Tasks, design and the architecture of pedagogic spaces
Tasks, design and the architecture of pedagogic spaces Virginia Samuda TBLT 2007 Are sharks predictable? Research on shark behavior day to day helps us understand the space and resources they need for survival. And research gives insight into potential interactions between sharks and humans. Tracking sharks: Scientists in Hawaii attach a lightweight sound producing tag to track a sharks movements. Researchers listen to the sounds the tag produces and record the sharks location.
Tasks, design and the architecture of pedagogic spaces Virginia Samuda TBLT 2007 The teacher as task designer The texture and subtlety of teachers work connotes a need to acknowledge that they are necessarily involved in designing tasks at almost every twist and turn of classroom interaction. (Towndrow, 2004) Tasks, design and the architecture of pedagogic spaces
1) Some background issues brought into focus through the title of this talk 2) Some real world pedagogic problems, relating to the demands made on teachers that these issues bring into focus 3) Some recent empirical directions that seek to engage with those issues Tasks,
As a pedagogic tool open to systematic use for a range of pedagogic purposes at different points in a teaching sequence open to a range of pedagogic decisions about how it may be varied, shaped and adjusted to meet those purposes open to mediation by a teacher Design: Done by.
Includes materials writers, curriculum developers, researchers, testers, teachers, learners Development of a new task from scratch; adjustments to existing tasks Draws on.. Complex problem-solving mechanisms and conceptual domain knowledge
Design: some problems of scope? Emergent? Re-shape.., reinterpret.., re-define.. (Lantolf, 2000, Coughlan & Duff, 1994; Donato 2000, Seedhouse, 2005, SlimaniRolls, 2005 etc) Impact on performance and SLA processes? Direct..,channel.., deflect.., predispose.. require.., impinge on.. (Pica et al, 1993; Skehan & Foster studies, 1996-9; Ellis,
2001; Robinson, 2001; 2007; Mackey, 1999 etc..) in relation to task as a pedagogic tool? Interactions between emergent and predictable elements of task design? The zone where teachers work? Design:
Development of the workplan Implementation of the workplan Task-as-workplans Workplan Workplan Workplan Workplan Original workplan Prospective Dynamic
workplan workplan (designers workplan) (teachers lesson plan) Retrospective workplan (teachers (teachers on-line plan) reformulated plan for future use)
The architecture of pedagogic spaces Task-as-frame Practitioner construals of task as: a bounded pedagogic unit ..with a beginning, a middle, and end unfolding in stages providing a reason to use language ..leaving space for the learner (Samuda et al, 2001) Pedagogic task design: some real world issues The curriculum: The teacher:
All English teachers must take on the responsibility of selecting or adapting suitable tasks from existing materials or designing tasks for their own learners (Curriculum I am very conscious that if I sit down of an evening as a teacher that I dont want to spend all evening preparing tasks or designing tasks. I want to produce something which is valid  and enjoyable
for the class in as short a time as possible (Samuda Development Council, Hong Kong/SAR, 1999) et al, 2000:5) Problems with design: an example [Teacher x]: never considered the question of how to design the tasks in a way that would make it necessary for the students to collaborate for task completion (Tsui, 2003: 174); [and did not appear to] have any principles on which to base her judgment of whether
the activities [were] well designed (ibid: 219). Potential guidance on task design How to manuals (Nunan, 1989; 2004; Estaire & Zann, 1994, Jolly & Bolitho, 1998 etc) Empirically-grounded insights (notably the two Peters) Empirically-grounded recommendations about task-based methodology (Ellis,
2003) Principles of task-based methodology (Ellis, 2003) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Ensure an appropriate level of task difficulty Establish clear goals for each task-based lesson Develop an appropriate orientation to performing the task in the students
Ensure that students adopt an active role in task-based lessons Encourage students to take risks Ensure that students are primarily focused on meaning when they perform a task Provide opportunities for focusing on form Require students to evaluate their progress Design awareness (Samuda, 2005) Enabling task implementation: teacher and
task in tandem (Samuda, 2001) Enabling teacher planning over a course of instruction (Mohan & Marshall Smith, 1992) A role for design awareness in developing the workplan and in implementing it? Design awareness: some unknowns:
What does it entail? How is it deployed in the development of the workplan, and how is it deployed in task implementation in the classroom? How is it acquired? How does it develop? Can it be trained? Some empirical studies of design Example 1:The development of the workplan (Johnson, 2003; Samuda, 2005) Example 2: Teachers implementation of
the workplan (Samuda, forthcoming) Example 1: What designers do: developing the workplan Interview data: evaluations of typical tasks; card sorts: task designers, teachers. Design process data: concurrent thinkalouds while designing tasks: design brief: specialist (S) designers and non-specialist teacher (NS/T) designers Differences in the ways that S and NS/T designers approach design process? (Johnson, 2003)
Design outcomes data: tasks produced; teacher evaluations of tasks produced Differences in the tasks produced? (Samuda, 2005) Selected findings: differences in the ways that specialist designers approach the design process: (Johnson, 2003) concrete visualisation capacity simulate and rehearse ways task might unfold envisage and troubleshoot problems consequence identification awareness of potential knock-on effect of changing one element of the task maximum variable control
attention to wide range of variables relating to overall task and the details of its parts Selected findings: differences in tasks produced (Samuda, 2005) Differences in surface level features: S tasks: titles, summarising statements (task goal; pedagogic purpose); structured stationery; jointly supplied task data
Differences in internal structuring: S tasks: proleptic design features: anticipate how the design might unfold in action; points in the task where there could be a change in attentional focus EXAMPLE: the staging of a task Movement through the task chunked via steps and
sub-steps, with step boundaries corresponding to shifts in interaction, sub-topic and/or task focus Outcomes of one stage of the task used as input for the next Iterative opportunities for different types of language use at different stages of the task Closures: -stage closures -final closure in plenary mode Cumulative pedagogic effects? - use of advance organisers staging pacing variety in interaction type
recycling closure . built into task design Designer as teacher? Example 2: teachers implementations of the workplan How do teachers appraise the potential strengths and limitations of the original workplan? Does varying an element of the workplan, whether prospectively or dynamically, have a knock-on effect on other aspects of the task?
