Sei sulla pagina 1di 2

Feuerstein’s cognitive processing model to the carrying out of language

learning tasks. Another is the concept of challenge in producing a sense

of flow as developed by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura.
The combination of the social interactional perspective with the
constructivist approach provides a powerful, unifying theoretical ratio-
nale for linking a number of new ideas while at the same time
restructuring and redefining well-established ones. For instance, in
chapter 5 the authors reject conventional psychological approaches to
individual differences and their preoccupation with quantitative mea-
surement. They consider attribution theory as offering a more promising
area of research and suggest that, to help learners become truly
autonomous, it would be more fruitful to consider individuals’ views of
themselves as learners and as the locus of control with respect to their
learning. Throughout, the orientation taken is one that favours personal
control as opposed to push-pull theories, which emphasize elements
essentially outside one’s personal control. Similarly, a useful model of
motivation is presented in chapter 6, premised upon the concept of
choice within which the diverse perspectives on motivation proposed so
far can be freshly considered, whereas the assumptions underlying much
of the current work on learner training are questioned in chapter 7. The
result is a much-needed synthesis of current ideas in psychology and
education to support the thoughtful practitioner and an overall enrich-
ment of the discipline.
Chapter 9 deals with the broader issue of the context in which the
learning takes place, both at the macrolevel of the educational system
and the narrower level of the school or classroom ethos. Finally, chapter
10 presents 10 basic principles that the authors consider crucial for
language teachers.
The book is highly readable. Each chapter has a clearly stated
introduction and conclusion. Relevant examples illustrating the applica-
tion of ideas and many useful cross-references throughout the book
render it eminently accessible.

National University of Singapore

A Framework for Task-Based Learning.

Jane Willis. Essex, England: Longman, 1996. Pp. vi + 183.

■ How to conduct a task-based classroom is an issue of theoretical and

practical interest in the field of second language acquisition. In A
Framework for Task-Based Learning, Willis draws thoughtful insights from
current research regarding communicative language teaching and

develops a practical guide for second/foreign language teachers on how
to conduct task-based learning (TBL).
The book is divided into three parts. Part A illustrates the theoretical
principles underpinning her framework for TBL. Part B details the three
phases of the framework. The first phase allows learners to become
familiar with the task topic and prepare lexically for the task while
offering learners a rich exposure to the target language through
teachers’ talk. The second phase, task cycle, comprises three compo-
nents: task, planning, and report. In the task stage, learners perform the
task in pairs or small groups, and fluency and meaning negotiation are
the primary goal. The planning stage gives learners some space to
consider linguistic forms before reporting to the public. In the report
stage, learners report to the class about the task they have performed,
using the language they have prepared in the planning stage. This stage
encourages learners to attend to both accuracy and fluency. In the last
phase, language focus, learners have an opportunity to focus on lan-
guage form through activities such as consciousness-raising in order to
develop their linguistic repertoire. Part C illustrates some ways to adapt
this framework to some special teaching situations, such as teaching
beginners and young learners. Willis emphasizes the importance of
language exposure to help learners build up a stock of chunks they can
use in real-time communication. In this part, the author also talks about
how teachers in a traditional form-focused classroom incorporate TBL
into their teaching, including ways to gear form-focused teaching
materials toward TBL. In the appendixes, Willis provides some useful
teaching materials, such as lesson outlines and appraisal sheets.
The book has several strengths. First, it is a useful bridge between
research and practice. Willis bases her framework on current research in
language learning: the importance of exposure to and authentic use of
the target language and the significance of a balance between meaning
and form. Secondly, Willis takes a comprehensive look at the issue of
TBL in light of different teaching situations, from how to motivate young
learners to how to adapt TBL to the traditional form-focused classroom.
Strategies and techniques are offered to handle problems commonly
found in the classroom. Finally, this book offers a clear format for
readers to follow. Each chapter begins with a focus page that provides an
outline of the chapter and ends with a summary offering suggestions for
classroom activities.

Temple University