#51, Article: ‘Task Oriented Meta-cognitive Approach In English Language Teaching And Learning’ by Mansa R. Maity
By Tarun Patel
Task Oriented Meta-cognitive Approach In English Language Teaching And Learning
by Mansa R. Maity, RGUKT-APIIIT, Basar.
English language is one of the richest languages in the world, in respect of literature and culture. English literature contains some of the finest utterances of life and conduct. In it we have the “Authorized Version of Bible”, the perfection of the English language. It is the language with which Milton tried to assert eternal providence, “And justify the way of God to Men”, the language through which Darwin expounded his “theory of evolution”, “struggle for existence” and “survival of the fittest”.The English language has given expression to great social ideas and great political ideas.
The first requirement for any author to produce any form of literature is to have an effective language.
The century that has gone by witnessed far-fetching changes in Linguistics, Anthropology, Literature and Philosophy leading to change the approach of education. With the explosion of information technology, with the ever-increasing interaction between languages and culture bridging the yawning hiatus between them, and with inter-dependence of literature in different regions, the crucial role of English Language Teaching and Learning is striking new grounds for readers and researchers.
Whatever a remote future may have in store, one need not be a great prophet to predict that in the near future the number of English speaking people will increase considerably. It must be a source of gratification to mankind that the tongue spoken by two of the greatest powers of the world is so noble, so rich, so plaint, so expressive, and so interesting as the language, whose easy acquisition has to be researched on.
With the rapid development of the information technology, the application of Internet in education becomes more and more popular. It provides rich resources for English learning, embodying the teaching ideas of learning-by-doing, inquiry based learning and co-operative learning, and making e-learning way of English teaching come true. The analysis explodes the effects of combining task-based language learning and acquisition in an online environment focused to be facilitated in a cognitive approach, that is to say, ‘learning to learn’ and ‘learning to think’. It is something similar to the sayings of the famous Chinese philosopher named Confuscious: “I read, and I forget. I saw, and I believed. I did, and I understand.”
Criticism may arise stating the impossibility to design a task oriented course to ensure adequate coverage of the target language. But, in fact, there is substantial evidence to suggest that it is possible to design tasks that are predictive of language use.
It is further true that a Task oriented language learning may be devoid of grammar syllabus. But it seems to be advantageous, in a way, that teaching discrete points of grammar stands problematic as learners’ inter-language does not develop incrementally.
However, again we can allow for a grammar syllabus which can be either as a separate module in the whole course or as a checklist to guide the selection of grammatical features for focused tasks. In fact, it is an approach which allows for attention to grammar through focus on form at same stage in task-oriented lesson. In task oriented meta-cognitive approach of English language learning and teaching, the focus should be on remedial grammar.
Dating back to the early 80s, the language learner strategies on self-directed language learning documents an ongoing recognition of the need to help language learners reflect upon and refine their beliefs and knowledge about learning, ie. their meta-cognitive knowledge. To date, however, this literature has not been explicit about the function of this knowledge in language learning. This study aims at the meta-cognition approach to address this lack. It critical study tries to prove that insights provided by the review can enhance our understanding of those approaches to second language acquisition which assign an active role to the learner, and concludes with a consideration of practical implications on language instruction.
Defining and Classifying ‘tasks’:
A Task is goal directed involving a primary focus on meaning, where the participant is left to his own discretion and autonomy to choose the linguistic resources needed to complete the task. A task has to have a clearly defined outcome.
Task can be designed to develop any of the four language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing.
Task can be further categorized into – (i)Pre-task (e.g. opportunity for pre-task planning), (ii)Main-task (reactive focus on form), and (iii) Post-task (e.g. language practice activities).
Types of Task:
(i)Unfocused tasks :- a)Pedagogic & b)Real world – practical oriented.
(ii)Focused tasks :-
a) Structure based production tasks.
b) Structure based comprehension tasks.
c) Consciousness raising tasks.
Aims of Task:
The task should cover the motivational aspects, which largely depends on the designing of the task, thereby, keeping in mind the task adaptation problems that the students may face. That is to say the cognitive mind set and capacity of the students.
The following points can be considered as the aims of the ‘tasks’:
1. Does the task relate to an overall text type with a clear functional organization? (e.g. narrative, descriptive etc.).
