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

Main Article Content

Tham My Duong
Minh Le Truong


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.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Articles


Adams, R. and Newton, J. (2009). TBLT in Asia: constraints and opportunities. Asian Journal of English Language Teaching 19: 1-17.

Breen, M. (1987). Learner contributions to task design. In Language learning tasks, edited by C. N. Candlin and D. Murphy, pp. 23-46. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Burns, P. C., Roe, B. D. and Ross, E. P. (1984). Teaching Reading in Today's Elementary Schools. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 4th ed. California: SAGE Publishing.

Dechant, E. (1991). Understanding and Teaching Reading: An Interactive Model. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Estaji, M. and Meihami, H. (2016). Revisiting the topical knowledge of Iranian ESP learners in reading comprehension: text types and question types. The Asian ESP Journal 12(3): 70-93.

Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E. and Hyun, H. H. (2012). How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Golchin, V. F. and Kheirabadi, M. D. (2013). Enhancing reading comprehension of Iranian advanced EFL learners through task-based reading activities. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 2(5): 23-37.

Hayati, M. and Jalilifar, A. (2010). The task-based teaching of micro-skills in an EAP situation. Taiwan International ESP Journal 2(2): 49-66.

Hokmi, M. (2005). Iranian ESP students’ reading comprehension in task-based language teaching approach. Roshd FLT 19: 64-58.

Javanbakht, Z. O. and Yasuj, I. (2011). The impact of tasks on male Iranian elementary EFL learnersʼ incidental vocabulary learning. Language Education in Asia 2(1): 28-42.

Jeon, I. and Hahn, J. (2006). Exploring EFL teachers’ perceptions of task-based language teaching: a case study of Korean secondary school classroom practice. Asian EFL Journal 8(1): 123-143.

Jim, D. D. (2012). Career Paths: Mechanics. Berkshire: Express Publishing.

Kennedy, C. and Bolitho, R. (1944). English for Specific Purposes. London: Macmillan.

Khoshsima, H. and Saed, A. (2016). Task-based instruction and vocabulary learning: a comparative study of jigsaw and information gap tasks on vocabulary learning. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 5(5): 228-236.

Le, T. N. and Nguyen, H. B. (2012). Task-based language learning and student motivation in vocabulary acquisition. Language Education in Asia 3(1): 106-120.

Linse, C. T. and Nunan, D. (2005). Practical English Language Teaching: Young Learners. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-Based Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ökcü, D. (2015). Effects of task-based instruction on reading comprehension of Turkish EFL learners. International Journal of English Language Teaching 3(2): 23-37.

Poorahmadi, M. (2012). Investigating the efficiency of task-based instruction in improving reading comprehension ability. Journal of Language and Translation 3(1): 29-36.

Richards, J. C. (2006). Communicative Language Teaching Today. New York: Cambridge.

Richards, J. C. and Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rubaiat, S. (2018). The Effectiveness of Task Based Language Teaching in Improving ESL Learners’ Reading and Writing Skills. Master’s thesis. BRAC University, Bangladesh.

Sarani, A. and Sahebi, L. F. (2012). The impact of task-based approach on vocabulary learning in ESP courses. English Language Teaching 5(10): 118-128.

Sariannur, S. (2017). The Effect of Using Task Based Learning (TBL) Method on Student’s Achievement in Reading Comprehension at Madrasah Aliyah Negeri 1 Natal. Master’s thesis. State Islamic University of North Sumatera, Indonesia.

Shariq, M. (2020). Feedback and speaking skills in task-based language teaching: proposed corrective measure for EFL learners. The Asian ESP Journal 16(2.2): 232-248.

Smaili, S. (2014). The impact of task-based approach on vocabulary learning in ESP courses: case of 3rd year LMD students of Urban management at Larbi Ben M’Hidi University-Oum El Bouaghi. Master’s thesis. Larbi Ben M’Hidi University, Algeria.

Skehan, P. (1998). Task-based instruction. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 18: 268-286.

Tran, T. Q. and Duong, T. M. (2018). The difficulties in ESP reading comprehension encountered by English-majored students. VNU Journal of Foreign Studies 34(2): 151-161.

Trinh, L. Q. and Ha, T. D. (2017). The effect of task-based learning on EF students’ learning reading: a case study in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Studies in English Language Teaching 5(1): 34-48.

Vosoughi, H. and Mehdipour, Z. (2013). Effects of recognition task and production task on incidental vocabulary learning of Iranian EFL learners. International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences 4(2): 356-363.

Willis, J. (1996). A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Harlow: Longman Addison-Wesley.