Often, units of work can be seen as not engaging by the students. To solve this issue, here are four “tricks”:
- The superlative form
- The expression “the same as …”
- The word “ideal”
- A tangible product
For instance, instead of getting the students to find out about their daily routine and interviewing each other, the end goal could be to find out who has the busiest (the superlative form) daily routine in the class.
Instead of getting the students to go around the classroom and find out what they did over the week-end, the end goal could be to find out who did the same three activities as them (the same as …) over the week-end.
Instead of getting the students to describe what a good party can be like, the end goal could be to describe what their ideal party (the word “ideal”) would be like and all students must agree with the requirements. If one student disagrees and can justify why, then the requirement is not part of the final list for their ideal party.
As far as a tangible product goes, you can let the students make their best French recipe according to them, invite a French person to taste their dish and vote for the tastiest one.
As you can see in the above example, it is possible to have a tangible product and use the superlative form (the tastiest) as well.
That step of creating a meaningful, authentic and relevant end product is of unshakable importance in Task-Based Learning when you want the students to buy into the unit of work you are proposing. And it needs to be made crystal clear to them at the very beginning of the unit. All activities that will be put in place will lead to that very specific end product. Say it to them. Get them to write it down. Get them to ask questions about it.
- Use one of the four tricks to create a meaningful end product in your Task-Based unit of work