Task-based language teaching in the primary schools of South China

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 2001, task-based language teaching (TBLT) was adopted as the main pedagogy in the top-down national English curriculum innovation in mainland China to replace the prevailing teacher-dominated, knowledge-transmitting and grammar-based methods. Since then, the pedagogical innovation has been disseminated and implemented in both primary and secondary schools throughout the country. South China has been a gateway to mainland China for exchanges with other countries since ancient times. With rapid development of its economy and trade with other countries since the late 1970s, South China has witnessed a fast spread and ever-increasing prominence of English in society and in schools. It has also maintained a leading role in conducting English language teaching in all sectors, with primary schools being a pioneering area. The promulgation of TBLT has further boosted the development of English language teaching in South China. This chapter reports an in-depth case study about how three primary school English teachers in South China interpreted and implemented TBLT in their classroom teaching. It was found that all three teachers had a partial understanding of TBLT , two seldom used tasks in their teaching, while the third teacher taught with a medium-to-strong form of TBLT. Factors that shaped their enactment of TBLT are then discussed. The findings show that the top-down national pedagogical innovation in China is a complicated process shaped by the interaction of all levels of stakeholders and a variety of complicated contextual factors. The chapter concludes with insights on TBLT practice in China and other contexts where English is taught as a foreign language. Copyright © 2015 Michael Thomas, Hayo Reinders and Contributors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary task-based language teaching in Asia
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
ISBN (Electronic)9781472572226
ISBN (Print)9781472572219, 9781472572233
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Zhang, Y. (2015). Task-based language teaching in the primary schools of South China. In M. Thomas, & H. Reinders (Eds.), Contemporary task-based language teaching in Asia (pp. 87-102). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.


Dive into the research topics of 'Task-based language teaching in the primary schools of South China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.