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A priori assessment of language learning tasks by practitioners

  • Gerard J. Westhoff (a1)

Teachers' competence to estimate the effectiveness of learning materials is important and often neglected in programmes for teacher education. In this lecture I will try to explore the possibilities of designing scaffolding instruments for a priori assessment of language learning tasks, based on insights from SLA and cognitive psychology, more specifically connectionist theory. I will subsequently outline the development and evaluation of a ‘yardstick’ to judge complex, integrated, life-like tasks, such as WebQuests. The possibilities will be explored of performing in-depth a priori task analyses as a learning task for teachers in order to enhance their competence in making ‘educated guesses’ about task effectiveness. Finally, an experiment will be described to determine the reliability and validity of an instrument for in-depth analysis of language learning tasks based on the theoretical framework previously described.

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