A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Imad Abdulkareem Jasim entitled, "Investigating Teachers' Attitudes Toward Task-Based Language Teaching in a Vocational School in the UAE," submitted in June 2011. Available are both hard and soft copies of the thesis.
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is an approach to teaching a foreign/second language that attempts to engage language learners in interactionally authentic language use through having them perform communicative tasks. TBLT uses tasks as the core unit of planning, teaching, and assessment. There is a plethora of literature on the value of using authentic tasks in facilitating and promoting language learning, as tasks could be more motivating, engaging, and learner-entered than traditional linguistic exercise. Tasks thus would ignite the acquisition processes on the part of learners. This study investigated the attitudes of English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) instructors toward TBLT in their setting. This research used consciousness-raising presentations, a questionnaire, observations of classes utilizing TBLT, and interviews with teachers who instructors who implemented TBLT for one lesson. The participants in this study were 12 EFL instructors at a government vocational school in the UAE. The results indicate that most of the surveyed participants' negative attitudes toward TBLT were due to lack of familiarity with TBLT or reasons not directly related to the potential of TBLT to promote better language learning. Other negative attitudes were due to negative perceptions by supervisors, lack of familiarity with task design, having to adhere to the textbook, and student preference of explicit grammar teaching. However, the participants, especially those who were observed when they implemented TBLT, had generally positive attitudes toward the potential of TBLT as they noticed a number of benefits for students such as the purposefulness of tasks, the provision of comprehensible input, greater opportunities to produce the target language, and higher levels of interest and engagement. The teachers who were observed when they implemented TBLT in their classes stated that they had found their experience with TBLT more interesting than their usual form-focused work. From a teaching point of view, they found the experience rewarding as it gave them opportunity to get hands-on practice with TBLT. They also thought that the experience gave them better understanding of the importance of communicative tasks in language learning and teaching. Finally, they found that tasks required less teaching time as students needed to work on tasks using their linguistic resources and with minimal intervention by the teacher.