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Ideating task-based designs for special education learners

Written by: Hang Chan
Published on: Oct 23, 2023


Task List

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The task-based language teaching (TBLT) approach has long drawn data from general learners and developed theories on the basis of those data. In this article, the author explores how to adapt TBLT materials for learners with special educational needs (LwSENs) who have difficulty learning, thinking, and communicating.

TBLT conceptualizes proficiency-oriented targets differently than SEN, which emphasizes remedial teaching methods. Using visual images and textual definitions, this study probes special educators' ideal learning tasks, a method derived from phenomenology, which studies things in the world by studying people's perceptions of them.

Visuals and texts as eidetic tools enabled the researcher to collect data of perception from nine core participants, which showed their excitement and trepidation regarding using tasks to teach.

Results showed that special educators preferred project-like tasks with game plans and goal-oriented outcomes and were pessimistic about the possibility of developing a fully proficiency-targeted approach for teaching LwSENs.

Their preference for simple materials may contradict the expectation that the TBLT approach will produce high-quality outputs among LwSENs.

As a means of closing these knowledge gaps, this article responds to the special educators’ task design ideas and proposes solutions for developing appropriate materials.

Read the full text on Wiley Online Library