Implementing task-based language teaching (TBLT) to teach grammar in English classes in China: using design-based research to explore challenges and strategies

Yi Ji, Thanh Pham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper aimed to develop culturally appropriate TBLT practices to enable teachers and students in China to employ TBLT to teach grammar in English classes. The study deployed design-based research with a total of 122 students at a Chinese university. The mixed-method study utilised questionnaires with 122 students, interviews with 10 students as two focus groups and autiotaoped group discussions of the focus groups. The findings disclosed several mismatches between teaching and learning traditions in China and the principles of TBLT: (1) The students failed to acquire implicit knowledge while TBLT aimed to enable students to understand what was not explicitly described; (2) The students depended on the teacher’s presentation while TBLT required students to learn independently; (3) The students were reluctant to work in group while TBLT emphasised student-centred learning in group work; and (4) The students required related grammatical input while TBLT required students to obtain holistic acquisition of knowledge. To address these mismatches, main adjustments of TBLT were made: adding grammatical input, encouraging the students to focus on form, to discuss grammar matters and to provide mutual corrective feedback, and emphasising the teacher’s participation into tasks as a facilitator. The study developed new tools that could assist teachers and students to adopt TBLT in a non-Western context.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)164-177
    Number of pages14
    JournalInnovation in Language Learning and Teaching
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • China
    • design-based research
    • English
    • grammar instruction
    • Task-based language teaching

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