Task-Based Learning makes lessons more fun and the content more memorable. While it might be a bit more challenging to develop and explain tasks to your youngsters, there is (almost) always a way to tweak an activity to be appropriate. After all, most kids love the challenge of solving a good puzzle, and it’s always nice to move away from the traditional mechanical drills. Be creative, use your resources, and get by with a little help from below. Below are 6 valuable tips on how to use Task-based Learning with young learners.
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Model what you expect the students to do as much as you can without taking away the creative problem-solving aspects of an activity. Not only does it clarify the task, but it gives motivation and takes the edge off. Remember, Task-Based Learning aims to promote a relaxed learning environment: happy kids are better students. Don’t simply tell them what to do and expect them to get it right!
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2 – Supplement the Textbook
Use every resource in your teacher tool belt when designing and conducting a task-based activity. Don’t just stand at the front of the room and only utilize a textbook as your sole visual aid. This is a prime example of why tasks need to be properly prepared in advance. Anticipate what concept will be tricky and have an example or prop prepared.
3 – Give Written Instructions
Please note that this is only applicable to students with more developed language. While modeling is sufficient for explaining a task to lower level students, the addition of written instructions gives them another element to practice in the language acquisition, development, and retention process. If you choose to write the instructions, be clear, concise, and on-level…always!
4 – Check on the students regularly throughout the task
While it is hugely important to let them figure it out on their own – rather than giving up and getting the “answer” from you – it’s also crucial to make sure that your youngsters are on the right path. If they are struggling, ask leading questions that will point them in the right direction. This makes for a smoother task for all. Asking, “Does anyone have any questions?” in the last minute of class is not effective, especially in this type of learning activity.
5 – Make it fun
This is not stressed enough. Edutainment is more effective than lecturing, completing assignments, and taking tests. As long as the activity is fun and doable (on-level), your task will work wonders.
6 – Encourage your students to call on their past learning and experiences
Language acquisition requires using and re-using new language, especially in natural, relevant scenarios. If you have designed a particularly challenging task or are worried that your students may not recall the terminology that you were hoping for, do a quick review on the board/as a discussion before sending them off to do the task.