How do teachers anticipate and manage those effects, both prospectively and dynamically? Data base Teachers with different levels of classroom experience planning and teaching the same unit of material from a widely-used ELT textbook in a 50 minute lesson. (Source: LATEX Research Group archive, Dept of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University)
Present example: Two teachers planning and implementing a task that formed part of those materials Participants The teachers Teacher V: over 20 years ESL and EFL teaching experience Teacher N: TEFL diploma; limited teaching experience. The students Two classes: young
adults, from China One-years foundation course, at UK college of education, prior to entering university Procedures Pre-lesson interview: each teacher talked through a 50minute lesson plan based on the same textbook unit Video-recording of lessons taught Two stimulated recall sessions:
1) teacher-nominated points of focus 2) researcher-nominated points of focus Tap into different dimensions of the task-as-workplans? Analysis: Based on practitioner construals of task as a frame Track teachers macro- and micro-framing of the task prospectively and dynamically Example: proactive/reactive framing moves relating to: theme, content, procedure, goal, timing Variations to original workplan:
prospective workplan Problem Solution V Inappropriacy of Chinas task content Greatest Achievements N Lack of time Anticipated
impact Rubric Mode of activity Outcome format Omit last step of None task Both teachers vary the original workplan in different ways..
Teacher V Changes to task content cumulative changes to task structure and procedures Re-tasks elements of original workplan Teacher N Omitting part of task
procedure removal of task outcome De-tasks elements of original workplan De-tasking and re-tasking: Teacher N and Teacher V N prospective dynamic impact on language use
Omit part of task S individual preparation T nominated responses IRF DE-TASK V Changes to content changes to internal structuring (rubric type; number of stages; outcome)
RE-TASK DE-TASK On-line changes to internal structure of task rubrics, number of stages, outcomes of stages RE-TASK R= one-off extended prepared turns b) R= single word utterances DE-TASK a)
Cumulative opportunities to engage and re-engage with familiar content in slightly different ways at different stages of the task; dynamic reframing of task demands RE-TASK Some elements of Teacher Vs retasking Demarcation of beginning/end of task, and the
stages within the task Use of student-generated data arising out of one stage as springboard for next Variation of interaction types Keeping the frame of the task constant enables changes in task procedures and changes in task demands as the task unfolds? Staging the task: macro and micro-framing: Teacher V T open frame open frame close frame
A open frame close frame open frame close frame S K open frame close frame close frame Factors enabling Teacher V to re-task, prospectively and dynamically?
Robust schematisation of the architecture of the task: overall task frame, and micro-frames within it? Capacity for envisaging and troubleshooting problems? Awareness of effects of changing one element of task on others? Highly proceduralised repertoire? Teacher as designer?
Are sharks predictable? Research on shark behavior day to day helps us understand the space and resources they need for survival. And research gives insight into potential interactions between sharks and humans. Tracking sharks: Scientists in Hawaii attach a lightweight sound producing tag to track a sharks movements. Researchers listen to the sounds the tag produces and record the sharks location. Some conclusions Not all tasks are created equal The use of tasks implies design: prospective and dynamic, with fluid boundaries between workplan and
process Further empirical studies that look at design in terms of how teachers construe the pedagogic potential of different tasks, and how they work with them in the classroom richer understandings of task as a pedagogic tool within a context of use, and richer conceptualisations of the scope of design? insights for teacher development? An end .and a beginning.. TBLT 2009 Lancaster
landscapes and sweeping panoramas friendly locals literary and cultural heritage rain pubs and well-kept real ales local produce Lancaster Axe A longstanding association with tasks
See you in 2009 Advice to novice architects, (Potter, 2002) Enter old buildings alertly, on the prowl for trouble. Note any evidence of smell, subsidence, cracking, rot, woodworm, damp, loose plaster, stuck doors, pattern staining, damaged fittings.
Always note the superficial nature and conditions of surfaces, but.. Always go beyond surfaces, to structure, and to an awareness of materials. Framing the task: examples Teacher N So weve got just short of a quarter of an hour left and theres a task on the back about talking about greatest achievements. Its on the last page and its number 1. In your pairs Id like you to decide which you think is the greatest
achievement ever made Teacher V Now were going to do an exercise in pairs. If you could just take some paper (handing out sheets of poster paper). [.] Were looking at achievements and so far weve been looking at achievements of people. But countries could also have great achievements. Now you all come from the same country. I want you in 5 minutes to write down the greatest
achievements that China has experienced in its long long history. What great things have happened in China? OK? What makes a good street bollard? Reprise: What makes a good street bollard? Height? Geometry? Surface? Spacing? Articulation with the ground?
Fitness for purpose (Gropius, 1936) What makes a good task? Real world relationship? Engages holistic language use? A non-linguistic outcome? Focuses attention on meaning?
Gives rise to different kinds of language processing? Planning time? Clear instructions? Feedback on success? ..vis a vis fitness for purpose? Tasks Design Pedagogic spaces Differences in the tasks produced:
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