Task-based Versus Explicit Instruction for Achieving Automaticity in Oral Production

This paper describes a proposed study that investigates the effectiveness of task-based instruction versus explicit phonological instruction for the achievement of native-like pronunciation. Based on brain-based and applied linguistics research, the study hypothesizes that task-based instruction should be at least as, if not more effective, than explicit pronunciation instruction. The study would examine two classes of equal level at a university Intensive English Program (IEP). One class would receive a program of explicit phonological instruction with extensive focused practice in addition to their other regular instruction; while the second group would receive exclusively task-based instruction. Authentic task-based assessment involves assessing the students’ particular needs and designing tasks which are appropriate for those needs. Several tasks specifically targeting phonological accuracy would be designed; such as singing popular music, acting classes for film or theater, and podcast production. Participants in the two groups would be compared across a spectrum of assessment. TOEFL or IELTS exams would be administered before and after the experiment to assess relative language proficiency. Oral proficiency and pronunciation automaticity would be measured by Elicited Imitation (EI) pre- and post-tests. Other factors would be considered by a questionnaire administered at the conclusion of the experiment to account for factors such as motivation, personal language use, and study habits.