Task-based language teaching: Modifications needed for successful implementation within a Japanese setting in a foreign country
thesisposted on 2022-04-29, 00:10 authored by Daniel Jones
In an ever-evolving world of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), schools have been scrambling to find the best way to implement and maintain an effective and realistic way of teaching English to their students. This research is a qualitative case study that used thematic analysis on material gathered from semi-structured interviews. The interviewees are all teachers or managers at the focus school. The study investigates how one particular Japanese primary/middle school in a foreign non-Anglophone country made curriculum changes in order to fulfil the requirements of Japan’s Ministry of Education (MEXT’s) curriculum under unique circumstances. This research brings together a vast combination of factors to not only tell the story of how the school implemented TBLT, but also of choices that had to be made, barriers that had to be overcome and how all of this worked together with the current school environment in order to make TBLT a success. Findings of this study revealed that TBLT can be successfully implemented into a Japanese context in a country other than Japan, although it takes time and all stakeholders have to be included. Change needs to occur from the uppermost level of the institution with an in-depth understanding of what is being implemented by all stakeholders being crucial to its success. It was found that the best way for the school in this study to implement TBLT was by executing a hybrid continuum focusing on vocabulary and pronunciation in a student-centred environment for the lowest grades, and up to full implementation of TBLT in the higher grades. This not only allowed for younger students to increase their communicative vocabulary, but also slowly acquainted them with a student-centred approach which was abnormal to them. It was also discovered that while teacher autonomy is good in planning, teacher accountability must be maintained to make sure all teachers are implementing TBLT to the highest possible standard. This can reduce the risk of tensions between teachers who put in varying workloads. As the population of Japanese citizens moving abroad to engage in paid work continues to rise and more of these Japanese government funded schools open, effective TBLT implementation will only become more vital as new schools will look to the already established ones to learn the best way to enact these educational strategies without needing to make the same mistakes as the pioneering schools. This research not only represents an original and significant contribution to knowledge, but also serves as an exemplar for other schools to build on or even lead to a network where schools in similar situations can trade ideas and resources.