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Enhancing the Oral Fluency of English Language by Applying Task-based Language Teaching in China

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  • Given that English has achieved a dominant status as an international language, the Chinese government has been exerting much effort to improve the whole nation’s proficiency in English. However, it has been found that learners are still experiencing great difficulty in speaking English fluently, though they can listen, read and write English as a foreign language without any hindrance. The major indicator of the low speaking proficiency is “dysfluency” in speaking. Under current prevailing traditional teaching methods in China, it is difficult for learners to develop oral fluency, because these methods focus primarily on grammar and accuracy rather than oral fluency. Therefore, a meaning-focused method, task-based language teaching (TBLT), is proposed in this project, as a way to improve learners’ oral fluency in China.
    TBLT is not a new concept in China. In fact, it has been advocated in the Chinese national curriculum innovation by the Ministry of Education since 2001. However, TBLT as a language teaching method is still far from being successfully implemented into the curriculum design and into daily classrooms. The purpose of my project is to build a correlation between TBLT and oral fluency in order to justify the positive effects of this government-advocated method on oral fluency, and to provide corresponding suggestions in terms of the challenges confronted by teachers when implementing TBLT in China. In all, this project not only embodies significance for my personal development as a teacher, but also serves to contribute to the EFL (English as a foreign language) teaching field in China.
    I will apply a synthesis methodology based on a review of related literature to address five aspects of TBLT: the definition of “task” in TBLT, reasons TBLT is important for second language acquisition, how it will enhance the fluency of English speaking, the application of TBLT in China, and the challenges confronted by language teachers in China. Although TBLT is efficient in second language acquisition, researchers have found that the application of TBLT in China is not ideal, with teachers still sticking to traditional teaching methods. In this paper, two main factors impeding the implementation of TBLT are addressed: national examinations and teachers’ lack of understanding of TBLT. In order to solve the challenges arising from the two aspects mentioned above, some research-based suggestions on teacher education in China are also provided in the paper.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International