Definition and examples

The pre-task stage deals with linguistic instances and concepts in the context of the real world task

~ Instances are words - or lexis - for a particular topic
~ Concepts are linguistic structures like subject, object, modifier, collocation, phrasal verb etc

Existing knowledge and gaps are identified by the trainer through questioning:

~ What word is used to express y?
~ Do you know what some modifiers of ‘used’ are:

commonly used; widely used; is often used;  frequently used; used only
is sometimes used; also used; used instead of; used primarily; still used
used extensively in;  typically used; mainly used; was first used

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What is training needs analysis

Example of a training needs analysis

You work for Sky Italia in the Sky Europe Group, SkyTV. You schedule pay per view channelsand manage on demand.You need to improve your English so that you can speak in

conference with colleagues from Israel who provide technical support for you card services.

In these conference calls you need to :
~ Handles problems with encryptions errors. Other errors can't be solved so you ask for support from Cisco.
~ Give opinions which is important for talking about issues
~ Present facts to support an argument
~ Ask for opinions as well as give them so that you can discuss problems in live production
~ Follow up emails about technical issues.
~ Check that Cisco is dealing with your problem urgently or not.

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The post-task is the task evaluation stage of the task. The student evaluates his own performance, and the trainer moderates that evaluation.

~ Where did you use the words-concepts discussed in the pre-task? What words could you have used? What alternative structure might you have tried?

~ The student responds with “I can use …” statements to demonstrate how they successfully performed the task.:

~ “I can use the simple past tense to express completed past events and the continuous past tense to express unfinished past events.”

The trainer then discusses next steps with the students as part of a feedforward:

~ “You might use x, in this way, in this order etc (in the next task)”.

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What is task?


There are two task types:

  1. Linguistic task
  2. Real world task
  1. Linguistic task is what you will say in the real world task. We ask questions like:

~ Which word will I use? ~ Which concepts does the situation elicit?
~ How will you express probability, conditionality, request, opinion etc?

  1. Real world task is the you face at work

~ Requesting help
~ Giving an opinion
~ Asking a question

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Definitions and examples

A task cycle is the training workflow as follows:
  1. Pre-task

  2. Task

  3. Post-task

  4. Pre-task processes include the following:

~ The identification of facts or instances, concepts, processes and procedures required for the real world task.
~ Facts and instances correspond to the question, “what instances (words) do you need to know?”
~ Concepts correspond to the question, “how are the properties of instances used?”
~ Processes corresponds to the question, “how do the instances and concepts correspond to the real world task?”
~ Procedures correspond to the question, “what order do you use the instances and processes?”

  1. Task processes include the following:

~ Complete a real word task like taking a call. The processes are as follows:

  1. Answer the call (“Hello, ABC company, Lydia speaking. How can I help”)

  2. Ask the caller to identify himself (“Who’s speaking?”)

  3. Check you understand “Who did you say was calling? Andy from ACME Limited?”

  4. Post-task processes include the following:
    ~ The student assesses their own performance of the task as follows:
    ~ Did I use the instances, processes and procedure I wanted to?
    ~ What gaps did I have?

~ The trainer moderates the students own assessment of the task and provides their own feedback:
~ How well did you use x instance?
~ How well did you recall y process?
~ What could be improved?

~ Together the student and trainer write a feedforward plan for the next task:
~ The following are the new instances you need for the task
~ The following are the new concepts you need for the task …
~ This is how you might improve the process …
~ This is how you might improve the procedure …

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Frequency Asked Questions

What is the search tool?
~ Wordsketch is a search tool that helps you build your vocabulary.

  • What is the pronunciation tool? Pollyspeech is MyEnglishTutor’s pronunciation playback tool
    ~ How can I learn English?
  • Read about our methodology
    ~ How can I get involved?
  • You can answer questions in the comments section of each article. You can ask questions in the comments.
    ~ Are there classes?
  • You can attend virtual classes

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How it works

A task-based approach

What is a task-based approach?

The focus is on real world tasks in the workplace.
The process of learning English is inseparable from the professional tasks and processes you carry out in the workplace. As a result, transference is immediate and there is no gap between what you learn and how you use it at work. This leads to real self-belief and credibility in your ability to use English.

To give you an example:
You need to ask colleagues to bring you up to date with situations.

What is your methodology?
~ Our approach to training is to define training outcomes for the student in a training needs analysis.
~ Outcomes - or work-oriented speaking, listening, reading and writing tasks - are agreed in a 30 minute session and written into the student’s training plan.

Here is an example of a training needs analysis:

| You work for HE Company Ltd, a manufacturer of commercial, industrial and residential building low voltage product solutions. You are a junior training specialist, finding training solutions for employees in the company. This is your second year in the post. You graduated two years ago.|

| You use a computer for your work but you also take calls about requests for training. You organise internal and external training. 99% of your employees are Chinese. You have some English contacts with other Hager employees.|

| Your department of three is part of the larger HR department of 18 and is based near Hong Kong. You communicate in English by email.|

| In conference calls with foreign colleagues you take longer to understand and therefore you fall behind in the conversation. |

| This is the case when you are not familiar with the situation. This means you need to ask colleagues to bring you up to date with the situations. At the moment they do this by sending you the minutes. You would like to participate in discussions more actively by using the same language as your colleagues. You think you lack some of the words and phrases. |

| We will focus on interactive language for meetings: sharing and asking for opinions, outlining facts, agreeing or disagreeing with others, clarifying, verifying or confirming what other mean and requesting further information. |

| You will also like to practice strategies for managing native speakers who talk too quickly or using idiomatic language. |

How do we elicit outcomes for the students?
We ask SMART questions to elicit this information, using question grids.

See an example below:

Trainer: How effective was your last telephone call?
Student: The caller spoke too quickly. I forgot how to
clarify what he was saying and I panicked. I didn’t
handle it very well.

How do we elicit outcomes for beginners?
We work with instances of typical situations that students face at work. In other words, the professional tasks are broken down into their basic processes and concepts.
We work with functions, simple linguistic structures, to build up their ability to work in these situations.

How do we elicit outcomes for advanced students?
We use imagination techniques such as role-play, reverse role-play, playing-devils-advocate, analogy and metaphor to challenge advanced students.

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