Lesson 2: Challenges and Benefits of Communicative Tasks

Challenges of Communicative Tasks

The challenges and benefits of communicative tasks.

Duration: 01:20


In this lesson we're going to discuss the challenges and the benefits of communicative tasks in a classroom. And, I think that these kinds of activities are particularly challenging for beginning teachers because they require a certain amount of classroom management -- you are giving control over to learners and you're putting them in groups. And that, number one, can take a lot of time sometimes, and number two they can often get off task. And so I wanted to start this module off by getting right into the problems that beginning teachers often have while negotiating these kinds of activities. And in this lesson I actually ask the students what they find most challenging, and see if we can find solutions -- ways around these challenges.

Then, I didn't want to be so pessimistic and talk only about the challenges and what's negative here, but emphasize the benefits, because I do think that communicative tasks are very important for communicative language teaching. Obviously, you're practicing fluency, you're practicing true communication. But the literature points to all kinds of benefits that beginning teachers aren't aware of. So we spend a little time in this lesson talking about those benefits.

As a teacher, what do you find most challenging about oral communicative tasks aka "group work?" Here's what some language teachers say:

Anke said...
I think it is sometimes difficult to have students talk in the actual target language. They tend to fall back to their L1 when they don't know a word or how to phrase it.
T.J. said...
I find that keeping students engaged is the hardest thing to do with group work and communicative activities.
Elena said...
Students sometimes start talking about their last or coming weekend (in English) instead of working on the group work/activities.
Han said...
The students who are good at talking are always talking and those who are not good at talking are always silent.


A discussion of the top four challenges reported by the language teachers.

Duration: 01:56