Task-Based Learning: 5 Activities for Teaching English to Young Learners

Task Based Learning Activities Teaching English to Young LearnersThe Task-based Learning approach works great with young learners because it allows children or teenagers to communicate while they remain active. In this blog, we will show you 6 Task-based learning activities for teaching English to young learners.

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1) Fix the Ordered List

Teachers can use this Task-based Learning activity for any topic that they are covering that revolves around step-by-step processes. I used to most commonly utilize this one when teaching about cooking and baking or scientific processes, but it can be simplified way beyond those subjects. Have your “process” typed out and cut the list line by line. Divide the students into groups or teams. Give each team a different line. Together, they must communicate and put the list of commands, directions, story lines, etc. in logical order. With very young learners who are unable to communicate in sentences to each other, I used to have the small class act as one team. I hid all the pieces of paper, and they had to work together to find them and reassemble the list.

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2) Story/Comic Compare

This task works whether the students can write in sentences or not.  Give your students a story topic (a character and one occurrence). Tell them that they have x number of minutes finish the story. Again, have them work in groups to practice listening to others, evaluating and responding, and compromising. Once the allotted time frame has finished, have each group present their story to the class. After, the entire class can discuss similarities and differences among the various endings.

Read: How to Teach English with Comics

3) Plan a Party

No matter what country you are teaching in, party day is an ESL student’s favorite day. Use this as an opportunity for your student’s to do a super easy, but really fun, task. They won’t even think of it as a classroom activity, since it involves fun and directly pertains to them. Together, brainstorm things that make a party great. If you’d like, you can divide the students into groups and tell each of them to choose a theme for the party. They must then organize what they need, where they will get it, and who will have which roles at your classroom party. Encourage them to think about the details. Will there be music? What snacks should we eat? What are games that everyone can play together? At the end of the planning period, have each group make a case for their party to the class. Everyone can then vote for the party they want to have with you.

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4) Things that Go Together

This is another activity that you can tailor to whatever subject suits your class. Divide a set of notecards into two stacks. Write one part of a pair and put it into a stack, while writing the other part and placing it in the other. For example, “play” could go in one stack while a picture of someone playing basketball went in the other. Another example could be using “doctor” and “hospital”. The purpose of this task is for students to recognize things that go together. Give each student in the class a card and instruct them to use verbal language only to find their pair- picturing matching is too easy.  This activity is particularly useful among kids.

5) In My Room/In My House

This Task-based learning activity is a great information gap task. It requires the students to listen to another, make sense of what they’ve heard, and demonstrate their understanding through drawing. Split the class into pairs, with each student receiving a sheet of paper. One partner will be the speaker while the other is the drawer. The speaker will describe his/her bedroom or entire house to the drawer, who will then create it. The drawer is free to ask questions to clarify where things are. Once the drawing is complete, the students switch roles. At the end, they will both posses a drawing of their own bedroom or house created by their classmate. As a class, you can then discuss the differences and similarities in the drawings. For example, “I have a toy box in my bedroom. Timmy does, too!” and “My house has two bedrooms, but Jane’s has three”. In addition to serving as an information gap task, this activity thus enables students to practice comparing and contrasting, as well.

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