Investigating tasks in the EFL textbooks in the Turkish Anatolian high school context

Date
2022-09
Advisor
Akşit, Necmi
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Bilkent University
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Language
English
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Abstract

This study was an attempt to investigate tasks in four English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbooks designed by the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and studied in the Anatolian high schools in Turkey in the 2020-2021 education year. Specifically, the study sought to identify task characteristics the activities possess, determine task types, and explore task complexity dimensions in the selected textbooks. The study also aimed to compare and contrast the grade levels with one another regarding these issues. In line with the research purposes, three checklists were generated, drawing from relevant frameworks for task characteristics (Ellis, 2011; Ellis & Shintani, 2014), task types (Ellis, 2003, 2011) and task complexity dimensions (Robinson, 2001a, 2001b, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015; Skehan & Foster, 2001). Then, the activities in the textbooks were analysed through content analysis. The results demonstrated that only a small part of the activities in the textbooks qualify for a task, most of them failing to satisfy the “gap” and “outcome” criteria of taskness as defined by Ellis (2009, p. 223) and Ellis and Shintani (2014, p. 135). The findings related to the task types revealed that the sequencing of the task types across the grade levels, and therefore, proficiency levels, is not in line with the recommendations by Ellis (2020). Similarly, no systematic progression from simple to complex tasks as prescribed in the SSARC model by Robinson (2015) was detected within the textbooks. Implications of the study can be considered for practice and further research on task-based language teaching.

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Keywords
Task, Task characteristics, Task types, Task complexity, Task-based language teaching
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Published Version (Please cite this version)