2. Does the task focus on product? (i.e. how a text is organized or how a text is organized or how other component parts are put together?)
3. Does the task focus on process?(i.e. Encourage students in effective and appropriate strategies for writing.)
4. Does the methodology of the task motivate (problem solving or bridging an information)?
5. Has the context of the writing been made clear.
6. Are the instructions clear and concise?
7. What is the degree of support and guidance provided?
a)In the context, whether, information, ideas etc. are provided?
b)In the language, whether, vocabulary, structure etc. are maintained?
Defining ‘Task-Oriented Language Teaching’:
The task oriented language teaching is an approach to teach a foreign language that seeks to engage learners in interactively authentic language use by having them perform a series of tasks. It aims to both enable learners – (i) to acquire new linguistic knowledge and (ii) to proceduralize their existing knowledge.
The Meta-Cognitive Approach of Language Acquisition:
Meta-cognition can be defined simply as thinking about thinking. Learners who are meta-cognitively aware know what to do when they don’t know what to do; that is, they have strategies for finding out or figuring out what they need to do. The use of meta-cognitive strategies ignites one’s thinking and can lead to more profound learning and improved performance, especially among learners who are struggling. Understanding and controlling cognitive processes may be one of the most essential skills that classroom teachers can help second language learners develop. It is important that they teach their students meta-cognitive skills in addition to cognitive skills.
Meta-cognitive Strategies for Language Learning:
Meta-cognition combines various attended thinking and reflective processes. It can be divided into five primary components:
(1) preparing and planning for learning,
(2) selecting and using learning strategies,
(3) monitoring strategy use,
(4) orchestrating various strategies, and
(5) evaluating strategy use and learning.
Second language learners are actively involved in meta-cognition when they attempt to evaluate whether what they are doing is effective. Teachers can help students evaluate their strategy use by asking them to respond thoughtfully to the following questions:
(1) What am I trying to accomplish?
(2) What strategies am I using?
(3) How well am I using them?
(4) What else could I do? Responding to these four questions integrates all of the previous aspects of meta-cognition, allowing the second language learner to reflect through the cycle of learning. Preparing and planning relates to identifying what is to be accomplished, while selecting and using particular strategies relates to the question of which strategies are being used. The third question corresponds to monitoring strategy use, while the fourth relates to the orchestration of strategies. The whole cycle is evaluated during this stage of meta-cognition.
There is a need to provide students with a repertoire of strategies to enable them to know what to use when and for what learning task. What they need to do is acquisition and use of the most important of skills; learning how to learn skills. The present study aims at investigating the effects of a suggested training program in some Meta-cognitive Language Learning Strategies (MLLS) on developing listening and reading comprehension
The study is supposed to adopt a pre and post experimental and control groups. The experimental group is supposed to be instructed in some meta-cognitive language learning strategies embodied in listening and reading comprehension tasks, while the control group has to complete the task without any meta-cognitive approach.
Experimental Approach – Control or Comparison Condition: Subjects to be divided into two equal groups: one as experimental (Let us suppose forty students) and the other as control (again the same number, that is, forty students).
Data Collection and Analysis:
A listening comprehension test, a reading comprehension test and an English Proficiency Examination can be conducted to measure the effects of the program. The data of the conducted tests can be analyzed in the following way :- We can analyze the of data of the conducted test that will reveal which experimental group surpassed the control group in post-measurement of the listening comprehension test, the reading comprehension test and the English Proficiency Examination.
By this we can conclude the effectiveness of the Task-orientation in meta-cognitive approach of language learning strategy. Its effectiveness will help develop EFL learners’ listening and reading skills and raise their language proficiency levels in the easiest way. This approach offers the opportunity for natural learning inside the classroom. It is intrinsically motivating and at the same time compatible with a learner-centered educational philosophy. It will supposedly cater to the strong development of communicative fluency. Further, juxtaposed with the teaching of meta-cognitive skills help learners reflect upon their learning strategies, they become better prepared to make conscious decisions about what they can do to improve their learning. Strong meta-cognitive skills empower second language learners acquire the language in a short span of time. Discussions of the above stated experimentations, findings, recommendations and suggestions is the supposition of this research.
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