The Effectiveness of Task-Based Language Learning Approach in Teaching English as a Second Language to the Students at the Vocational Education Development Centre in Abu Dhabi, UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of the recently introduced task-based learning approach for language learning at the VEDC in Abu Dhabi, a centre for male students who have previously disengaged from formal learning. Questionnaires were delivered to 337 students, and 264 were completed. Twenty three teachers were provided with questionnaires and 19 were returned. In addition, two interviews with the teaching staff were conducted. The outcomes were evaluated against current thinking in the field of task-based learning and motivating disengaged learners. The introduction of the task-based learning approach was perceived as a good thing by a large majority of both students and teachers. Motivations considered to have improved by teachers and the students’ outcomes in this regard confirmed this perception. With regard to test scores, 90% of students showed an improvement in test scores of between one and thirteen marks, with a median improvement of four marks. The findings suggest that the VEDC is pursuing an appropriate teaching method to engage their students and that it is having a positive effect on the academic achievements. It has been recommended that additional evaluations are undertaken when the system has been in place for further few months. Finally, a number of future research pathways have been identified for both the VEDC in particular and for task-based learning in general. Specifically how perceptions of task-based learning are impacted by student’s learning styles and how best to deliver grammar instruction within the approach.
task-based language learning approach, teaching English, Abu Dhabi, language learning, academic achievement