Learning a language through ‘tasks’
The CEFR underlines the role of ‘tasks’ in learning…. But what does this word mean in the CEFR?

What does a ‘task’ mean according to the CEFR?
“A task is each appropriate act, which an individual considers necessary for achieving a result in the context of a solvable problem, a need to be fulfilled or an achievable goal. This definition covers a vast range of actions, like moving a wardrobe, writing a book, negotiating some contract conditions, playing cards, ordering something at a restaurant, translating a foreign language text, or in a group, preparing the class magazine.” P18, CEFR
“Communication is a constituent part of the tasks, with each participant engaged in interaction, production, receiving or in mediation, or in a combination of two or more of them, for example: interaction with a public service office worker and filling out a form, reading a report and discussing it with colleagues to decide on a plan of action, following written instructions while assembling something (and if there is a helper there, to ask for their help, or if there is an observer, ask him/ her to describe or comment on the procedure), prepare a written presentation, and present it in a public talk, informally translate for a visitor etc.” – CEFR, p161

Main traits of a ‘task’
There are an abundance of ‘tasks’ in real life. According to the CEFR, preparing the learners to fulfil these tasks is… the main task of the teacher!
In order to do this, we can integrate simulated tasks, or ‘projects’, (complex tasks which engage learners.)
The ‘tasks’ useable in language learning have four important traits:
  • They are motivating for the learners
  • They demand their cooperation
  • They demand from them a certain level of autonomy
  • They lead to a concrete result

….And Varsovia Vento?
Creating radio transmissions is an example of a project which contains many tasks:
  • Define the theme (which demands communication within the group)
  • Search for and read documents
  • Write down the findings and read them out
  • Prepare and conduct interviews
  • Etc….

Some questions to digest….
Think about some questions….
  • To what end will the learners learn the language (Esperanto)?
  • What skills should the learner develop to effectively communicate in the learned language?
  • How can we best prepare the learners so that they can effectively use the language in real situations?