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Designing a Task-Based Syllabus

RELC Journal , Volume 34 (1): 64 – Apr 1, 2003


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2003 by SAGE Publications
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Designing a Task-Based Syllabus


This article presents a framework for designing a task-based course based on a distinction between unfocused and focused tasks. Various criteria for sequencing tasks in terms of complexity are identified and discussed. These criteria relate to task input, to task conditions, to the process of performing a task and to task outcomes. While it is recognized that the criteria cannot be applied to task sequencing algorithmically, it is argued that they should inform intuitive decisions about the design of task-based syllabuses. The article also considers two approaches to incorporating a focus on form into a task-based syllabus. In an integrated approach, content-obligatory and content-compatible language forms are identified for each task. In a modu lar approach, the syllabus is conceived of as two separate modules, one consisting of unfocused tasks and the other utilizing a traditional structural syllabus taught through a focus-on-forms approach and/or through focused tasks.
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