Task-based language teaching: a possible remedy for Vietnamese EFL students’ ESP reading comprehension at a vocational college

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Tham My Duong
Minh Le Truong

Abstract

In order to facilitate an ESP reading comprehension teaching and learning process in vocational schools, a variety of approaches have recently been used. Task-based language teaching (TBLT) is supposed to enhance ESP reading comprehension. This study endeavours to explore impacts of TBLT on English for specific purposes (ESP), reading comprehension in terms of overall results of reading comprehension tests, understanding lexical meaning and using strategies for identifying main and detailed ideas. This is a quasi-experimental study with the participation of 25 students majoring in Automobile Technology at a vocational college in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Vietnam. ESP reading comprehension tests (i.e., pre-test and post-test) and classroom observation were employed as the main instruments. The quantitative data were analysed using paired samples T-test, Mean (M) and Standard Deviation (SD). Content analysis was used for the qualitative data analysis. The preliminary findings showed that TBLT had a positive effect on the students’ ESP reading comprehension achievements. Specifically, the research participants’ reading comprehension post-test scores gained at the end of the task-based reading course outperformed those achieved in the pre-test, and their reading skills (e.g., meaning guessing, scanning, and skimming) gradually improved throughout the four observation sessions. Such findings may raise EFL teachers’ and administrators’ awareness in applying TBLT in ESP reading courses at this research setting and other similar contexts.

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