Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Saddik M. Gohar
Dr. Hosni M. El-dali
Task-based language teaching (TBLT) has been researched from various perspectives for more than two decades. While research into the theoretical background of the framework and the design and implementation of tasks is growing worldwide, there is little experimental research in the Gulf area and, in particular, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study investigates the implementation of TBLT in an intermediate English as a foreign language (EFL) classrooms context in the UAE, focusing specifically on how teachers focus on form (FonF) in their teaching practice. The study explores the differences between four teachers when they introduced meaning-oriented tasks based on the textbook and two learning outcomes (LOs) proposed by the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK). The study also investigates teachers’ views and perceptions towards the TBLT framework, FonF, and the prescribed textbook. It also examines the views of students towards their classroom teachers’ implementation of FonF and the challenges and constraints facing the implementation of TBLT and FonF in the UAE. Adopting a mixed-methods experimental study approach, the data set included a total of one unit taught by four teachers on the same theme, with individual lesson plans and teaching materials. Data were collected from classroom observations, field notes, and documentation of students’ work, as well as interviews with teachers and surveys for both teachers and students. Results show that teachers differed in their teaching practice along four dimensions: (a) the successful fulfillment of the LOs; (b) the type of FonF employed; (c) strategies used in FonF; and (d) the possibility of implementing TBLT successfully in their teaching. All teachers and students agreed that form was important for language learning and mastering. Further, teachers agreed on the efficiency of TBLT as a teaching and learning approach, but time-consuming. Additionally, teachers found the textbook a useful resource but not useful enough when they have to prepare extra materials to fulfill the LOs required by ADEK. Students also found the textbook a great resource for learning form and believed that it offered sufficient explanation for the targeted structures. Further, challenges and limitations that face implementing TBLT in the UAE are: (a) lack of motivation (b) the gap between students' current level of proficiency and the required level; (c) class size; (d) sticking with the learning outcomes; (e) time; and (f) the effect of L1. Findings imply that the most important factors that contribute to enhancing language learning are not the task or the pedagogic framework of the textbook per se, but rather the teachers’ successful understanding of the framework and their reactions to students’ needs in the classroom. It is expected that findings of the study will influence the instructional practices of teachers so as to better teach language form in their classrooms and help students achieve grammatical competence, which is an essential part of language proficiency. It may also help curriculum developers and material designers to amend the existing textbooks to best fit students’ needs. Additionally, this study creates more research opportunities in the context of intermediate EFL school classrooms in the UAE. It is hoped the study will emphasize the benefits of implementing TBLT in UAE educational settings in terms of quantity (or amount) and quality (or depth) of learning
Al Magharabi, Shamsa Aziz Yousuf, "Implementation of Focus on Form in a Task-Based Language Teaching Context in the United Arab Emirates EFL Middle School Setting" (2019). Philosophy Dissertations. 4.