Getting Closer to Authenticity in the Course of Technical English: Task-Based Instruction and TED Talks

  •  Aránzazu García-Pinar    


Authentic materials, if appropriate to the learning situation, might turn the classroom environment into a more engaging place, where motivation might be generated through the performance of meaningful tasks. This article describes how a Text-Based Instruction approach can provide the basis for the design of an ESP syllabus based on relevant, varied and engaging tasks to enhance authentic language use among engineering undergraduates. The design of these tasks mainly draws on TED Talks that are specifically technological and connected to engineering undergraduates, as the talks develop novel and thought-provoking ideas which are interesting and personally meaningful and relate to different engineering fields. These tasks are specially designed to enable students to carry out a process of talk deconstruction through the analysis of distinct discourse and linguistic features specific to the spoken genre of TED Talks. This analysis ultimately aims at the eventual construction of students’ oral presentations. Oral presentations can be conceived as an activity that approximates the real world and future workplace of engineering undergraduates, and in consequence, promotes students’ instrumental motivation.

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