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WILKINS, D. 1976___________________________________________________
In 1976, the British applied linguist David Wilkins suggested a basic distinction between what he called 'synthetic approaches' to syllabus design and 'analytical' approaches. All syllabuses, he suggested, fitted one or other of these approaches.In 'synthetic' approaches’. Different parts of the language are taught separately and step by step so that acquisition is a process of gradual accumulation of parts until the whole structure of language has been built up.
Such approaches represent the'traditional' way of organizing the syllabus, and reflect the common-sense belief that the central role of instruction is to simplify the learning challenge for the student. One way to simplify learning is to break the content down into its constituent parts, and introduce each part separately and step-by-step. A related concept that was popular in the 1960s was that of mastery learning. Havingbroken the subject matter down and sequenced it from easy to difficult, each item of content was introduced to the learner in a serial fashion, and a new item was not supposed to be introduced until the current item had been thoroughly mastered (thus the label 'mastery learning').
The dominant approach to language teaching in Asia (and, indeed, most of the rest of the world), has been, and remains, asynthetic one. Teachers who have learned their own languages through a synthetic approach, and see this as the normal and logical way of learning language.
In his book Notional Syllabuses, however, Wilkins offered an alternative to synthetic approaches. These are known as 'analytical' approaches because the learner is presented with holistic 'chunks' of language and is required to analyze them,or break them down into their constituent parts.
Prior analysis of the total language system into a set of discrete pieces of language that is a necessary precondition for the adoption of a synthetic approach is largely superfluous. … [Such approaches] are organized in terms of the purposes for which people are learning language and the kinds of language that are necessary to meet these purposes.All syllabus proposals that do not depend on a prior analysis of the language belong to this second category. In addition to task-based syllabuses, we have project-based, content-based, thematic, and text-based syllabuses. Despite their differences, they all have one thing in common - they do not rely on prior analysis of the language into its discrete points. Task-based language teaching, then,grew out of this alternative approach to language pedagogy.Since then, the concept of 'task' has become an important element in syllabus design, classroom teaching and learner assessment, although teachers brought up in tradition methods still struggle with the concept. It underpins several significant research agendas, and it has influenced educational policy-making in both ESL and EFL settings.Pedagogically, task-based language teaching has strengthened the following principles and practices.
*A needs-based approach to content selection
*An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language.
*The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.
*The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language, but also on thelearning process itself.
*An enhancement of the learner's own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning.
*The linking of classroom language learning with language use outside the classroom. Task have been defined in various ways. Nunan (2004) draws a basic distinction between real-world or target tasks, and pedagogical tasks. Target tasks, as the name implies,...
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