
17’  Paper 4: Children engaging in self-motivated task repetition by Pinter 
17’  Paper 5: Individual variabilities that result when young learners are given grammar instruction tasks by Yuko Goto Butler 
10’  Discussion (Shintani) 
20’  Q&A