Critical tasks in action: the role of the teacher in the implementation of tasks designed from a critical perspective


Ilha Desterro




Abstract Based on the premise that teaching is a political act and that it is thus necessary to engage additional language students in the process of both linguistic and critical development (Crookes, 2013), this study aims at investigating the role of the teacher during the implementation of a cycle of tasks designed from the perspectives of the Task-based Approach (Ellis, 2003) and of Critical Pedagogy (Freire, 1996). According to Breen (2009), a task can be understood as a workplan which is modified and reinterpreted during its implementation. Samuda (2009) argues that one of the central roles of the teacher in task-based language teaching is to guide students in language processing so as to cater for linguistic development. In this sense, it is important to investigate the task as a process, that is, the strategies adopted by the teacher while implementing the task as a workplan. In order to do so, this study focuses on the reflexive diaries of the teacher-researcher, in which he describes and reflects upon the implementation of a critical cycle of tasks designed for a group of high school students in a Brazilian context. From the thematic analysis of the diaries, the theme ‘strategies’ could be identified, which demonstrates decisions that were taken by the teacher-researcher during implementation so as to: a) guarantee that the critical objective of the task would be met; b) guide the students’ attention to a specific topic (such as focus on form or the critical topic at hand); c) overcome technical and material difficulties; and d) facilitate students’ learning process. The complexity involved in the implementation process of tasks designed from a critical perspective suggests the need for teachers to develop their critical reflexive skills in order to be able to make decisions that will be adequate for each specific educational context.

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