Universidade de Vigo

Task-based language teaching

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María del Pilar García Mayo was invited by LVTC to conduct the seminar “Doing research with children in a task-supported EFL context: some findings and challenges” at the Faculty of Philology and Translation in Vigo on 4 October 2018. María del Pilar García Mayo is Full Professor of English Language and Linguistics in the Department of  English and German Philology at the University of the Basque Country, where she coordinates the research group Language and Speech, noted  by the Basque Goverment for excellence in research. Her research focuses on the acquisition of morphosyntax in L2/L3 English, conversational interaction and L2 learning (interactionist approach) and the influence of age in bi/multilingual education, areas in which she has published extensively. Prof García Mayo is currently the coeditor of Language Teaching Research (SAGE).

Abstract: In the last decade, task-based language teaching (TBLT) research has expanded substantially in foreign language (FL) contexts but most research studies have been carried out with young adults in university settings. This is despite the fact that the number of FL programs for children (mainly with English as the target language) is on the increase globally and with most introducingthe program early, typically during primary or even preschool years (Enever, 2018). However, there is a clear lack of research-based evidence of what children actually do while performing tasks in this setting and about their language learning process. This evidence is crucial in order to make decisions about the appropriate educational provision during the primary school years, to inform policy makers and to maximize children’s opportunities for learning (García Mayo, 2017). In this talk Prof García Mayo focused on her current research with English as a Foreign Language (EFL) children (age range 8-12) while they perform several tasks in both mainstream and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) contexts. Prof García Mayo's team's task-supported studies, carried out within interactionist and socio-cultural frameworks, are first steps in charting the territory and will hopefully lead to improved task-based language programs. The findings show how children successfully negotiate to make language meaningful, how they engage with the tasks and how theycollaborate in different ways during these tasks. She concluded her talk by highlighting the challenges and future research directions in this area.