Hello everyone, I've just posted a longish response to Jorgelina from Argentina about TBA and Young Learners at the end of my biography.

Hello everyone,

I've just posted a longish response to Jorgelina from Argentina about TBA and Young Learners at the end of my biography. Do have a look!



Jane's blog is now closed - see our Guest Writer's page to find out who our current blogger is.



I applied some TBA in my class last week. the stuents really enjoyed the lesson but my class contain around 150 students I could not check on all the activites. So I was wondering does TBA fit with large classes?

Hala from sudan

Dear Hala,

150 students - that is a lot. I'm glad they enjoyed the lesson. Don't feel bad about not being able to check every pair or group - if they are engaged and enjoying the task that is the main thing. To make sure they are using mainly English here are some ways you can check:

1. once you have set the task - ask someone to repeat the instructions to the whole class,  so you are sure they really know what to do

2. Walk round quickly listening in to all groups for 2 or 3 seconds and make sure they are all'on task' and using mainly English. 

3. Have groups or 3 or 4 and appoint one 'Language advisor' in each group who has a dictionary.  If the group doesn't know a word in English or gets stuck this is the person who helps out.

4 After finishing the task, make sure they agree on a REPORT of how they did the task and write notes of their findings in ENglish on one piece of paper per group. They all sign the piece of paper and maybe add one or two language questions for you at the end.  At the end of the task cycle, take in their papers (you will have about 37). While you look through these quickly, groups rehearse  oral reports in case they are asked to present them orally. 

EITHER Pick out 3 or 4 papers (or however many you have time for) and ask them to report to the whole class. (who compare with their findings)

OR you can ask each group  to report to another group  and you go round and listen in (about 20-22 groups - 10 seconds each) or listen to one half this lesson and different groups next lesson. 

 Finally - feed-back - tell them what YOU found interesting about their reports and go through their questions and answer the easy ones. Or you can do this NEXT lesson - then you may have time to write a quick comment on their REport notes and prepare answers to more difficult questions.  Or you could ask them to write a report in their own time / at home and next lesson display that on the classroom walls for others to read.

Any of these techniques will help to keep them motivated to continue in English as far as possible and also to ask you their questions in writing without asking in public 

I had a colleague in Spain in a University in the Canaries who did  tasks with her classes of around 130 - 140.  She checked different groups each lesson, and took in written reports of their group tasks and spot-checked them. She found it was the only chance they had of using English and they gradually gained in confidence over the term. If she had only done teacher-led activities they would have had less than 2 minutes speaking practice a  term!!

 Hope this helps - if anything not clear please ask!

There is more advice from teachers who teach  large classes on pp 223 -224 of Doing Task-based Teaching (our OUP book - Dave Willis and Jane Willis). that might be useful too.