During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is inevitable and technically possible to explore blended learning to make use of online components, combining it with traditional classroom teaching. Blended learning pedagogy integrates constructive frameworks into a complex adaptive pedagogical approach that represents a fundamental re-conceptualization and reorganization of the teaching and learning dynamic. It adds an important reflective element with multiple forms of communication to meet specific learning requirements. However, it is rather ambiguous as to how much, or how little, online learning is inherent to blended learning, let alone practice-oriented models in Higher Education, where lecture-based teaching methodology is dominant, resulting in lack of context and interest for students, thus posing challenges in its reception. This essay aims to address the challenges of how to better enable students’ learning and prepare them to deliver public speaking via task-based teaching, offering suggestions for activities and the management of learning. Following a task-based teaching method, students can be highly motivated. Particularly, the use of task-based techniques could facilitate a strong social context for learning, and provide students a chance to apply theories into practice. This essay firstly introduces a self-coined task-based theoretical framework for teaching Public Speaking, followed by a further elaboration on a teaching demonstration. Here we propose a ‘4A’ teaching method comprised of four phases, including Awareness, Activation, Application, and Amendment, where Amendment then triggers a new round of Awareness. By doing so, the essay offers a window into fostering students’ autonomy in teaching. The objective of this article, in response to the current pandemic, is to provide practical application of task-based teaching linking all its four phases with the learners’ experiences and learning from recently conducted in-depth multiple case studies in China. Rather than discussing a case study in general, a targeted step-by-step plan with real-time examples to conduct a case study is given.
Huiwen Wang is a skilled English teacher and researcher with a proven ability to improve students’ learning through tailored study skills. She has been teaching English in different countries, including China, the UK, Czech Republic, and so on. She teaches courses such as IELTS, Academic writing, the Art of Public Speaking, Daily English and so on. She undertook her bachelor’s degree at Xi’an International studies University, and then she pursued her further study at the University of Edinburgh, majoring in TESOL. Now, she is a PhD student at the Canterbury Christ Church University. Meanwhile, she is a lecturer as well as the Deputy Leader of English Department in the International School at the Communication University of China, Nanjing. She specializes in Blended Learning, and published 5 articles regarding Blended Learning. She also won several awards in teaching, including the second place as a team leader in the national level twice in the Teaching Star Competition held by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research institute, the third place in the Foreign Language Teaching Competition, the third place in the Wee Course Teaching Competition. I was invited to speak at the 8th National Public Speaking Conference to share her creation in using Blended Learning to teach the Art of Public Speaking.
Wu Yang: Wu Yang is a creative, flexible and qualified English teacher with six-year teaching experience towards adults, college students and graduate students. She has been teaching a variety of English courses including IELTS, EAP, comprehensive English, grammar and vocabulary in China, as well as teaching the pre-sessional courses of Teesside University for the past two years. She undertook her bachelor’s degree at Southeast University in Nanjing, China. Then she was recommended for postgraduate admission candidacy and continued her study in SEU until she graduated with National Scholarship and ranked first in her major. Her MA degree is in Translation theory and practice. She was the leader of English Department in the International School at Communication University of China, Nanjing in 2021, and now she is a lecturer specializing in CALL (computer assisted language learning) and translation, as well as English output including speaking and writing. She also won several awards in teaching, including the second place in the national-level ‘Teaching Star Competition’ held by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research institute, and the third place in the Wee Course Teaching Competition.